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RUSH: Now, let me go back to not too distant a time. The president of the United States, when asked about ISIS, referred to them as “the JV team,” not that important, not that big, and they were so invisible in terms of being on his radar that he did not even have a strategy for dealing with them. Shortly after that statement and a couple others like it, some polling data surfaced.

The polling data indicated the American people had dwindling, low and dwindling confidence in President Obama’s ability to defend and protect the country, a dwindling and low opinion of the president’s leadership on foreign policy. Within hours, a press conference was scheduled. Eh, not a press conference. It was an address from the White House, the Green Room, I believe it was, in which the president all of a sudden decided to announce a strategy for dealing with the varsity, ISIS.

They had magically jumped from JV status to varsity in terms of the real world overnight, and Obama had come up with a strategy. I — your beloved and ever honest, on-the-point host — told you what everybody knew but few really wanted to say: This is all being driven by polling data. The president’s already told us his level of interest in this, which is not very high. But there are Democrats running for reelection in November and they’re getting nervous out there about a lot of things.

They’re getting nervous about the economy.

They’re getting nervous about ISIS, Americans being beheaded, journalists and so forth.

It doesn’t sit well. You combine that with polling data that shows the president doesn’t seem to be engaged or care about it, and Democrats begged him to do something. Voila, he did, and the conclusion was obvious. That whole announcement was driven by polls, and its purpose was to get Obama’s poll numbers up and attempt to renew the confidence of the American people in not just the president, but the Democrat Party in dealing with these things.

Now, how did that work out? It didn’t, and we knew it before today because there have been previous poll results released, but we have another one now. It’s from Chris Stirewalt at Fox News, but it’s everywhere. “Obama insiders and Democrats told The New York Times that they are anxious to see the president continue his pivot away from foreign policy, with several calling for a focus on jobs and the economy. One can see why.

“Obama’s about-face on Iraq and Syria doesn’t seem to have changed voter attitudes about his foreign policy and that of his party. A new,” wait for it, “CBS News/NYT poll says that the presidentÂ’s approval rating for foreign policy is essentially unchanged since last month when he announced an escalation of air strikes in the two countries, the return of US ground forces to Iraq and increased arms shipments to rival rebel groups.

“Last month, 39% approved” of Obama’s foreign policy. After a month of no-boots-on-the-ground warfare against ISIS his approval rating has jumped a staggering one point. He’s gone up from 39% approval to 40% approval, which means that the reason we’re doing this (from the Regime’s standpoint) has not worked out. Now, I realize, my friends, that’s a controversial thing to say. The truth often is. But it’s undeniable.

Six weeks ago: JV team, no strategy! Meaning: No engagement. Don’t really care. Not our problem except that it’s our fault. They’re mad because of our policies of support for Israel. They were mad at us because we’ve been too big for too long. We walked all over people, and we basically turned every country in the world into a hellhole while stealing everything they had so we could have a big superpower country and all that.

We kind of deserve this kind of thing. You know, they’re mad at us. That’s why he wasn’t interested. What business do we have telling this little group where they can and cannot operate? That’s their attitude. But the American people have a different view of America’s role in the world, because the American people view the United States as the good guy. A lot of Americans still do view the United States as a good guy, and they expect their president to be one of the good guys!

They expect their president to think of the country as the good guys. So drastic action was called for, and that meant a reversal, a 180-degree reversal on attitudes and action against ISIS, Iraq and Syria. But the poll numbers are in, and it hasn’t worked. ISIS is moving. ISIS is moving, and they’re continuing to grab territory. The bottom line is: If you doubt me on this, just consult any cable news network you want, and every bit of this stratagem will be reported in terms of, “Is it helping or hurting Obama?”

Not, “Are we succeeding in beating ISIS?” but, “Is what’s happening — and is the way we’re reporting it — helping or hurting Obama?” That’s their total focus. Now, Panetta? You add what Panetta’s book is saying, and it is getting bloody out there on the Democrat Party side. Tuesday, yesterday on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, NBC News, Leon Panetta showed up, and he said that Obama’s approach in all of this is to be like a law professor.

