Washington Post columnist Colby King scoffed Friday at the notion former President Ronald Reagan brought more substance to the White House than does President Barack Obama as King also raised the Iran-Contra scandal as evidence of Reagan's mismanagement of foreign policy.
On Inside Washington, a weekly show produced and aired over the weekend by Washington, DC's ABC affiliate, but first broadcast Friday night on the local PBS station, King contended: “This President connects with people.” That prompted fill-in moderator Mark Shields to ask columnist Charles Krauthammer: “Is it Reagan-like in that sense?” Krauthammer cautioned: “Well, except that Reagan, I think, had a lot more substance and he had a lot more ideas-” Cutting Krauthammer off, a chortling King jeered: “More substance than Obama?!”
Krauthammer held firm and then pointed out how Obama's “never managed a candy store, and the way he put together his cabinet shows that he's got a long way to go,” so while “he's very fluid in his speech,” on foreign affairs he's “extremely slow on delivery because he's extremely unsure.” To which King -- the Post's deputy editorial page editor from 2000 to 2007 -- derisively interjected: “He's managed as well as Reagan with Iran-Contra.”
At that point, Shields jumped in to switch the topic to “A-Rod.”
From Inside Washington, as aired Friday night, February 13, on WETA-TV, channel 26:
COLBY KING: Obama, you talk about his style, I think this is where he has his real strength, his ability to communicate with people beyond that press office and beyond Washington. And he is going to do what he did this week, which is to go back into the people whenever he has a problem to tell them what he's up to and they're going to be with him. We are missing it here in Washington, the same way we missed what was going on in the campaign. This President connects with people. And you look at the polls and the polls show that. The support for him, his approval rating is up where the approval rating for the Republicans is down, and for the Democrats.
MODERATOR MARK SHIELDS: Charles, is it Reagan-like in that sense?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Well, except that Reagan, I think, had a lot more substance and he had a lot more ideas-
KING: More substance than Obama?!
KRAUTHAMMER, OVER KING'S CHORTLING: Yes, he had political ideas, he had an ideology which he understood he thought about, written about for thirty years, that he wanted enacted. Obama is coming in, and if you ask people what does he want to do, it's not exactly clear. But I would agree with Colby's facts about how he's performed on the stump. The problem is he knows how to campaign, and we know that, and he went out and he campaigned on behalf of the stimulus and the numbers on the stimulus rose. So he can persuade people, but can he manage? He's never managed a candy store, and the way he put together his cabinet shows that he's got a long way to go. And I would agree he's very fluid in his speech. However, if you watched him on the issues of foreign affairs, he was extremely slow on delivery because he's extremely unsure.
KING: He's managed as well as Reagan with Iran-Contra.