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Obama: Not Rough Enough?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

NBC Universal is getting ridiculous with its shameless courting of President Obama. On the morning of Sept. 27, NBC's Matt Lauer interviewed Obama for a half-hour with no commercials. But it wasn't just on NBC. Their devotion to El Jefe is so transparent they aired it live on most of their other cable properties, including MSNBC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, Oxygen, Chiller, Sleuth, Universal HD and Universal Sports.

The announced topic was education, but Lauer also turned to politics, and that's where the NBC host just regurgitated the current liberal complaint: Obama is apparently too calm and not tough enough toward Republicans. Lauer noted Obama's recent declaration that "The Republicans, they're treating me like a dog." He didn't ask for proof for that bizarre and whiny claim. He underlined it like it was the gospel truth.

Then he begged for ratcheting up the "rigor" in Obama's attacks on opponents: "Former President Clinton said he doesn't think the Democrats, and you included, have been rigorous enough in pushing back against some of the Republican attacks. Over these next five weeks, Mr. President, do you intend to change your tone or your emotion in terms of your pushing back?"

(Try to imagine NBC welcoming Jim DeMint or Newt Gingrich to the studio and Lauer saying suggestively "Some think your tone has been too timid in attacking Democrats. Do you intend to ratchet up your attacks as the election nears?")

The biggest myth in the Obama arsenal is that Obama is some kind of blissfully bipartisan mediator not prone to mean-spirited messaging. It should be obvious to anyone with ears that he was a hardball-throwing liberal throughout the presidential campaign, and he's grown even more partisan since he won and the Democrats took over everything.

The president has to be shocked when he hears this too-wimpy complaint. He gently replied that anyone who's "heard me speak around the country over the last several months" would know he's declared "a very sharp difference with the Republicans" -- even as he admits he's hammering them at every turn. In his Saturday radio address two days previous, Obama accused the GOP of wanting to cut taxes for the super-rich and "cut the middle class loose to fend for itself." He called the new Pledge for America document "an echo of a disastrous decade we can't afford to relive."

Obama's real problem is his atrocious record. Much of that "disastrous decade" featured an unemployment rate between 4 and 6 percent, which right now sounds like a dream. The president unspools crazy anti-GOP lines like this one to Lauer: "They proposed $4 trillion worth of tax cuts and $16 billion in spending cuts." Lauer didn't follow up with any notion that (a) the trillions in "tax cuts" aren't actually "cuts," but keeping the current tax rates the same. Then there's (b), the Republicans propose to peel spending back to Fiscal Year 2008 levels, which is -- if they ever accomplished it -- many multiples of "$16 billion in spending cuts."

Network anchors buy (and sell) every silly thing the Democrats have to say on fiscal issues, including the mind-boggling whopper that adding millions of people to federally funded health insurance under ObamaCare is going to reduce the deficit.

But that wasn't the only question where Lauer worried out loud to Obama that his mythical status is falling apart. Lauer referred to the other recent NBC hour of free airtime to Obama, on CNBC, where the discouraged Obama supporter said she was tired of defending him. An incredulous Lauer suggested she was feeling "in some way, you have lost touch with the struggles of the average person on the street. I say it with some sense of irony, because you began your career in public service as a community organizer. That is all about getting in touch with people on the street. So how can this criticism now be coming up of a guy who started out as a community organizer?"

Obama correctly suggested that this discouraged woman, Velma Hart, is still an enthusiastic supporter, but like many liberals, she's in disbelief that Obama's socialism didn't work. She told Michelle Singletary of The Washington Post: "I guess I started to believe, on some small level, that he had a magic wand. Maybe in that respect my question was somewhat unfair." She also told the Post she would have hugged him if he told her that recovery was coming, but "Right now, you're expecting too much from me."

The liberals at NBC Universal want to hug Obama, too, with all the free airtime he wants. But first, they want him to put his every ounce of civility aside and pick up the mud bucket. Liberals can't maintain control of Washington without casting the conservatives as the incoming embodiment of all evil.

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