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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
CNN National Report Card
Aired August 6, 2009 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: We are having with the folks at home, with you. We want to hear from you. We have been hearing from you. In fact, as you said about two million votes so far...
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Two point five million.
BROWN: Two point five million.
BLITZER: On CNN.com since Sunday. When we put the questions up, there are 10 questions people can give grades, A, B, C, D and F. Many people are giving F's in some of those grades. 2.5 million votes so far. But things are going to be changing a little bit starting right now because there's going to be some new opportunities for folks to tell us exactly what they think.
Because in addition to going to CNN.com where you can tell us what you think, grade the president, the Congress, the news media, a whole host of questions, you can also, starting this hour, you can use your phone to do the same thing.
And we're going to put a number up on the screen where you can go ahead and grade the number. 1-888-GRADE-09 or 1-888-472-3309, and you'll be able to tell us what you think, what grades on all of these 10 questions you are giving.
You can also text your grade at 22360. Standard rates apply. 22360. That's opening up right now.
In fact, I want to go to Abbi Tatton, our Internet reporter. Abbi, show us how easy it is for folks to get involved and to weigh in.
ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, this is CNN.com/reportcard. We've had more than 2.5 million votes on it already but we want you to still keep voting. I'm going to walk you through how it works right here.
On question one, grade the Obama administration's handling of the economy. Here you pick a grade. Say you want to take a B. You can do B plus, B-minus. But on this one, I'm going to pick a B.
After that, there's something else we want to hear from you, where you live. This is so we can map all of the results that have been coming in to CNN since Sunday. So you can see what the people around you are voting on as well.
Take this down here, and then I'm going to submit the grade. That's going to then take you to a map of all the results coming in around the country here. That's just question one.
There's ten questions that we want to hear from you. It's grading the president on the economy, on foreign affairs. You can grade us, the media, how Congress is doing. Go to CNN.com/reportcard now. It's set up so we want one vote from each computer. So tell us what you think -- Wolf?
BLITZER: All right. The clock is starting right now. You have seven minutes -- less than seven minutes right now to vote on the first question. Grade the Obama administration's handling of the economy. 6:45 left. You can do it by text, by phone or go to CNN.com.
Jessica Yellin is over in Steubenville, Ohio at a diner. You're talking to folks there. What are you hearing, Jessica?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the folks with me here in Ohio have a variety of opinions.
Jeffrey Smith, how would you grade the Obama administration on the economy, the first question tonight?
JEFFREY SMITH, OHIO RESIDENT: A D at this point.
YELLIN: A D on the economy. Amy Frye, how would you grade the Obama administration?
AMY FRYE, OHIO RESIDENT: I would give him an A.
YELLIN: An A. And Rick Yank?
RICK YANK, OHIO RESIDENT: I would give him a B because he is really, really instilled confidence in the American people.
YELLIN: So there's a sampling of views from here, Wolf. Back to you.
BLITZER: All right, Jessica. We're going to be getting back to you and the folks in Steubenville, Ohio. Let's walk over to Campbell Brown right now.
You've got great analysts over there with you who've got some thoughts about the grading process.
BROWN: Yes, that is -- that's true, Wolf. And I'm actually going to ask you guys while we're waiting on these grades to come in from people at home to go ahead and give us your grade on that first question.
Everybody ready? And I'll introduce you as we go around. Jeff Toobin, on the question of the economy, what are you giving the president?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I'm giving him a B. You know? He's off to a decent start. He got a stimulus package planned. It passed. It seems like it's having some impact but the economy stinks and he's the president and the buck stops there.
BROWN: David Gergen?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: B plus.
BROWN: OK. Hold up your grade so we can see it. B plus from David Gergen.
GERGEN: Listen, I think that this economy was going over a cliff when he took office. He stopped us from going over a cliff. I think they made some mistakes on their policy. Stimulus bill wasn't big enough. I don't think they moved the foreclosure bill very well. I don't think they moved credit very well. But he's got us basically back on a better track. He's got real problems ahead with unemployment.
BROWN: And Candy, you're going to skip the grades given that you're covering this administration. Give me your take.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, let me tell you why I think that people do not give him an A for the stimulus package and the things. Because while there are signs of recovery, what are our two big trouble spots? Home mortgage foreclosures as well as the jobless rate.
The two things that people really get. I mean it hits them where they live. So you can talk about how the GDP is now for the second quarter in a row done. People are going what? Because I'm about to lose my house or my neighbor just lost their jobs. So that to me is his biggest problem to overcome to sort of instill confidence.
BROWN: Gloria? Quickly, I want to get everybody...
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm going to give him a B and it's an average. The rest I give him an A for because he did get rid of the panic. The recovery, not so much. The content and the selling of it, I give him a C so my average is a B.
BROWN: Let me get a quick take from the back panel. We're going to come back to you guys in a moment. But I'll start with you, Bill Bennett.
WILLIAM BENNETT, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: A D. My friend Jeff Toobin...
BROWN: Not surprised. Go ahead.
BENNETT: My friend Jeff Toobin says the economy stinks, I give him a B. I don't know where the standards from Harvard where all about.
I don't understand this. But that's grade inflation. The stimulus has not kicked in. Only 9 percent of the money is going to be spent this year. Ali Velshi had the last word on it this week. Talked to all of those economists.
BENNETT: They said we're seeing some turn in the economy but it's not from Barack Obama.
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I'm giving him a strong B and that's because the stimulus was a three-part program -- rescue, recovery and reinvestment. We've seen the rescue. It's helping state governments make ends meet. We're seeing some signs of the recovery but, clearly, it's time to reinvest in the American people.
BROWN: All right. Guys, I have 30 seconds for both of you but Alex...
PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Alex and I don't have to go.
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR AND GOP CONSULTANT: I'll give him a D, a D for debt. He's indebted the country for generations. Spent a lot more than he should have.
BROWN: And quickly, Paul.
BEGALA: Give him a B for Bush. I inherited the debt from Bush. He's trying to dig us out of that ditch, Mr. Castellanos.
BROWN: All right, guys, we're going to come back. And we've got -- I should mention, too, about three minutes left of voting for all the folks at home. We're going to come back and talk about this a lot more after we hear what you think. We're going to take a quick break. Go online. You can do it by text. You can call us. All the information at the bottom of the screen. We'll see you in just a few minutes.
BLITZER: Voting has just ended on question number one here at the CNN National Report Card. The question being grade the Obama administration's handling of the economy, and take a look at this -- C minus. That's what it averages out to.
More than 307,000 people went online or text messaged us or went on the phone over the past seven minutes and gave the president of the United States a C minus for his handling of the economy during these, the second 100 days of the Obama administration.
Here's how it averaged out. If you take a look at the A-minus, the A-plus, and the A, about 23 percent, that's the red and the orange. The blue is a B, whether B-minus, B plus or solid B, 16 percent.
The green area is for a C or a C minus, C plus. D is the purple area and the F, you can see 36 percent of those who voted. More than 300,000 gave the president -- 36 percent of the 307,000 gave the president an F.
By the way, this number over here in the red is a B. That was what the president averaged out during the first 100 days as far as the economy is concerned when we did our National Report Card then.
These are unscientific numbers. Even though a lot of people are weighing in. We've asked CNN's Soledad O'Brien to take a look at the scientific polls and see how they match up with what our viewers are saying online. Soledad?
