Tags: schoen | obama | weakness | holder

Schoen: Firing Holder Would Be Seen as Obama Weakness

Thursday, 30 May 2013 03:24 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald and John Bachman

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President Barack Obama would be making a political error by firing Attorney General Eric Holder — at least before next year's mid term elections, says political analyst Doug Schoen.

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Despite Holder's unpopularity such a move would be seen as "weakness and capitulation," Schoen told Newsmax TV.

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"The president is afraid that if he makes Holder a political sacrificial lamb now, it would only increase the ardor on the Republican side for more investigations and potentially a special prosecutor," he said in the exclusive interview.

But Schoen said pressure could grow to where Obama has no choice but to let the attorney general go, at the same time pointing out how President George W. Bush held on to unpopular Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld until after the 2006 midterms.

"The problem is if the president gives up on Holder, as he probably will have to at some point, it will be a sign of weakness and capitulation," said Schoen. "In 2006, President Bush waited until after the disaster in the midterm to ask Don Rumsfeld to resign."

Schoen also pointed out that Holder's reputation with the media is on the decline. The once-popular attorney general was rebuffed by much of the media when he invited senior staff to sit down for an off-the-record briefing.

The refusal by many to cooperate was "effectively a humiliation" for Holder as the nation's top law enforcement officer, claimed Schoen, a Newsmax contributor.

"Presumably, there are questions the media could and would ask about not only Benghazi and the IRS, but about the AP scandal and the Fox News investigation of James Rosen, but, apparently, the media is not up for it."

Schoen said Obama is taking steps to suggest he can reach across the aisle to Republicans, but as his poll numbers go down, focusing on the "people's business" may be what it takes to turn public opinion in his favor again.

Schoen, who is also a Democratic pollster who worked on both Bill and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaigns, said Obama could improve his image somewhat by working on creating jobs and stimulating the economy, as well as implementing his healthcare plan. Such work would "make the argument both implicitly and explicitly that he is focusing on what people really care about and the Republicans are overreaching."

However, Obama doesn't have allies on the Republican side of the aisle, Schoen said, and the president is basing his logic on the GOP's unwillingness to cooperate.

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But, he said, the president may be able to re-gain ground with Republican lawmakers through the appointment of new FBI director James Comey, a former Bush administration official.

"It's a pragmatic decision," Schoen said. "He is, by all accounts, somebody who is a zealous and non-partisan law enforcement official with a long history as a prosecutor. So my sense is it's a very good decision by the president and well needed" at a time when the nation is "hyperpolarized and divided."


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