You know, sit there like you’re in the faculty lounge, and you stroke your chin while applying your supreme intellect to the task at hand, and you weigh in with your words, and you sit there and you talk with other learned intellectuals in the faculty lounge, and you deal with the hypotheticals and the theoreticals and the philosophical and all of this. You do it in ways and terms and attitudes that convey a superior intellect, while you at the same time ridicule the plebes you’re trying to please and so forth.

So Panetta says this guy just treats everything like he’s a law professor, deals with it in the abstract. And the prospect, the aspect of rolling up his sleeves and getting the job done is not the way Obama operates. Obama’s not a roll-up-the-sleeves guy and get to it. And then Leon Panetta yesterday on PMSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports, suggested that Obama has given up.

Let’s start with number 12 and 13. Gloria Borger interviewing Panetta — (interruption) yeah, ’cause we had a ban on PMSNBC, that’s right. I don’t permit any sound bites from them, so we gotta turn to CNN. So, Gloria Borger said, “President Obama’s taking action against ISIS. He’s conducting air strikes in Iraq and Syria. He’s really being tough out there. What are your thoughts on that, Mr. Panetta?”

PANETTA: He’s made the decision to put troops on the ground in Iraq, to try to help the security forces. He’s made the decision to arm and train rebel forces in Syria. And he’s made the decision to conduct air attacks. So, in many ways, he’s made the right decisions. Now, I think those decisions should have been made two years ago.

RUSH: Ooh! Well, it’s not quite saying he’s given up like he told Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington, but the stuff he is saying about Obama is devastating. Two years too late. He’s given up. He treats everything here like a lawyer. And Gloria Borger, not happy, then said, “Should President Obama have started air strikes when Syria used chemical weapons against its own people, violating the president’s clearly drawn red line?”

PANETTA: The president very clearly should have said, “You have crossed that red line and we’re not gonna allow that to happen.” And I think initially my sense was they were gonna do exactly that. But somehow they backed away from it.

RUSH: Uh-oh.

PANETTA: I think that was a — you know, a key moment in time in terms of sending a message to the world.

RUSH: Oh, no.

PANETTA: That there was a question mark as to whether or not the United States would stand by its word.

RUSH: Well, there was. He’s exactly right. We drew the red line and then pretended it didn’t exist, hadn’t drawn it, paper tiger kind of stuff. He’s exactly right. There’s something beginning to happen here, folks. Panetta’s not the first. He’s like the fourth or fifth former Regime official to come out with books or TV appearances really ripping Obama and his Regime. That has yet to happen to Bill Clinton. And, in fact, the people doing it are former Clintonistas. The people doing this are former Clintonites like Panetta, who, on the one hand it looks like they’re paving the way for Hillary. But then Panetta said something yesterday that does not look like it helps Hillary at all.

I mean, he just tore into everybody over Benghazi. I mean, he just ripped into everybody, but there’s no way that helps Hillary. So I may have to modify slightly, ever so slightly, my analysis of what Panetta’s doing here, ’cause I still think that much of what he’s doing is trying to inoculate Hillary from the incompetence of Obama and separate her from it so that she’s free and clear of it if she decides to run on her own. But nevertheless he’s just saying some devastating things here.

Now, Bill Burton went on CNN last night, Erin Burnett OutFront. Bill Burton, the former deputy White House secretary talking about Panetta’s new book, and Erin Burnett said, “It’s a criticism of the president’s policy, but more significantly, Bill, it’s a criticism by Panetta of Obama’s leadership. It says he just didn’t make a decision.”

BURTON: Secretary Panetta, he is a guy who’s had a long and storied career in Washington and has really served his country well. And it’s kind of sad that in its twilight he’s done such a dishonorable thing by going after the president that he served at a time of a lot of different instabilities around the world.

RUSH: It’s just so sad, such a great guy, such a great public servant, and it’s so sad that in its twilight he’s done such a dishonorable thing by going after the president he served. So Panetta responded to this. Charlie Rose, CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose said, “There are those who say he appointed you to two of the highest posts in the country, and just wait until he’s out of office. If you’re gonna criticize him, fine, but wait ’til he’s out of office, Leon, what do you say about that?”