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Overall, the viewers are close. Overall, they give them a C on the economy. And if you break it down, it's pretty interesting. Let's go right to that pie chart. You can see the A's very, very low at 14 percent. The F's, not so low at 24 percent.
But here's where I think it gets interesting. Let's take us to the next chart here. You can see conditions in the U.S. today. So this is how you feel about it. Good, 21 percent. That's really a look at the market rallying 44 percent since March. Profits announced by Goldman, by Apple. But you look at this category right here, somewhat poor, 44 percent.
As Candy said earlier, the problem is people don't feel it in the job, so this number somewhat poor is relatively high. But this is the interesting category right here, very poor, 35 percent. The good news in this number there, it used to be 66 percent. So actually, it's less bad.
All of that leads us to a C grade for the president coming up on how the economy is.
BLITZER: That's the scientific poll, and the unscientific poll, although a lot more people are involved, a C minus as far as the economy is concerned.
Tom Foreman is over at -- well, actually, I want to go to Campbell Brown right now because Campbell has got some analysts who probably are may or may not be surprised at the C minus that our viewers have given the president on his handling of the economy.
BROWN: I want to go back to Paul Begala and Alex Castellanos, because I've run out of time with you, guys. But Paul, you gave the president a B on the economy. Why do you think the C minus overall?
BEGALA: I think -- first off, if you look at that, what was it 34 percent gave him an F? That's a good chunk of America or a bad chunk of America if you prefer, that just hates this guy. And you know, I kind of like that about him.
You know, Ronald Reagan drove the American left crazy. It's part of what made him a successful president. Barack Obama has -- has earned the disapproval of the far right. And...
BROWN: You don't think the votes are partisans, do you?
BEGALA: The 34 percent that are giving him an F?
BROWN: No, no. I mean with bringing the number to the C minus.
BEGALA: No, but that's part of it.
BEGALA: When you get a third of the voters, and that's not a third of the country, a third of the people who voted in our system giving him an F, that's going to drag it down there.
Maybe there are a few liberals, though. There is a legitimate criticism that the stimulus was too small. There's a legitimate criticism from the left that Tim Geithner, the treasury secretary, had been a little bit too timid. There's some legitimate criticism there from the left. But I suspect almost all of that 34 percent, very conservative.
CASTELLANOS: I think Paul -- Paul is looking at a set of different numbers than I'm apparently seeing up there because they actually do like him personally. No one dislikes this guy. He's terrifically charming.
BROWN: All right.
CASTELLANOS: It's his policies. And by the way, he's managed to split his own party in half because his policies are so unpopular.
BROWN: All right, guys, we want to go back to Wolf, who's got the next question for us so we can hear from folks at home. Wolf?
BLITZER: We're going to open up the seven-minute window right now. You can weigh in online. You can text message. You can phone us. Grade the Obama administration's handling of -- of health care reform. Less than seven minutes to vote on this.
That's question number two, grade the Obama administration's handling of health care reform.
And just to remind you, you can do it online at CNN.com/reportcard. Or if you want to phone in, go to 1-888-GRADE-09, GRADE-09. Or 1-888-472-3309. You call that number, you'll hear a familiar voice answering that number. Or you can text at 22360, standard rates apply.
We asked folks around the country to weigh in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On health care, I'd give him a B plus. Overall, I think that all Americans should be entitled to good health care.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I give the administration a C on health care because I'd like to see a plan. I think they're working on it but nothing definitive has been put forward as far as I can tell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: B-minus on the health care program because I prefer to see people with low income get better health programs because it's hard right now to reach out to people that are struggling.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Again, B plus. I feel very strongly that this particular administration is doing the best they can under the circumstances.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. You still have time to go ahead and let us know what you think the -- how the president is doing. You can grade his handling of health care reform. We'll hear from our analysts and a lot more when our special coverage of the CNN National Report Card continues.
BROWN: Welcome back, everybody. A little less than two minutes to vote there. You can see it on the clock. And we are grading the Obama administration's handling of health care reform. We have the best political team on television with us tonight, and we're going to get their grades right now before we run out of time so we can get to yours as well.
Jeff, let me start with you.
TOOBIN: This is the definition of an incomplete, because this is like judging a 100-yard dash at the 50 yard line. I mean it just -- we don't know what he's going to get.
BROWN: All right.
TOOBIN: And we'll find out.
BROWN: David? I want to get to everybody so I'm going to ask everybody to be brief.
GERGEN: High mark for trying. I think he lost control of the debate. I think turning it over to the Democrats in Congress had been a mistake. B minus so far.
BROWN: All right -- Candy?
CROWLEY: I think his biggest problem in getting this thing through is he has yet to convince the bulk of Americans who have health care and pretty much like their health care that there's something in this for them.
BORGER: I'm going to give him a C plus, because I think that he got too preoccupied with doing just the opposite of what Hillary Clinton did and in the end just handed it over to Congress, which couldn't figure it out.
BROWN: We've got 45 seconds of voting left -- Paul Begala?
BEGALA: I give him an A minus because yes, we're beginning the 100-yard dash where he has already pushed health care further through Congress than Bill Clinton ever did. He's made extraordinary progress here and he is shifting the debate.
I think the other panelists are right that he needs to. But he has. He shifted it now to insurance reform, how it helps you if you have health insurance. It's a smart move.
CASTELLANOS: D for a disaster on health care. He's polarized his own party. He's got Democrats scared to go up the Hill and support him on this. It's turned out to be a huge, risky experiment. Bad problems for Barack Obama.
BROWN: Donna Brazile?
BRAZILE: I disagree strongly with Alex, but we can talk about that later. I give him an incomplete because he hasn't completed the legislative process.
BENNETT: Let me agree with Jeff Toobin this time. He is at the halfway point. But the longer he talks, the worse it gets. The more he talks about health care, the lower his approval ratings on health care. He is not persuading on this. It's going on the other way.
BROWN: Quickly, Gloria.
BORGER: There is a bad analogy -- could come up with a centrist plan and it could work.
BROWN: Story still to be told but let's see how folks at home voted on this. Wolf, what do you have?
BLITZER: All right. Let's show our viewers why the president is in trouble on health care reform. He gets a solid D from those who voted online or via the phone. More than 281,000 people -- 2,000 right now just went up. They went and voted. A solid D.
And take a look at how it breaks down. Only 18 percent gave him an A. 15 percent, you see the blue, gave him a B. 8 percent gave him a C. D, 9 percent. But almost half gave him a solid F, 49 percent. You see the purple right there.
That shows you why the president has got a serious challenge in getting forward with health care reform right now. This is a serious issue that clearly is -- is before the president.
We're going to start voting right now on the next question. Grade the Obama administration's handling of foreign affairs. You got 6:42 right now left on foreign affairs. How do you think the president is doing? Let's go to Soledad O'Brien to see how the solid D the president got on our National Report Card compares to the scientific polling that going on right now. Soledad?
O'BRIEN: Well, he did slightly better. He got overall a C minus. Take a look. And if you break it down by the pie chart, again, it's kind of similar. You see low A's, high F's. It's a big problem for the president.
But what I think is interesting, and Candy referred to this just a moment ago. Take a look at the question that was asked about how you feel about your health care. Let's go to the next slide.
