Media repeatedly declare that Obama's "honeymoon" is "over" -- but the cliché lives on

››› ››› MATT GERTZ, DIANNA PARKER & HANNAH DREIER

A Media Matters analysis found that since the day after President Obama's inauguration, broadcast and cable news figures have been stating that Obama's "honeymoon" is "over" or questioning whether it is, rendering the cliché all but meaningless. During this period, media figures have suggested Obama's "honeymoon" is "over" with respect to "some ... die-hard Republicans," the media, African-Americans, Cuban President Fidel Castro, "Republican critics of his economic recovery plan," and economists.

During the March 16 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh referred to a March 15 Washington Post column written by David Broder in which Broder asserted, "[I]t is not too soon to say that the Obama honeymoon is over," and a March 11 Hill article headlined "Obama's honeymoon bliss fading." Limbaugh commented, "Now, I realize I'm not gonna get credit from the likes of David Broder. But my whole point in saying I hoped Obama failed is rooted right here in these stories." In fact, a Media Matters for America analysis found that since the day after President Obama's inauguration, broadcast and cable news figures have been stating that Obama's "honeymoon" is "over" or questioning whether it is, rendering the cliché all but meaningless. During this period, media figures have asserted or suggested Obama's "honeymoon" is "over" with respect to "some ... die-hard Republicans," the media, African-Americans, Cuban President Fidel Castro, "Republican critics of his economic recovery plan," and economists.

From the March 16 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: But folks, I have warned you, I have begged you, I have asked you over the years, please don't doubt me. Nevertheless, some people continue to doubt me. David Broder has a piece today -- or had a piece in The Washington Post Sunday all about the honeymoon fading. David Broder, "The End of the Honeymoon."

"Among those who follow government closely, there has been an unmistakable change in tone in the past few weeks. And these are not little Rush Limbaughs hoping that Obama fails. They are politicians and journalists measuring him with the same skeptical eye they apply to everyone else."

"I think the shift began," writes Mr. Broder, "when Obama moved beyond the stimulus bill to his speech to the joint session of Congress and his budget message. For the first time, the full extent of his ambitions for 2009 became clear -- not just stopping and reversing the steep slide in the economy but also launching highly controversial efforts in health care, energy, and education."

Now, I realize I'm not gonna get credit from the likes of David Broder. But my whole point in saying I hoped Obama failed is rooted right here in these stories. There's another one at Bloomberg by -- I'm sorry -- it's at TheHill.com by Alexander Bolton, "Obama's honeymoon bliss fading." Oh, right -- he's taking on too much? What -- he's being too liberal? What -- he's trying to add up all these prog-- exactly what I warned everybody about.

And now, here come the deans of inside-the-Beltway thinking, led by David Broder. "These are not little Rush Limbaughs hoping that Obama fails." By the way, he's not calling me little. He's calling me big. He's calling everybody that agrees with me little. Since I'm the leader. I am the proclaimed leader of the opposition.

Now, I'm not -- folks, I don't care to get credit, but I warned you. From before he was inaugurated, I sounded the warning sirens on this.

From the January 21 edition of CNN's American Morning (retrieved from the Nexis database):

KIRAN CHETRY (co-host): He's already been talking about a clean break from President Bush's policies and backing it up by taking what could be the first step toward closing Guantánamo Bay. So is the honeymoon over already?

From the January 22 edition of American Morning:

CHETRY: All right, so is the Obama honeymoon already over for some die-hard Republic-- for some die-hard Republicans?

From the January 22 edition of CBS' The Early Show:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ (anchor): I know that you wanted to meet with the president today to talk about the all-important economic stimulus plan, and you were told he couldn't do it. Is it possible the bipartisan honeymoon is over already?

From the January 22 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:

BRET BAIER (host): The media honeymoon for the new president may already be over, as journalists' complaints fly during the first press briefing.

From the January 23 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

SEAN HANNITY (host): And still to come, President Obama promised transparency. But some reporters don't think he's delivering, so is the honeymoon with the press over?

[...]

HANNITY: And tonight in "Hannity's America," the president's honeymoon with the press is already over. Now, Mr. Obama's announcement of a, quote, "new era of openness" have left some in the media scratching their heads, wondering, "Well, why so many closed doors?"

From the January 24 edition of Fox News Watch:

JON SCOTT (host): Judy [Miller, Fox News contributor], the president made that unannounced visit to the press room and it didn't seem to go quite the way everybody had expected, especially him. Now did he break protocol or did the press?

MILLER: No, I think the honeymoon is over the day after the huge party --

SCOTT: Really?

MILLER: -- the day after the celebration.

