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Juan Williams: ‘I had a sense that I’ve never had before from the president of being defeated’

Juan Williams — the liberal Fox News commentator who has so often gone to bat for President Obama’s most unpopular policies — must have read the New Yorker’s new presidential interview with more than a little trepidation, claiming that as he turned the pages he “had a sense I’ve never had before from the president of being defeated.”

Williams spoke on a Fox News “Special Report” panel Monday about the interview, with the panelists touching on some of the most interesting quotes from the lengthy sit-down with the president. Having just finished discussing Obama’s new comments on marijuana legalization, Williams hastened to mention something else clearly troubling him.

“I just wanted to pick up on something else that came through to me in that interview,” he said, “and came to me as a surprise . . . I had a sense that I never had before from the president of being defeated. That he felt like, ‘You know what? I can’t really make a big difference in this office.’ He spoke about the stream and being part of a stream in history, and you can’t turn things around.”

“He does say at one point, he says to his staff, we run the biggest organization, the most powerful organization in the world,” Williams continues. “But on the other hand, he speaks as if he’s a man caught in the maws of a larger machine, and he’s not able to make a difference. And I thought, ‘Boy, that’s not the Obama that I heard of in 2008.’”

2013 is widely viewed as the worst year of the Obama presidency so far — in fact, the last presidential press conference of the year kicked off with a question expressing precisely that sentiment. With a health care law barely clinging to life, a Middle East on the verge of unraveling and poll numbers dipping into the high 30s, Obama’s feeling of powerlessness may be justified.

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