Politics

Cokie Roberts: The president is a lame duck [VIDEO]

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Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

On Sunday’s broadcast of ABC’s “This Week,” moderator George Stephanopoulos asked his roundtable if President Obama was now a “lame duck” just a fe short months into his second term.

Former Clinton adviser James Carville was the lone dissenter on the three-person panel, insisting that Obama’s “influence in a lot of places outside of legislation” prove he’s not yet a lame duck.

“When the Democrats won in 1986, they said that was the end of the Reagan administration,” Carville said. “In 1994, the Republicans took the House. And Clinton was re-elected, they said he’s not going to get anything done for the rest of his term. When President [George W.] Bush lost the House and the Senate in 2006, it was the same thing. Look, there’s not a lot of legislation that’s going to happen probably between now and 2016, 2014. The president has enormous influence in a lot of places outside of legislation. And the idea that anybody has as much constitutional power as the president of United States, that somehow is irrelevant —“

Mary Matalin, an adviser to the last three Republican presidents, said Obama was done and had lost some of his swagger.

“So what?” she said. “That’s irrelevant. He’s soufflé, in six weeks, he’s soufflé. He single-handedly wiped out the congressional majority in the last midterm. He set in place Republican dominance at the state level for decades because we picked up so many — 7,000 legislators and 30 governors, in control of the legislatures in the states, which is the bench — back bench for rising stars. In this cycle, he’s going to wipe out his Senate — if not the majority, certainly, the critical mass of the majority.”

But the most surprising pronouncement of Obama’s lame duck status came from left-of-center “This Week” and NPR regular Cokie Roberts, who said the 22nd Amendment, which established term-limits for presidents, ensures that the president’s stature is always diminished in the second term.

“Republicans should have never lost seats in the Senate in the last election. And they did. And now, they’re having a hard time finding Republicans to even run for the Senate in a lot of these Democratic seats. It’s not a place people want to be these days. But also, look. James is right. The power of the presidency, regardless of whom occupies the White House, is enormous. And this question is always asked. And the truth is, the president is a lame duck. The 22nd Amendment is a terrible idea. You know? Term limits always create lame duck-hood. And everybody in Congress knows they’ll never run with this guy again.”

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