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Laura Ingraham and Juan Williams Tangle Over President Obama's Achievements

Reported by Julie - December 28, 2009 -

On Fox News Sunday's (12/27/09) Panel Plus, hosted by Chris Wallace, neocon Bill Kristol, Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press, Laura “The Hater” Ingraham and Juan Williams gathered to dish a bit about President Obama. Just as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, there's another thing we can all count on: Ingraham's Pavlovian reflex when President Obama is mentioned. I keep waiting for her head to start spinning around. But today, at least, her tinfoil hat was at least knocked askew by Juan Williams. With video, and – bonus! – screen grabs.

Wallace led off with the comment that it's “conventional wisdom” that Obama's approval ratings are declining, and the Democrats are facing an uphill climb in 2010.

Loven agreed that “jobs is a big thing, you're gonna see a lot of talk in the White House about jobs, and that they will work very hard to try to address it.”

A couple of minutes of a reasonable discussion, and here comes Laura . . . raining on the parade.

But let's take a look at the many (sour) faces of Ingraham. The fake smile never melts and the cocky facade of confidence never fades while guest-hosting on O'Reilly – hey, she's the mistress of the mic cut switch. But it was apparent that she felt a little out of her league . . . and her facial expressions bore it out.

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Destined to always be the one looking at the glass empty, Ingraham decried, “I think that it's a little too late . . . the country's core is melting away with this jobs problem . . . people are desperate for . . . hope, which President Obama said he would deliver . . . this year is a reality check, and they can do all the branding they want, and they can have all the interviews with Oprah . . . and [with an eye-roll, caught mid-stream in the screen grab above] the girls are beautiful and Michelle is beautiful . . . in the end, it's all about how the country's doing, and right now the country's hurting.”

Juan – and I'm never sure which side he'll land on in any debate – picked the side Ingraham wasn't on, saying challengingly, “Well you know it's interesting . . . listening to Laura, you know, talk radio has just been going after the president on the size of the deficit, that this president just spends too much money . . . taxes, inflation, costs for future generations . . . the pressure is coming from the Congress on this job issue . . . the WH attitude is we have to . . . try to lower the deficit at the same time . . . Congress says let's go with a second stimulus package . . . what do we hear from the Republicans? Oh, you guys are just tax and spend liberals . . . I'm surprised to hear from Laura that all of a sudden she thinks the President should spend more money . . . .”

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Ingraham looked both taken aback and hostile, and with little confidence responded, “I never said that . . . we're getting in the way of business, that's the problem.”

Juan continued to bait her: “Oh, so you just want more tax cuts . . . .”

“Absolutely,” Ingraham responded, on firmer ground, “Reduce the burden . . . make this place the place to do business, not China.” Table pound for emphasis.

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Juan contended that President Obama has done too much for big business, specifically banks and “big pharma,” but firmly stated that “taxes aren't it”, and said that President Obama has saved jobs by putting more money into Medicare and Medicaid and state government.

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Once Ingraham decided Williams was her friend again, she adopted a smug look, and said, “States are collapsing under the weight of all this.”

Wallace disagreed somewhat with Laura, saying if you begin to show people progress and it starts to turn up . . . then interrupted himself to ask Kristol – who went through a recession with Bush Sr. – what you need to show people that things are turning around, and how much it has to turn around.

Kristol, who always gets it crackin' when he has a chance to upend President Obama, said, “I suspect most of the damage has been done on the economic and domestic policy, I think he's lost quite a lot of support . . . I don't think that'll change a lot, and I think it'll get a lot worse, honestly . . . .” Kristol went on, fairly mildly for him, to talk about 2009 policy being “a wash,” with not many traumatic events: “There were no successful terror plots, thank God, yeah, we got lucky on Christmas Day.”

Kristol concluded that “2010 could be a year of foreign policy” where the President needs to “be successful in some of these efforts” or at least show progress. If people think we're losing control of the war on terror, Kristol noted sagely, it could be damaging. To paraphrase Jon Stewart, “Hello, Mr. Obvious.”

If you think about the panel, even with Kristol on it, the debate was fairly benign. Nobody got really heated, and everybody kind of did the exchange of thoughts thing – except Ingraham. She adopts this persona of simultaneously condescending, sneering, snide and pouting. I'm not sure if she's really a stupid person, but her congenital inability to give credit where it's due makes her appear stupid. I think of that quote, by Anton LaVey, every time she opens her mouth: ““It's too bad that stupidity isn't painful.”