Satisfied with your health care? Here's the problem for the president, 83 percent say yes, I am. That means they like their doctor, they like where they go to get their medical care. Are you satisfied with your health insurance, 74 percent, overwhelming number, says yes, I am.
So as Candy points out, the problem is making the case to the American public. That there's a sense that change is bad. People are saying, well, what about me? What's in it for me?
Maybe the president has not made the case. I think that C minus overall grade that he gets on health care really is an indication he's got a long way to go to really sell this. Wolf?
BLITZER: He certainly does. On health care, he gets a D, at least from the people who weighed in at CNN.com, and on the handling of the economy, a C minus. Those aren't necessarily very good grades for the president on this day 200.
There's five minutes, a little bit more than five minutes left for you to weigh in on how the president is handling foreign affairs. Very interesting here what you think about that. We'll take a quick break. Our coverage of the National Report Card here on CNN will continue right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would give President Obama a D on foreign policy. I don't believe you go and apologize for the most powerful country in the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would give Obama an A on foreign policy because people seem to like him throughout the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I say C. I mean, they should focus more on at home than what's going on overseas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Welcome back, everybody. You can see there on the clock, just a little over a minute left to vote on this question of the Obama administration's handling of foreign affairs. We want to get our vote from the panel tonight. I'm going to start with Bill Bennett.
BENNETT: Maybe an F but I give him a D because of a couple of good things he's doing. This is the one that worries me the most. He didn't want to meddle in Iran. There are more dead Iranians now. And he should have been saying more. They are now more dangerous. No hesitation about moving ahead with nuclear weapons.
He's got higher grades, better thought of by Hamas than the previous administration. Better thought of by Hugo Chavez, but not better thought of by Israel. This is not a good record at all.
BROWN: Donna Brazile?
BRAZILE: I think he has a strong record on foreign policy, in addition to giving an excellent speech in Cairo, this administration has a plan. They're following through. We are withdrawing troops from Iraq. He has a plan now in Afghanistan with a benchmarks. I give him overall a good, strong A on foreign policy.
CASTELLANOS: You could give him an A for being liked but -- getting America liked in the world but an F for it being less respected. The best thing he's got going is probably Hillary Clinton, who is the strongest part of the foreign policy of this administration.
BROWN: Who we'll be talking about in a minute.
CASTELLANOS: Overall, he gets a C because we're weaker in the eyes of the world.
BEGALA: No, we're stronger and more respected so I give him an A. He had to, early in his presidency, deployed deadly force against the Somali pirates. He did it without flinching. He's also shown very depth diplomacy, witness the return of those journalists from North Korea, which the Obama administration arranged without ever leaking or blowing their own horn.
BROWN: All right. Sit tight, guys. I do want to get to everybody else. We've got time expired on voting for folks at home. But let me get a very quick read from you, guys. Jeff?
TOOBIN: D, for one reason. Afghanistan. We are in trouble in this country. Americans are dying there every day and no one knows when it's going to get out.
BROWN: Just show us the numbers -- David?
GERGEN: A minus. I think Afghanistan is moving in the right direction. He has General Petraeus in there.
BROWN: Gloria? BORGER: I give him an incomplete. He's got a lot of balls up in the air. We just don't know where they're going to land right now and we don't know what's going to happen in Afghanistan and Iran.
BROWN: OK. Let me go to Wolf so we can see what folks at home are saying.
BLITZER: I will tell you right because the time is up. And 275,000 people weighed in and he got a solid C on his handling of foreign policy during the second 100 days. That's better than the D that he got on health care, better than the C minus on the economy. Gets a C on foreign affairs.
Here's how it breaks down. Twenty-nine percent give him an A or A minus or A plus. Fourteen percent a B, 15 percent a C, 16 percent A, 26 percent give him an F. So you see that.
How does that compare with the first 100 days? He got a B plus when we asked the same question 100 days ago -- a B plus.
Let's go to Soledad right now. I want to remind our viewers, Soledad, a lot of people are weighing in at CNN.com but these are unscientific numbers. You've got the scientific numbers with the formal polling that has been going on with this question.
O'BRIEN: That's exactly right. It's the phone poll, over 1,000 folks. And, you know, foreign affairs is usually a strong spot for any president. So you can see that the overall grade that he gets is a C plus, which is the best grade that we talked about so far.
When you go to the pie chart, you kind of see why A's stronger than what we've seen. F, not as bad as what we've seen. So overall, he's getting sort of a solid C plus.
Here's the problem and Jeff Toobin referenced it just a moment ago. War in Afghanistan. You look at the favor numbers, 41 percent. You look at the oppose numbers, 54 percent.
Now, this 54 percent is the highest number we have seen since the war began in, and we think October of 2001. So that's a problem. Not a huge problem at this moment but it could spell some big trouble for the president when you go back to his overall C plus, a good grade. But I think this is kind of looming in the background as Jeff Toobin says, could be a big problem in the next 100 days -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. C plus with a scientific poll. C when it comes to the polling that we did.
All right, here's the next question. Question number four, grade the performance of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. You have under seven minutes right now to text us or to phone us. Or you can go to CNN.com.
Campbell, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she's been out there. She's been very visible. BROWN: Yes, especially over the last 24, 48 hours given what happened with President Clinton. Let me take a couple of grades from the front table on this before we take a quick break -- Gloria?
BORGER: A. A, absolutely. I think she's ignoring all those folks who are saying she's not visible enough. She's doing her job just as she did in the United States Senate. And by the way, the choreography with Bill Clinton going to North Korea was brilliant.
BROWN: And you know what, Candy, we actually saw, because the voting's been going on for a number of days now, an uptick in her numbers when he came back with the two journalists.
CROWLEY: And also, I mean, that's the biggest factor here is politicians always get really popular once they get off the campaign trail. She's got a job. I mean, this is one of the most divisive political figures around as she went into the presidential campaign at least. And now, you know, she's got a job.
She's doing her job. It's a very, very good job for her. It's highly visible and she is a workhorse.
GERGEN: A minus. She and Bob Gates I think are turning out to be the two strongest members of the cabinet so far. A few mistakes. She needs more strategy but she's moving up. She's getting better.
BROWN: And you have heard some people question, Jeff, her relationship with Obama, whether she was going to really be a player in all of this. But --
TOOBIN: I give her an A. Invisibility suits her. I think the fact that she's been out of the papers and out of the news a great deal means she's working. It seems like she's doing just fine.
BORGER: But the thing is she's in the White House every day. She's got face time with the president whenever she wants it.
BROWN: A fair point.
BORGER: She meets with him an hour a week.
BROWN: Let me get to the back table. Bill Bennett.
BENNETT: Moonlight becomes you, huh? Invisibility becomes you. Doesn't anybody read the "New Republic" cover story? Who runs foreign policy?
I think she is invisible. A little visibility lately. But is it Dennis Ross? Is it George Mitchell? Is it Barack Obama?
She had to correct the president on Zelaya, the situation in Honduras. She had to push back a little bit on that. I'll bet she's getting ticked.
BROWN: Hold up the grade.
BROWN: OK -- Donna Brazile?
BRAZILE: A. She's helped to reset our relations with Russia. She has reengaging our country with India and she has so many other important initiatives, including the one that she announced today in Africa to help that country, that continent achieve stability. So I give her an A.
