[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Megyn Kelly somehow heard ahead of time from anonymous "senior White House advisers" that President Obama's speech in Ohio yesterday was going to be about "his personal experiences," featuring his "grandma and grandpa". She and Rich Lowry were quick to make fun of the speech beforehand, because no one cares about his grandma.
Then, when Obama actually started speaking, she continued to push this narrative, talking over him at the start by making sure the audience knew he was going to be speaking with "a greater emphasis on his own personal history".
Well, it didn't quite turn out that way. There was only a brief mention of his personal history in the speech itself -- most of which in fact was devoted to ripping Republicans and reminding voters who got them into this mess, particularly House-Speaker-in-Waiting Boehner. I don't think Kelly was too pleased to have 40-plus minutes of her hourlong show dedicated to Obama's Republican-bashing, which may have been why she finally cut in near the end of his speech and resumed her "regular broadcast" with a dismissive sneer.
Here's the part of the speech reflecting on his personal history:
Job growth between 2000 and 2008 was slower than it had been in any economic expansion since World War II -– slower than it’s been over the last year. The wages and incomes of middle-class families kept falling while the cost of everything from tuition to health care kept on going up. Folks were forced to put more debt on their credit cards and borrow against homes that many couldn’t afford to buy in the first place. And meanwhile, a failure to pay for two wars and two tax cuts for the wealthy helped turn a record surplus into a record deficit.Even that was about ripping movement conservatives and reminding voters that it was "limited government" (i.e., deregulation and laissez-faire economics) and a diet of tax cuts for the wealthy that got us into this mess in the first place. And then he got even more specific and explained who was responsible for the current situation and why.
I ran for President because I believed that this kind of economy was unsustainable –- for the middle class and for the future of our nation. I ran because I had a different idea about how America was built. (Applause.) It was an idea rooted in my own family’s story.
You see, Michelle and I are where we are today because even though our families didn’t have much, they worked tirelessly -– without complaint -– so that we might have a better life. My grandfather marched off to Europe in World War II, while my grandmother worked in factories on the home front. I had a single mom who put herself through school, and would wake before dawn to make sure I got a decent education. Michelle can still remember her father heading out to his job as a city worker long after multiple sclerosis had made it impossible for him to walk without crutches. He always got to work; he just had to get up a little earlier.
Yes, our families believed in the American values of self-reliance and individual responsibility, and they instilled those values in their children. But they also believed in a country that rewards responsibility; a country that rewards hard work; a country built on the promise of opportunity and upward mobility.
They believed in an America that gave my grandfather the chance to go to college because of the GI Bill; an America that gave my grandparents the chance to buy a home because of the Federal Housing Authority; an America that gave their children and grandchildren the chance to fulfill our dreams thanks to college loans and college scholarships.
It was an America where you didn’t buy things you couldn’t afford; where we didn’t just think about today -– we thought about tomorrow. An America that took pride in the goods that we made, not just the things we consumed. An America where a rising tide really did lift all boats, from the company CEO to the guy on the assembly line.
That’s the America I believe in. (Applause.) That’s the America I believe in. That's what led me to work in the shadow of a shuttered steel plant on the South Side of Chicago when I was a community organizer. It’s what led me to fight for factory workers at manufacturing plants that were closing across Illinois when I was a senator. It’s what led me to run for President -– because I don’t believe we can have a strong and growing economy without a strong and growing middle class. (Applause.)
Now, much has happened since that election. The flawed policies and economic weaknesses of the previous decade culminated in a financial crisis and the worst recession of our lifetimes. And my hope was that the crisis would cause everybody, Democrats and Republicans, to pull together and tackle our problems in a practical way. But as we all know, things didn’t work out that way.
Some Republican leaders figured it was smart politics to sit on the sidelines and let Democrats solve the mess. Others believed on principle that government shouldn’t meddle in the markets, even when the markets are broken. But with the nation losing nearly 800,000 jobs the month that I was sworn into office, my most urgent task was to stop a financial meltdown and prevent this recession from becoming a second depression. (Applause.)
No wonder Kelly had such a sour look on her face 40 minutes later. Her carefully planned attack narrative had just been demolished.
And remember, Kelly's show is part of Fox's supposed "news" lineup.