From the January 24 edition of The Early Show (from Nexis):

CHRIS WRAGGE (co-host): Full speed ahead: President Obama flexes his political muscle and makes a big push for his economic plan. Will the honeymoon be over by February?

From the January 29 edition of American Morning:

JOHN ROBERTS (co-host): Well, his approval ratings are sky-high, but President Obama's honeymoon could be short-lived with a surprising group of supporters: African-Americans. We'll tell you why.

From the January 30 edition of American Morning:

CHETRY: So this is stark contrast to some of the words of praise that we heard from Castro for President Obama just last week. So why the change of heart?

MORGAN NEILL (CNN Havana bureau chief): That's right, Kiran. The honeymoon is over, I suppose.

From the January 31 edition of CBS' The Saturday Early Show:

WRAGGE: Honeymoon? What honeymoon? The president hosts another bipartisan love-fest, but will it win him even one Republican vote for his stimulus package?

From the February 1 edition of CNN Sunday Morning:

BETTY NGUYEN (co-host): The president won't be there, but he is having a big Super Bowl --

DON LEMON (co-host): Yes.

NGUYEN: -- party. The question, though, you know, once this is all said and done, is the honeymoon, though, coming to an end for President Obama?

From the Febrary 4 edition of CNN's Larry King Live:

LARRY KING (host): Amy, is the honeymoon over? Is genuine bipartisanship fading?

From the February 5 edition of Special Report:

BAIER: Some are wondering if the honeymoon is already over for the new president. Senior White House correspondent Major Garrett reports on an administration in overdrive to sell a stimulus bill that not enough people want to buy.

From the February 8 edition of CNN's State of the Union with John King:

JOHN KING (host): President Obama punching back there at Republican critics of his economic recovery plan. Is the honeymoon over?

From the 11 a.m. ET hour of CNN Newsroom on February 16:

TONY HARRIS (host): Twenty-eight days into the Obama presidency, so much for the honeymoon.

From the noon ET hour of CNN Newsroom on February 17:

HARRIS: President Obama signs the stimulus into law in about two hours. The biggest government spending spree ever -- well, comes at a real cost here; a bruising three-week fight with Republicans that soured the tone in Washington and brought the honeymoon to a loveless end.

From the February 19 edition of Hannity:

HANNITY: So, in summary, the president is less popular than he was three weeks ago, the stimulus package is really a spending package that most people don't think will help them, and people think that we're becoming too reliant on government. Sounds like the honeymoon is over.

From the March 4 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:

LOU DOBBS (host): Good evening, everybody. President Obama's honeymoon with Americans on the economy appears to be at an end; the president failing to win broad support for his economic policies, despite his personal popularity.

From the March 5 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:

JANE SKINNER (co-host): President Obama -- very popular. Few weeks into his term, Republicans have been -- he's so popular, they've been reluctant to really criticize him overtly. But is the honeymoon over? Some of them are taking suddenly a much tougher tone with him. Why?

From the March 9 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

WOLF BLITZER (host): I think it underscores not only what we're talking about, but these comments that the honeymoon for this new president is basically over.

GLORIA BORGER (CNN political analyst): Well, I think it -- I think it is over. Look, I think what (Newsweek columnist) Bob Samuelson was referring to was the president's budget. There's -- he believes -- and -- that there was not a lot of honesty in the budget, that the president didn't attack entitlements enough, that the president is maybe reducing defense spending too much.

From the March 12 edition of Happening Now:

SCOTT: President Obama and his treasury secretary get failing grades for their handling of the economic crisis -- not from the majority of the American people, however. Mr. Obama's popularity with the public stands at 60 percent or above in most polls. But a group of economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal say the president and the treasury secretary get a 59 out of a hundred when it comes to reviving the economy.

Take a closer look. Those economists tell the Journal their plan to rescue the banks came too late and is too vague. The general consensus is that the nation will shed about another 2.8 million jobs over the next year. One in six of these economists believe the recession could become a depression. So, let's talk about these political fortunes of these two men. Joining us: Trent Duffy, a former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush. Bob Beckel, the former Mondale campaign manager and a Fox News contributor. Trent, does this mean the honeymoon is over, at least in terms of these economists?

From the March 14 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ:

BRIAN WILSON (host): We talked about it before, and we're going to talk about it some more: Is the honeymoon over for President Obama? Details on his slipping poll numbers when we come back. Stay with us, everyone.

From the 10 a.m. ET hour of MSNBC Live on March 15:

ALEX WITT (anchor): Is it right -- or risky, rather, for the right to attack the president directly, considering his strong approval ratings out there, or do you think this is a sign that the honeymoon is coming to an end?

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