On Monday’s broadcast of Fox News Channel’s “Special Report,” senior Fox political analyst Brit Hume said that President Barack Obama’s tone in his press conference earlier in the day was unusually partisan, especially for a time when there is no election campaign underway. The speech “was strikingly aggressive and partisan,” he said.
“If you heard it and you didn’t know when it was, you might think that the election campaign was still in full swing,” Hume said. “I mean it was unusually partisan. Most presidents, you know, they may make sort of quiet references to the other party. This president is more directly partisan under normal circumstance than any other president than I can remember. And I think he senses that the Republican Party is in bad order with the public and that if he can deepen that problem for them, it softens them up to do things his way. But it is striking. He was strikingly aggressive and partisan.”
Hume also said the upcoming debt ceiling fight will be better for the GOP than the recent fiscal cliff fight, though Obama’s willingness to attack was more evidence of “a real partisan brawl” to come.
“This is a place where the Republicans have more leverage than they did in the recent fight over the so-called fiscal cliff,” Hume said. “What was at the center of that was the fact that the law already was going to raise taxes on everybody. And that was the fact of life Republicans really never could get around, which is why they basically, you know, had to go along for what — by the time they voted on it — was a tax cut for most people. This situation is different: The debt ceiling doesn’t get raised by itself; and it has to be done, and everybody knows it eventually has to be done. So they understand it’s not a popular step, as the president’s own vote against it shows. They’re trying to extract some spending cuts as a price for that. And the president is accusing them of wanting to, you know, leave the lame, the blind and the children and the elderly people out in the cold. This is a real partisan brawl.”
Hume also warned Democrats that the other issue on the president’s agenda, gun control, could hurt them politically.
“Gun control has proven in recent times to be a remarkably dangerous issue for Democrats,” he said. “And it has repeatedly gotten them into political trouble because the passion and devotion of people who care about gun rights is such that they will come out and vote against you if you’re wrong on that issue even if you’re right as far as they’re concerned on everything else. They have real intensity and Democrats have to be careful. What almost always happens in these things is there will be some event that will generate apparent support in a large number of people, and large majority of the public, for major new gun control, but it tends to dissipate over time and one senses that it’s already begun to dissipate in the aftermath of Newtown.”