During ABC’s preview of the State of the Union, former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos, Jon Karl and Matt Dowd pre-hyped a “triumphant” Obama and his “I told you so attitude” towards Republicans. Stephanopoulos underlined, “[Obama] takes the podium tonight with a bit of wind at his back, thanks to a rising economy, lower gas prices. His approval rating now 50%, the highest in 18 months.”
Karl cheered, “This is really going to be a triumphant speech.” He added, “So, you're going to see a little bit of an 'I told you so' theme here -- you know, Republicans have predicted dire consequences, as a result of his policies, especially on ObamaCare. But he's going to say, look, the President -- the verdict is in. My policies worked.”
The best Dowd could do was to suggest: “he needs to have some humility in this speech, even though things are going well. The majority of the country still thinks we're off on the wrong track and he has to acknowledge that.”
In other words, humility because Americans haven't seen how wonderful things are?
A partial transcript is below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Good evening, and welcome to an important night here in Washington. You are looking live at the Capitol. That's the House chamber where America's leaders are gathered tonight for President Obama's second-to-last State of the Union. Six years ago today, he took the oath for the first time -- the country suffering its deepest economic crisis since the Depression; Democrats in control of Congress. And tonight, for the first time, he'll face a Congress where Republicans are in charge, both the House and the Senate -- their emboldened opposition after that big midterm win. The GOP's eyes now set on the White House.
But the President emboldened, too, determined to make the most of his final two years, as he said, with or without Congress. And he takes the podium tonight with a bit of wind at his back, thanks to a rising economy, lower gas prices. His approval rating now 50%, the highest in 18 months.
Our political team on hand to analyze what we'll see and hear tonight, and ABC's senior White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, inside the House chamber, and Jon, when it comes to the economy tonight, no hedging from the President. He's going to declare victory over this Great Recession.
JON KARL: That's for sure, George. This is really going to be a triumphant speech, which is amazing because he's coming in after his party was trounced in the midterm elections. He's going to be looking out at a chamber with many more Republican faces than Democratic faces. But when he looks at the economy, he sees an economy that is at its strongest of his presidency. So, you're going to see a little bit of an 'I told you so' theme here -- you know, Republicans have predicted dire consequences, as a result of his policies, especially on ObamaCare. But he's going to say, look, the President -- the verdict is in. My policies worked.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And ABC political analyst, Matthew Dowd -- as we keep our eye on the chamber, everyone gathered there, waiting for the sergeant-at-arms to announce the President -- that is really the President's big job tonight: To own the recovery, convince people that he should get some credit for it.
MATTHEW DOWD: Yeah, I think it is. His main imperative is to sell the rise, to sell the movement that has happened in the last two months. He's seen the American public go from 'somewhat unhappy' to 'somewhat happy.' He needs them to go from 'I think the economy is doing well,' to them knowing the economy is doing well. That's really what he has to get out of this speech, that he convinces the American public is economy is really on the move.
COKIE ROBERTS: I think that really that last election is what this speech is about and the next election. Because that last election, a lot of people think the Democrats didn't run on the themes they should have. And those themes were: expanding opportunities for the middle class; saying, yes, the economy is getting better, but not for you, and we have to do things to make it better for you. This speech is all about making it better for the middle class, and setting the groundwork for 2016, because he has lost 70, almost 70 Democrats in the Congress and scores around the country.
DOWD: George, I was going to say, he has some things to celebrate over, but I think the tone -- he needs to have some humility in this speech, even though things are going well. The majority of the country still thinks we're off on the wrong track and he has to acknowledge that.