CASTELLANOS: I'll give her a B minus because she is the strongest thing now in that administration. I think most Republicans would feel much more comfortable with her handling foreign policy than, frankly, Obama. But she is pulling him back, for example, on Honduras, things like that. And, of course, if you -- it's not just her, it's Bill Clinton. What a great asset. If you want to send anyone to bring two women home, Bill Clinton's your man.
BROWN: OK, Paul.
BEGALA: I am hopelessly biased having worked for Bill Clinton all of those years and I love Hillary. I give her an A because counter-intuitively, she's been a very strong team player. I think the strongest member of a very strong team. And the problem with having a strong team is sometimes they go to war. They become rival teams instead of a team of rivals.
And you look at Reagan's administration, you had Weinberger fighting Shultz, state defense. Under President Bush, Powell was at war with Rumsfeld. Here you have as David points out, Secretary Gates, Secretary Clinton and a long list of strong people all working together. She gets the credit.
BROWN: All right.
CASTELLANOS: This is the most interesting development so far, the emergence -- re-emergence of the new Democrats. They're back. Obama has gone so far left, he's empowered Hillary and Bill.
BROWN: OK. We've got about three minutes left to vote on this issue grading Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Let's leave you while we take a break with some of the folks have home have said about this. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I would give her probably a B or a B plus, above average, considering, you know, all the things that led to her taking the position. I think she took the position. She ran with it and she's been very effective.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Probably B plus on what I've seen that she's done. It seems like she's been out there. She's gone places. She's, you know, doing -- she's, you know, being there and representing America well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: C. I don't see her very much. Does she do anything? They don't have her on the news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Time is up on this, the fourth question, that we've asked you to grade the administration on, grade the performance of the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.
Take a look. She gets a C plus from the 296,000 of you who went online or via phone, text message, and told us what you think. C plus for Hillary Clinton so far.
Twenty-nine percent of you thought she was doing A work, 22 percent B, 21 percent C. Thirteen percent of you thought she was doing a D. Fifteen percent thought she was doing failure as Secretary of State.
Soledad O'Brien is taking a look at how these numbers compare with the scientific survey we have done -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: She does better in the scientific survey. The scientific survey, which is a poll, a phone poll of 1,136 people done over the weekend from July 31st to August 3rd. She's very solid. She gets a B minus.
Keep in mind foreign policy is going pretty well, so when you look at the breakdown a little bit and the pie chart, A's and B's, you know, overwhelmingly a big part of that pie chart. So foreign policy going pretty well, and she has no fingers on Afghanistan. We showed you some of those troubling numbers the last time around. So that's all been very good for Hillary Clinton.
Part of the reason also, further breakdown, men and women. We've talked about Hillary Clinton and breaking down her women's numbers. Obviously, a very popular candidate when she was running for president with women. That love on the campaign trail is staying with her.
Men giving her a very respectable C plus. Women giving her a B minus. Women like her and, of course, that is raising her grade overwhelmingly. She gets a B minus. A very, very solid grade.
BLITZER: Yes, it's B minus. So far, the best on these four questions that we've raised so far. A C plus on this unscientific survey. Almost 300,000 people weighing in.
Let's walk over to Tom Foreman. Tom, it's a very interesting as we take a look at the Obama administration's handling of foreign affairs, how it shapes up across the country in different regions.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf. Look at this. This is a solid C for the handling of foreign affairs. I want you to look at one thing here. I'm going to circle this part of the country up in here. This is an older part of the country. It's a part of the country that's got a lot of Republican places and 100 days ago, look at what they thought of foreign affairs. That's where they're getting some of their strongest support.
Now if we look at the question of Hillary Clinton, she really has been the bright light for all of this tonight. Look at this. There are more B's on this page --
BLITZER: The blues are B's and the grays are the C's.
FOREMAN: Absolutely right. More on this page than anywhere else, including Hawaii down here and just a short while ago she picked up Arizona down there with a B minus, John McCain's home state.
She really has been the one that came on strong in this process. But worth bearing in mind for all of this being good news in this report card for the Obama administration, 100 days ago, look, it was almost all in the B range for Hillary Clinton. So even though it's good for the Obama administration, since 100 days ago, opinions have dropped.
BLITZER: She got a B then. She gets a C plus right now, which obviously is a little bit of a setback.
Let's go over and take a look at the next question that we're going to grade on, and you've got less than seven minutes to go right now.
We want you to grade the performance of the vice president, Joe Biden. Take a look at this. Grade the performance of Vice President Joe Biden. You have six minutes and 40 seconds or so left to vote on that.
Campbell, Hillary Clinton's performance so far pretty good compared to the other questions that we've raised.
BROWN: Very good, Wolf, overall. Let's talk quickly a little bit about Joe Biden. I won't say who but one of the panelists did say when I said, you know, the question about Joe Biden is coming up and somebody did say, is he still the vice president? Very low profile, don't you think, Candy?
CROWLEY: They've put him out there to do the workmen sort of work. I mean, he's out there. It's whether he's pumping the stimulus plan. He's supposedly over -- you know, overseeing the stimulus plan. So he's out there doing kind of vice presidential stuff, which is not very glamorous.
GERGEN: One thing he is doing, Candy, he's overseeing Iraq.
BROWN: And, David, tell us what you voted on Biden.
GERGEN: I think he's doing a fine job overseeing Iraq. I think getting his mouth under control is still a problem. And when he gets that done, he's --
CROWLEY: And that's when we hear from him.
TOOBIN: I'll give him a B, too.
BROWN: B's all around here.
TOOBIN: His chief accomplishment is that he is not Dick Cheney. And I think that is really the best thing anybody can say.
BORGER: No. I think he's quite substantive, give him an A. Verbal self-control, C, sorry. Give him a B overall. Well, that was an issue even now.
BROWN: Before we got to this, let me go back to the guys on the back.
Paul Begala, Joe Biden?
BEGALA: I give him an A minus. He sounded like John McCain or maybe John Wayne in Georgia, really rallying the sabers vis-a-vis the Russians. I don't know enough to know whether that's wise but it was certainly strong and people like strength.
He also is the architect of one of the biggest political accomplishments of this young administration, the transference of Arlen Specter from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party which helped give the Democrats 60 votes in the Senate. That was a Joe Biden enterprise.
BROWN: But so behind the scenes and so inside Washington.
BROWN: You wonder if he --
BEGALA: But he's doing the job the president wants him to do. Not getting much from the American people I'm sure, but I know for a fact, I've talked to Obama's people, the president is very happy with Joe Biden.
CASTELLANOS: That's one American who's happy with Joe Biden. I give him a gentleman's C slightly minus. Why? Because Joe Biden came to the administration --
BROWN: That's your highest grade so far, by the way.
CASTELLANOS: So far, it's great.
BRAZILE: Not Hillary.
CASTELLANOS: Hillary's done well. But why did he come to the administration? Two reasons, one, young president, inexperienced, risky. He was there to lend stability.
He has it. He's been a lose cannon. Two, two make sure this was the working man's administration, to get the administration's feet on the ground. Guess what? Obama has been perceived increasingly as a lead. He's failed on both accounts. He's basically irrelevant.
BRAZILE: I give Joe Biden an A minus. He is overseeing the president's task force on the middle class. He's meeting with people each and every day. Just last week he announced a huge program to help local law enforcement agencies across the country. I give him a strong A minus.
