Taking a break from his regular schedule of hanging out with celebrities at fancy locales and getting his fledgling career as a movie critic off the ground, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown appeared as a guest on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, where he had some strong words for President Obama.
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Noting a recent column by James Carville imploring the president to fire his staff and indict everyone in sight (Cajun style!) if he hopes to survive to a second term, Matthews asked Brown what advice he would give to a president whose approval numbers are sinking before what's sure to be an especially brutal electoral contest.
"I think he has to demonstrate that he is very, very tough," said Brown. "Seldom, if ever, have we had a president who has waited so long to truly show his nature in terms of a fight. From the time he did not allow the Bush measures to go by the wayside on the tax break last December to the present day, he hasn't taken one step to demonstrate how tough he really can be."
A recent California Field Poll put Obama's approval rating in the state at 46 percent. He'd still beat any of his Republican challengers, however, this marks the first time in the history of his presidency that his approval rating has slipped below 50 percent in the typically solid liberal bastion.
Obama's toughest competition in the state comes from former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. The Sacramento Bee reports:
The incumbent would best former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney 55 percent-33 percent along the coast. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the contest wouldn't be that close. Obama would win 68 percent-22 percent.
…But in the Central Valley, the picture changes rather dramatically. Romney leads Obama, 50-40 percent in the valley. Romney also leads among voters 65 and older, 46 percent-45 percent, and among white voters, 47 percent to 43 percent.
Brown held out hope that Obama could still turn his protects around nationwidewhere just under a quarter of all respondents "strongly approved" of the job the president was doing according to a recent Rasmussen poll.
"I don't think that people have made up their minds about Barack Obama," said Brown, urging the president to tack left and run hard against the congressional Republicans in Washington. "There is still great optimism that he can cease his relationships with the Republicans and trying to placate them and go back to do things for his base."
"Da Mayor" was less critical of the president in his weekly San Francisco Chronicle column last Sunday. Talking about what he called "Obama's 'Save My Job'" speech before congress, Brown wrote approvingly:
Every third word was "jobs." He wasn't using Beltway speak - his language was straight from the bus, riding with Joe Six-Pack and the maids from The Help. The man can go from Harvard University to Morehouse in one paragraph.