WILL: A huge turnaround doesn't explain the cognitive dissonance of this administration. It's campaigning across the country in what it calls "recovery summer," postulate being we're in a recovery, but, they say, we really need another stimulus, because the first two stimuli did not bring us a recovery.
TAPPER: I appreciate the proper Latin. I want to show...
PAGE: It's about time.
TAPPER: I want to show a couple numbers in terms of polling numbers for President Obama that are not positive, the results of a new ABC News-Washington Post poll. On President Obama's handling of the economy, do you approve of President Obama's handling of the economy? Last month, 50 percent approved. This month, 43 percent, a seven-point drop in just one month, mainly among Democrats.
And here's the reason why, if you look at this number, this larger chart. As unemployment has gone up, up, up, the president's approval has gone down, down, down.
And yet, Nicolle, I want to ask you this: If you look at the poll on the public's confidence in different groups to handle the economy, Obama is 43 percent, a horrible number for him, Democrats in Congress, 32 percent, Republicans in Congress, 26 percent.
WALLACE: OK. Hang on to that 26 and look at this number: 51 percent of the same voters in that poll want Republicans to take control of Congress.
WALLACE: They don't even trust us, and they want us to take control of Congress.
TAPPER: I know, but...
WALLACE: That is how desperately they want to stop Obama's agenda. Now -- now, I think it's noble for Democrats to defend the expansion of the role of the federal government in our financial system. I think it's noble to defend Obamacare.
But the truth is, it has ignited a disdain for the expansion of the federal government, and it's not just among Tea Partiers. I know there's a lot of attention paid to them. The ABC-Post poll has 40 percent of respondents identifying themselves as independents. That is the former Obama coalition.
WILL: Well, I think that's absolutely right. The country is not saying we like Republicans; they're saying we don't like the current agenda. And the Republicans are standing there. They are the alternative.
PAGE: This is the funny thing about this -- you talk about cognitive dissonance. We have a public in the midst of high unemployment that wants less spending. That was not predicted by this administration, and certainly it runs counter to what -- to what liberals normally call for, certainly counter to what worked for FDR. We can talk about what happened during the Great Depression, George.
But the fact is that -- that I think, if unemployment weren't so bad right now, people would feel a lot better about Obamacare and the stimulus packages, et cetera, but the problem, as long as unemployment is up, the public isn't going to appreciate the president's handling of the economy.
WILL: The false liberal assumption is that economic hard times move the country to the left. It's not true, and it didn't happen in the 1930s. Before the '36 election and after the '36 election, in which Roosevelt carried 46 of 48 states, Democrats said they wanted him to be more conservative, and only about 18 percent of Democrats said they wanted to increase spending. Those are Democrats.