BENNETT: One brief moment close to Donna and Paul. I give him a B plus. He did a gaffe on Russia. He told the truth. He wasn't supposed to.
He got in trouble with the White House. Also, he's available as a fourth, the tennis, an awkward moment with the beer in the Rose Garden.
BROWN: Yes, the beer summit.
BENNETT: But let me just say something as the guy who's been, I think the professor the longest of this crowd, you've got three C's. These grades are bad. And it's not right wing. It's not Bush, and it's not Cheney. Compare these grades to 100 days ago, it's evaporating.
BROWN: Well, let me -- let me go back to the front and ask a more general question because it is -- it's not -- Paul made the point earlier that you've got a lot of A's and a lot of F's. But I think when you look at that, there is a lot of C, D, B, in between, that certainly wasn't there 100 days ago. You are seeing a more general decline. David?
GERGEN: Yes. Look, I think these overall numbers are not encouraging for the Obama administration. There is much more polarization here than we saw 100 days ago. Many more into the F category now than we saw 100 days ago. That makes it more difficult to govern.
You know, and the president actually, he's got a better economy than he has three months ago. I mean, the stock market is up. We've been talking about green shoots on CNN for a long time now.
BROWN: So why --
GERGEN: So his overall condition is better --
BROWN: Why isn't that breaking through then if that's the case?
TOOBIN: I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that his administration now is defined by negotiating with Congress. And Congress taints everything it touches. The health care debate --
BROWN: I'd be curious to see what their grades are.
TOOBIN: Well, the health care debate is messy, unpleasant, confusing. And I think Obama's association with that is temporarily bad. If he gets something passed, that could all change.
BORGER: You know, I also think there's a sense among the American public that he's trying to do too much. And he spread himself so thin. And so you can't -- when you're trying to do ten things at once, you can't get an A in all of them.
TOOBIN: Do you think people think that way?
BORGER: I tell you what --
TOOBIN: Doing too much at once?
BORGER: Jeff, I was at a focus group with independent voters last week, and all of them were saying he's trying to do too much. He needs to focus more on what's important to us.
CROWLEY: Also, can we just add the second 100 days is harder than the first 100 days.
CROWLEY: And the next 100 days is going to be harder than this one, and so your grades go down.
BROWN: Let me get Alex's point on that. Go ahead. Sorry.
CASTELLANOS: When voters like what you're doing, you're not trying to do too much. It's hard to do too much of a good thing.
The reason he's trying to do too much is because people don't like this huge expansion of government. They don't like the trillions of debt. They don't like government going into the car business. They don't like government taking control of their own health care.
So -- so, again, Jeffrey's right. People don't really care about doing too much if it's great. They just disagree with this guy's intent to transform this country so that the government has a much larger role.
BRAZILE: Part of it is the political polarization that one of the other panelists mentioned. The other part, of course, is that the president is trying to take on some of the issues that the Republicans, quite frankly, didn't deal with over the last eight years. Instead of focusing on the economy, they're focused on tax cuts for the wealthy.
Instead of focusing on rebuilding the infrastructure, they focused on, you know, issues that, you know, quite frankly have put us in this shape. So I think the president is dealing with some tough issues and that's why some of his poll numbers reflect that.
BROWN: But you made the point earlier, Paul, that he inherited so much of this, as Donna just said. But at what point do these issues become his problem? Have we passed that point yet?
BEGALA: Two hundred days ago today, they became his problem. It is his responsibility to solve these problems that's why we hired him for the job. It is also true he didn't create those problems. But his ability to -- to successfully trade on that is diminished, I think because he doesn't make the argument enough.
But what you're having here is a return to reality, a return to earth. This is a man who got 53 percent of the popular vote on Election Day. That's terrific. That's a big win.
He's what, 51 today in our poll. So he's right back where he was in the day he was elected. But the thing to watch really and Democrats especially, those independents. That's where the erosion is.
It's not analytically interesting whether I love him or frankly Alex doesn't. What's analytically interesting are the people who don't sit on this panel who are, you know, back home in Elkhart, Indiana, where apparently Mr. Obama is running for mayor as well as our president.
BEGALA: They're the ones who matter.
BROWN: OK. We have new results in. I'll come back to you, Bill Bennett. I owe you one. I want to go to Wolf right now.
BLITZER: All right, Campbell. Grading for the vice president is now complete. And he gets a C minus. Nearly 300,000 people weighed in on-line and over the phone -- 285,822 to be precise. C minus, and if you take a look at how he broke down, 12 percent give Joe Biden an A, 20 percent a B, 17 percent a C, 16 percent a D, 35 percent an F.
A hundred days ago, by the way, he got a solid B when we asked the same question. So right now, a deterioration from a B to a C minus on this survey, this unscientific survey that we are doing on- line.
A couple of notes today. The U.S. Senate, as many of you no doubt already know, confirmed Sonia Sotomayor. She will become the first Hispanic on the United States Supreme Court, only the third woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. She'll officially be sworn in on Saturday morning by the chief justice.
It was interesting when the vote went down on the floor of the Senate, take a look and listen to see who was in the seat chairing the Senate vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: On this vote, the yeas are 68 and the nays are 31. The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor of New York to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is confirmed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: That was the junior senator, the most junior senator, Al Franken, the new Democrat from Minnesota. And only moments ago, by the way, the U.S. Senate followed the House of Representatives' lead and passed the so-called cash for clunkers legislation, providing another $2 billion for you to turn in your clunker, get some cash and buy a new and more fuel-efficient vehicle. The president is going to sign that into law very, very soon. On all of these issues, we wanted to make sure that we heard also from the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And joining us now, the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
Robert, thanks very much for coming in. So far, the president's numbers, the Obama administration's grades not very good on health care, on the economy. What's going on?
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, look, I think it shows that we've got a ways to go to get our economy back on track, to get people the health care that they need and deserve.
Obviously, we believe we've made tremendous strides in pulling the economy back from the brink of another depression. But it's obvious that we've got a ways to go to create jobs, get people back to work and provide them the type of long-term job growth that the president expects.
BLITZER: What's the biggest challenge you have right now when it comes to the economy?
GIBBS: Well, look, I think it's probably job growth. We're going to get a jobs report tomorrow that's likely to show another several hundred thousands jobs lost. The recovery plan is working in cushioning the blow. I think you see that in the recently released economic output figures, but it's going to be many months before we can get people back to work.
We're certainly working on that every day. The president is focused on that each and every day, but that's our long term and short-term challenge.
BLITZER: Do you see it as far as health care is concerned possible that the president in the end will have to abandon the so- called public option, a government-run health insurance company to compete with the private companies? GIBBS: Well, look, Wolf, what we want most of all is for somebody that's looking for health insurance in a private market to have choice and competition. That drives down the health insurance costs that they and their family have to pay to be covered with health insurance. We want to make sure that we have that choice and competition in the system. I think that's what the president's goal is in getting comprehensive health care reform passed this year.
BLITZER: Can you ram it through without any Republican support?
GIBBS: Well, you know, the president had Republicans and Democrats here today to talk about the progress that's been made. Our hope is that we can get Democrats and Republicans alike to focus on cutting costs and insurance reforms that the American people deserve. We think we can certainly do this with like-minded Republicans.
