“This is such a weak field,” Fox News analyst Juan Williams, recently ousted from NPR for not fully toting the far-left line, declared during a Fox News Sunday discussion of potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates, prompting an appalled Bill Kristol to mock: “Yeah, President Obama had done so much when he ran for President. I mean, all of these guys are better qualified than Barack Obama.”
Williams got in the last words of the December 26 segment, using them to deride Sarah Palin compared to Barack Obama:
There is nobody out there except for Sarah Palin who could absolutely dominate the stage and she can't stand on the intellectual stage with Obama.
That caused oohs from the panel and led host Chris Wallace to suggest “there’ll be a lump of coal” in Williams’ stocking. (Audio: MP3 clip)
The panel, Nina Easton and Dana Perino in addition to Kristol and Williams, had been talking about Haley Barbour, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, John Thune, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee and Mike Pence.
Kristol, who earlier had jokingly touted a slogan for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (“A big man for a big job”), was in the midst of trumpeting Republican Congressman Paul Ryan when Williams decided they’re all weak:
BILL KRISTOL: He will develop the House Republican budget, which will be the contrast to President Obama's budget. It will articulate in a sense how Republicans go about governing the country. So I think someone like Ryan or Christie getting in late could be interesting.
JUAN WILLIAMS: You know what it’s sounding like to me, this is such a weak field.
WILLIAMS: And you know what, I think President Obama is vulnerable on so many-
DANA PERINO: As compared to what?
KRISTOL: Yeah, President Obama had done so much when he ran for President. I mean, all of these guys are better qualified than Barack Obama.
WILLIAMS: Not at all. And you know what, it’s telling to me again, you talk about Mike Pence from Indiana, you talk about a charisma gap, you know a charisma challenge. Mike Pence? There is nobody out there except for Sarah Palin who could absolutely dominate the stage and she can't stand on the intellectual stage with Obama.
CHRIS WALLACE: Okay, well there you go. Thank you panel. I can see there’ll be a lump of coal. See you all next year.
— Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.