PANETTA: You know what, it’s exactly because I am very loyal to this president, because I want him to succeed that I think it’s important to raise these issues now so that hopefully in two and a half years, you know, we can make sure that he really does have the kind of legacy that I think he deserves as president.

RUSH: Yeah, you’re doing a great job building it up, Leon, I gotta give you credit here. So Leon Panetta doesn’t want him to fail. He wants him to succeed. He really, really, really wants the president to succeed. There’s another poll, by the way, speaking of Obama failure. It’s TheHill.com: “Most See Obama As a Failure.” If they’d just listened to me, it wouldn’t have taken six years.


RUSH: Now, one thing about Panetta here. He also is saying — he was on MSNBC yesterday with Andrea Mitchell — he said, “From the very beginning I knew that Benghazi was a terrorist attack.” This totally undercuts everything that Hillary said and everything that Obama has said about Benghazi.

Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington, said, “You wrote in the book that you disagree with David Petraeus, who immediately, after the fact, told The Situation Room that he thought it was a spontaneous demonstration outside the consulate. Why did you disagree? Why didn’t it ring true that it was just a spontaneous demonstration?”

And Panetta said, “I didn’t have any specific info, but the fact was that when you bring grenade launchers to a demonstration, there’s something else going on. From the very beginning I sensed that this was an attack, a terror attack on our compound.” Do you realize what this does? This undercuts that silly excuse that it was a video. It undercuts that it was an offshoot of what had happened earlier in the day in Cairo when we had apologized before anything had happened.

Somebody like Marie Harf — it wasn’t her, but somebody like her in our embassy in Cairo put out an apology for the stupid video, apologizing for it, in anticipation of protests. And then Obama and Hillary said (paraphrasing), “Yeah, yeah, those protests started because of the video, then spread to Benghazi.” And here’s Panetta… it’s too bad he said this on PMSNBC because nobody saw it. But that’s why we’re telling you about it now.

He said, “From the very beginning I knew it was a terror attack. You don’t bring grenade launchers to a demonstration. I remember looking at Petraeus and saying, ‘Look, based on the weapons that I see and the nature of the attack, I think this is a terror attack.’ And he said, ‘Look, the information we’re getting from intelligence sources is that it really was a demonstration.’ I said, ‘You know, David, I just don’t see it that way. I think we’re dealing with what, in effect, is a group of terrorists.'”

I know Panetta wants to sell books, there’s no question, but where was this at the time? Why are we not knowing this long ago?


RUSH: Snerdley is asking me if Panetta’s doing all this because he wants to — ’cause this latest announcement by Panetta on Benghazi, that undercuts. I don’t think this is getting its proper attention.

Leon Panetta said on MSNBC yesterday that he knew and he told in the War Room, in the Situation Room, he told Petraeus. Petraeus, he claimed was saying, “It’s just a protest.” And Leon Panetta said, “Nope, nope, nope. When you bring a howitzer or a mortar gun to a protest, that’s not a protest.” He said, “This is a terror attack.” He said he recognized it as a terror attack from the get-go. And he’s a gravitas guy, Panetta’s one of these guys, when you put ’em in this Regime they’re adding gravitas.

So he just pulled the rug out from everybody who claimed it was a protest resulting from that silly video that nobody ever saw, including Hillary. And so Snerdley’s saying, “Maybe Panetta’s trying to set himself up.” I don’t know. I’ve never looked at Panetta as somebody who wanted to be president. Maybe he does. I don’t know. All I know is, that’s a giant — I mean, you know what I wonder? You know what’s probably happening right now? There are people in the Obama campaign searching video archives hoping to find just one example of Panetta also blaming the video. And if they find it, you can count on Wolf Blitzer having it five minutes before he knows he’s got it. And then it’ll be over at the CBS Evening news. And then it’ll be over at MSNBC. And maybe Andrea Mitchell will be the first to get it since that’s where he pulled the rug out.

But you know that they’re looking since he’s now saying, “I’m the guy, I knew it from the get-go it was a terror attack.” You know they’re trying to find if he ever publicly blamed the video, like they all did. It won’t be long to find out if they find it, ’cause when they do, it’s gonna be prominently replayed over and over.

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