BLITZER: Since a lot of people are giving grades, give us your grade for the Obama administration on the economy and on health care.
GIBBS: Look, Wolf, I would give us a B on each one of those things. Like I said in the economy, we've pulled this economy back from the edge of disaster. We've gotten the financial system stabilized. The housing market is beginning to make some improvements. But we have to create jobs for millions of Americans that have lost them over the past few years, and the president is working on that. On health care, I'd say the same thing.
Wolf, we're closer to comprehensive health care reform that protects people, cuts their cost. And most importantly of all, institutes some insurance reforms that doesn't let an insurance company discriminate against you if you suffer from a pre-existing condition. We're closer to making sure that that's possible than any other point in the last 40 years.
BLITZER: Robert, I'm going to ask you to stand by because we have a lot more to discuss in the next hour. Stand by.
BLITZER: You know, we were speaking with Robert Gibbs just a little while ago. I want to go to Ed Henry, our senior White House correspondent. He's over at the White House right now.
Ed, you watched this president very closely now for 200 days and you've seen changes.
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Most fascinating part is to see how he's emerging as a leader for better or for worse. You think back first of all to his -- where he slipped up in his initial comments about the Professor Gates arrest.
What did the president do? He came into this briefing room himself. You can probably see me here from this other angle. He came to this podium and didn't let his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, come out here and face all the questions. He faced the music himself and decided he would not let that be a distraction. He wanted to get past it and that story basically did get past. And he didn't let it become a long, drawn-out distraction. That is the kind of leadership that you wouldn't necessarily see from former President Bush. He wouldn't step up and face the music quite like that.
This president said, I'm going to take it on my shoulders and admit I made a mistake. Second, though, I would point out, I've done some travels recently with the president in Indiana, rural Virginia, along the Tennessee border. I talked to Democrats as well as Republicans who said, look, I'd be willing to pay more taxes to cover more people, give them health insurance but the president needs to show more leadership, more specifics. Get his hands dirty. Tell us, is he for taxing the Cadillac plans, the health plans? Or is he really going to stand behind that public option?
You just asked Robert Gibbs. Instead, we're getting a lot of vacillation and not being clear about that. And I can tell you people around the country I've talked to are saying they want him to show more leadership on that -- Wolf.
BLITZER: There is no doubt that the challenges he has are enormous. And the most immediate, forget about foreign policy for a second, domestically, he's getting health care reform. And this month of August is a month where both sides are going to be weighing in very heavily on those undecided lawmakers.
HENRY: Bottom line is that the conventional wisdom has been, look, if they don't get this done before the August recess, it was going to be dead. Everyone would go home. It would lose all of the momentum.
But the White House is trying to put out there now is they believe that taking a breath, letting some patients go through here, let everyone take a closer look at the plans and regroup in September, it might actually help them. We'll find out.
BLITZER: All right. Stand by. We're going to be coming back to you. Ed Henry, our senior White House correspondent.
Let me tell you what's going to come up in the next hour here. We're covering the CNN "National Report Card." We've got more questions you'll be able to weigh in on. And we're anxious to hear what you think.
And millions of you, hundreds and thousands at least are weighing in right now on-line and we're going to be opening up the phone lines as well as the text messaging. You'll be able to grade, for example, the performance of your two senators. You'll be able to grade the performance of the Congress, grade the performance of the Republican leadership in Congress. You're going to actually be able to grade us, the news media.
We have a question for you on that. And, finally, we're going to have the big question of the night, your opportunity to grade President Obama.
And this is how you can do it. There are three ways. You can go to CNN.com/reportcard. You can grade all of these issues online.
You can also do it by phone once we open up those phone lines. You can call 1-888-GRADE-09 or 1-888-472-3309.
You can also send us a text message. Go to 22360. Remember, standard rates apply. And for all these questions, once the phone lines open, the opportunity to text message us opens. You'll have seven minutes to grade the specific questions.
We're covering all of this for you. This is the 200th day of the Obama administration. We did the same thing on the 100th day. And, by the way, next November, election night, and there'll be some elections, some significant elections, gubernatorial elections, mayoral elections. We'll have a 300-day national report card as well.
All right. We're covering all of this. Soledad O'Brien has got the scientific polls for us. Campbell Brown is here with the best political team on television.
Once again, we're covering the CNN "National Report Card."
Abbi Tatton, I want to go back to you for a moment and show our viewers in the United States and around the world how they can get involved and give us these grades.
TATTON: Wolf, this is CNN.com/reportcard. We want people to go online as they have been doing since Sunday and vote right here. We're halfway through the ten questions right now and we want people to stay with us and keep voting.
Right now, we're on grading the performance of your state's two senators. You go up here. You pick a grade. You can put B plus, B minus. If we stick with a B there, submit it. And it's going to take you to the map of the country. So you can see, you've already inputted what state you're in. You can see what people around you are grading as well.
We're looking at this one right now. It's a very mixed bag as the grades are coming in around the country. But stay with us throughout all these questions. We've got grading how Congress is doing, how we, the media, have been doing in the second 100 days.
We'll be looking at these. The voting is still open. The -- the voting is still open -- the grading is still open right up until the point where we bring you the results right here -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Abbi, thanks very much.
And let's open up the phone lines, the text messaging lines right now. You can you go to CNN.com. Grade the performance of your two senators. You have seven minutes -- a little bit less than seven minutes right now to grade the performance of your two senators.
I want to go to CNN's Jessica Yellin.
She's out in Steubenville, Ohio right now at a diner with a group of folks. They have some interesting grading that's going on as well -- Jessica.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: They do, Wolf. For them, the overriding issue is the economy -- 13.5 percent unemployment in this community, three steel mills closed or closing. When they grade their two senators, it's all about how well are they delivering on turning around this recession.
Dave, how would you grade your state's two senators here in Ohio?
DAVE: Definitely very low, at an F, because they -- they consent to spending over a trillion dollars overseas -- a trillion dollars overseas that we don't have that could be spent here.
YELLIN: OK. And Daysha Wade (ph), how would you grade your state's two senators?
DAYSHA WADE: I would grade them minus C. I definitely respect their attempts. However, I'm not happy with their results.
YELLIN: All right, Wolf, a lot of different opinion here. But the one consensus point is more needs to be done for this community -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Jessica is in Steubenville, Ohio.
We'll get back to you.
We're anxious to hear what the folks in Ohio think -- Campbell Brown, I'm anxious to hear what our folks think, as well.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I may not ask you to focus specifically on your senators, but we'll -- we'll focus on the Senate because the Senate has been showcased over the last 100 days -- Bill Bennett, with the Sonia Sotomayor hearings and her confirmation, what did you think, especially in terms of how Republicans handled this versus the way Democrats have under a Republican administration?
BILL BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Can I just focus on my two for a second?
BROWN: Yes, yes, yes.
BENNETT: Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, right in line with them -- not at all.
Ben Cardin has a town hall meeting by invitation only.
You address your grievances by invitation only. Yes, he doesn't want to -- he doesn't want to take any (INAUDIBLE)...
BROWN: Oh, come on now, George Bush did a lot of town halls by invitation only himself.
BENNETT: Well, you shouldn't. You should never do a town hall by invitation only. It's not -- it's not a town hall. You can call it something else, no matter who it is.
I think the Senate did pretty well in its conduct of affairs, better than, I think, the -- the White House is doing. At least it has slowed down. It is acting the way the founders thought. You know, the -- it's the saucer that cools that hot liquid. It's slowed things down on this health care disaster -- this train. And we shall see if they continue to. But I think they've done pretty well.
I thought the Sotomayor confirmation hearings were very interesting because they were intense. They were strong. Republicans did not hold back. They were strong disagreements. But I think it was very respectful. And I thought that was -- that was -- that was a good moment for the Senate.
By the way, I think, she will be by -- by the likes of one conservative, a more interesting vote on the court than David Souter. I think she'll be unpredictable.
BROWN: Nine only...
BENNETT: I'm betting on...
BENNETT: I'm betting on the Bronx.
BROWN: Only nine Republicans voting for her.
Did that number surprise you, Donna?
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No, not given the polarization out there, especially in light of some of the comments that many of the conservatives, not Bill, but others, you know, discussed during her process.
First of all, I want to applaud Lindsey Graham for leading the charge with -- to get those other Republicans on board. I thought his statement in the final deliberations were very strong. And I -- I called him and I thought he made a great statement.
But I don't have any United States senators, because I live in the District of Columbia. So this is my plea, to urge the United States Senate to remove the gun amendment from our bill so that we can have D.C. voting rights.
BROWN: All right. I was hoping you would actually get that point in.
BROWN: Alex? ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I'd give the Senate, overall, a -- a C minus, Campbell, because compared to the House and compared to the executive branch, at least they have hit the brakes on the -- on this risky health care experiment that President Obama is doing. And that has tempered the situation.
We are seeing the Democratic Party move back to the center a little bit in the Senate now. At the end of the day, he's got 60 votes and my guess is he's going to get something that America does not want through. But nevertheless, now they -- they get a better grade than anybody else in town.
BROWN: Quickly, Paul.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I actually defend both branches. I want to sort of be heretical here and I'll just (INAUDIBLE)...
BROWN: We're going to talk about both Congress when we come back, so...
BEGALA: OK. Well, we can talk about it then, then. But if you're talking about my senators, being a Texan -- I still consider myself a Texan, is there like a Z or a Q minus or something?
John Cornyn, the senator from Texas, I looked on his Web site today is begging for $3 billion more spending for Texas farmers. He's attacking Barack Obama's administration for not spending enough money at the same time, he's attacking Barack Obama for spending too much. That's intellectually dishonest.
BROWN: All right.
BEGALA: That's Jon Cornyn.
BROWN: They're your senators. I mean, come on.
All right, we're going to take a quick break. We are grading the media, more on Congress, and, of course, President Obama, as well. When we come back. All the information for how you can vote on your screen. You can text, you can call, you can go online.
We'll be back right after a quick break.
BLITZER: We've asked you to grade the performance of your two senators and the tabulation is now complete. The basic result is a C minus nationally for grading your two senators.
Take a look at this. You can see how that came forward. I want to put up some representative states to see specifically how you did -- how you voted in some of these states. And you see most of these states, they're are solid Cs or C minuses. Some places there are Ds. In Nevada, you see a D up there. You also see a D in Colorado for the two senators. There's A but there is a B over here, by the way, for North Dakota, for Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan, the two Democratic senators from North Dakota. Apparently, the folks there like them. They got a solid B.
But you can go online, by the way, and you can get all of the results, including your two senators in your states.
But I want to go to Tom Foreman right now for a closer look nationally at how this matched up -- Tom?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right, Wolf.
When you look at the whole country right now with the senators out here, it does not look good. We've got Cs all over the place. Here we've got some Ds in Pennsylvania, Illinois, over in Colorado and Nevada.
And this is the one winner, right up here in North Dakota. They're both Democrats up there, Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad. They haven't always agreed with Barack Obama, either. But their people up there like them. They're getting a good solid B. That's a lot better than the rest of the country, especially when you look back a hundred days. After the first 100 days, there were a lot more states liking their senators back then. Not so much now -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. Things change over 100 days.
The next question we want to put up -- you have seven minutes -- under seven minutes right now to go ahead and text message us or call us or go online. Grade the performance of the Congress. Tell us what you think about the United States Congress, how are they doing. And we'll let you know in less than seven minutes what the outcome is -- Campbell Brown, I suspect, on this one, maybe not so good.
BROWN: Wolf, Congress always loses. Everyone always seems to have a low opinion of Congress. We'll see if that changes here -- but, Jeff Toobin, what do you think?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I'd just like to point something out about the vote for Sonia Sotomayor today. The vote was 68-31, which means it adds up to 99 with one senator missing. And it really was incomplete because Ted Kennedy wasn't there.
No senator in the history of the Senate has had more influence over the Supreme Court, whether it's defeating Robert Bork in 1987 or having his aide, Stephen Breyer, appointed in 1994. He was very much missed and I hope he gets better soon.
BROWN: All right. A point well taken -- David Gergen.
GERGEN: Yes, I want to say one more thing about that Senate, because it was really interesting. If -- there are about five states that had Ds for their senators.
GERGEN: Several of those are where incumbents are running next year and must take alarm at those numbers -- Dodd in Connecticut...
GERGEN: ...Specter in Pennsylvania, Harry Reid out in Nevada. Those were interesting numbers, I thought, in terms of...
BROWN: I mean, give us your grade for Congress overall.
GERGEN: Listen, I -- the House, to me, has -- is way too far over to the left on a lot of things. But I think you do have to give them credit for getting a lot of work done. Historically, this is...
BROWN: Hold the grade up.
GERGEN: I would call it a B.
BROWN: All right, Candy, what do -- not grading, but what are your thoughts on this?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What's been interesting is, I think part of why Congress and the Senate, at this point, is beginning to get low grades is they're actually where the action is on health care. I think in some ways, Barack Obama has shielded himself from some of this criticism precisely because he doesn't have a plan.
GERGEN: But I think it's dragging him down.
CROWLEY: Oh, I think they are...
GERGEN: I think it's dragging him down.
CROWLEY: -- dragging him down.
CROWLEY: I do. But I think that they are further down than he is...
CROWLEY: -- simply because that's where the nitty-gritty and it's -- it's that whole sausage making thing.
BORGER: I'd give the Congress a C plus, which is, I'm sure, higher than a lot of our -- our voters out there. But I think House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has subcontracted a lot of her work to the liberal wing of the party. And the right-wing of the Republican Party has also stood in the way of anything getting -- getting done in terms of health care.
But I do give them credit for passing things like health insurance for children, for example...
BORGER: ...or the pay equity act for women.
GERGEN: Yes, exactly.
BROWN: All right. Let me go back here -- Paul Begala, Congress?
What's your grade?
BEGALA: (INAUDIBLE) at that. I give them an A. You know, we're not supposed to like Congress in this country and don't -- we never have. You know, Mark Twain said there's no distinctly native criminal class in America except the Congress of the United States. So this is a great American tradition.
Let me play against that, though. Not only those couple of things that Gloria mentioned; for the first time now, the FDA can regulate tobacco. This is a fight that's been going on for 50 years. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barack Obama -- they got it done.
Mortgage fraud; a national service program named after Teddy Kennedy, a vast expansion of that; hate crimes...
BEGALA: ...as Gloria said, equal pay for women; important credit card reforms. Everybody in our audience who has a credit card is going to be helped by this Congress.
BROWN: OK. Well, there's the laundry list...
BEGALA: So (INAUDIBLE). Good job.
BROWN: And, yet, Alex, I can see the F that you yet to hold up.
BEGALA: Give them an A. Give them an A, Alex.
BROWN: Come on.
CASTELLANOS: The worst job in town. They have -- they've a president who's already taking the nation...
BROWN: Hold that up a little higher.
CASTELLANOS: -- way, way farther to the left than the nation wants to go. It is being pulled even farther to the left by the Democratic Congress -- bankrupted the country, a disaster. There's a reason people don't trust their Congressmen.
BRAZILE: First of all...
BRAZILE: I've got to correct Alex.
Bankrupting the country?
BEGALA: There you go.
BRAZILE: That was the Republican Congress, Alex...
BROWN: OK. No, it wasn't a grade.
BRAZILE: ...not the Democratic...
BROWN: There we go.
BRAZILE: ...Congress. But, look...
BROWN: Where's the grade hiding behind...
BRAZILE: I'm giving them an A plus for everything...
BRAZILE: ...that Paul issued, plus in passing 12 of the 13 appropriation bills on time. They -- Norm Orenstein, who is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, gives them strong grades for being the most active Congress, dealing with tough issues -- something that the Republicans should learn how to do.
CASTELLANOS: The Democrats...
BENNETT: Let me remind you, Congress is the Senate...
BENNETT: ...and the House of Representatives.
BROWN: All right. There you go. Higher than I thought.
BENNETT: (INAUDIBLE) Yes. Because they've slowed some things down. I hope Ted Kennedy gets better, but I have to disassociate from the remarks about Bob Bork. That was an assassination -- a character assassination of a great man and I do salute that at all.
BROWN: All right, let me check in with Jessica Yellin, who is down in Steubenville -- she's been talking to folks at a diner there -- and see what they think about this issue -- Jessica, what are you hearing?
YELLIN: Hi, Campbell. We're here in the Ohio Valley with two folks, Bill and Joy.
And, Bill, how would you rate Congress -- your grade?
BILL: I'd give them a D. And that's because they can't take politics out of an important subject that's -- that's very meaningful for the people of the United States.
YELLIN: So you think politics is getting in the way of business.
And, Joy, what's your grade?
JOY: An F.
JOY: Because I think they're taking too much power into their own hands, especially with health care.
YELLIN: Health care also a big issue we're hearing a lot about here, Campbell. And very low grades, I'm afraid, for Congress -- back to you.
BROWN: All right, Jessica.
Well, we'll see what everybody at home thinks.
Again, we are grading Congress. You've got a little less than two minutes to vote.
We're going to take a quick break. All the info at the bottom of your screen on how to text us, call us or go online and cast your vote while you still can.
We'll see you in a minute.
BLITZER: All right. The grade is now in for how you grade the performance of the U.S. Congress, led, of course, the House and the Senate, by Democrats.
And look at this, a solid D, even though 52 percent actually give the Congress an F. If you see the breakdown. Only C cent give the Congress an A, 10 percent a B, 16 percent a C, 19 percent a D, 52 percent a solid F for the Congress on this, the 200th day of the Obama administration.
Let's go to Soledad O'Brien -- Soledad, I want to remind our viewers, these -- even though hundreds of thousands of people are weighing in and grading the performance of Congress, these are unscientific numbers. But you've got the scientific numbers in our latest polling. SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I've got the science here. In our scientific numbers the phone polling is a little bit lower, C minus overall is what Congress gets.
But you know what I think is interesting here -- look at the range -- everybody gives Congress a C minus. And, really, it's a rare time that the categories are pretty much in agreement -- white men, C minus; white women, C minus; 30 to 49 year olds, C minus; 50 to 64, C minus; making over 50K, C minus; no college, C minus; attended college, C minus; postgraduate work, C minus -- Midwest, Northeast, South, C minus, C minus, C minus.
Everybody thinks, eh, for their Congresspeople.
Now, where Congress -- where you do see a little bit of a difference, take a look. It's the work that Congress has done, which is on the economy. So if your opinion of the economy is that the economy is good, you can see B minus for your Congressperson.
However, if you think the economy is poor -- an overwhelming number think poor -- then C minus. This is why that C minus kind of rules the day for how people feel about how Congress is doing -- Wolf.
BROWN: All right, Soledad.
Thanks very much.
I want to go over to Tom Foreman.
He's over at the magic wall right now -- Tom, nationally, show us how this breaks down because nationally, they get a D for the performance of Congress.
But I wonder if there are differences in various regions?
FOREMAN: You know, it is exactly what Soledad said about the demographics. No, there's not a difference. Look at this. I want you to look at this whole country here. Everything, no matter what states -- Pennsylvania, D; Nebraska, D; Idaho, D; California, D; Washington, D.
You can go to states where they ought to be doing better, D. There's a lot of problems out there.
And I want you to notice this, Wolf. We're going to circle everything here because we're circling the parts we want you to pay attention to. One hundred days ago, look at this, almost everything was at the C to C plus level. It averaged out to C plus 100 days ago. That's how much they've fallen, with a couple exceptions. Georgia down there was doing a little bit better at the time. They had a B minus going; the District of Columbia; and then right up here, Vermont. That was about it.
So a real change there, Wolf. And it's across the board, just like Soledad said, on the demographics. BLITZER: I want to start the clock ticking, Tom, right now on the next question that we have before the viewers. And that question is grade the performance of the Republican leadership in Congress. We know what you think of the Democratic-led Congress. We -- they came up with a D.
I wonder how you will grade the Republican leadership in Congress. You have less than seven minutes right now to go ahead and weigh in online. Text message or go to CNN.com -- Campbell, I want to -- I don't know if folks are going to like the way the Republicans are behaving or not, but it's interesting to -- to get ready to see it here.
BROWN: And let's check in with our Republicans and -- and see what they think. Bill Bennett, as we wait on these numbers to come in, give me your grade and talk to me a little bit about whether, on issues like health care and the economy, where we haven't really seen Republicans present, necessarily, an alternative plan, the Republicans -- we know what they stand for, they've outlined what the vision is for the party.
BENNETT: I think that's half right. We have seen a Republican plan. Paul Ryan and Tom Coburn's plan is a real plan. But you haven't seen much of it because not much attention has been paid to it. But it's a real plan.
I would give them an incomplete and not to dodge it, but, really, a lot turns on what happens next November. Look to those two states, New Jersey and Virginia, where you have these two races where Republicans are ahead. That looks interesting.
But I think the real question will be determined later -- later on.
The most interesting thing that's going on right now -- and I -- and I am a pretty loyal Republican or a conservative Republican. And that is the debate isn't really, at this point, what we're seeing all night here is between Republicans and Democrats. It's between the Democrats, the president and the American people. And you're seeing this falling away of Independents. You're seeing a schism in the Democratic Senate. And that's -- that's what's going on that's most interesting
Whether Republicans stand to gain from this remains to be seen. It looks like their stock is up a little bit. But the most interesting thing is the debate going on across the country about these policies with the American people.
BROWN: We'll see if you're right in just a few minutes.
BROWN: Alex, what's your grade?
CASTELLANOS: I'd love to give my party an A. I can't.
CASTELLANOS: I've got to give them a B minus and I'm...
CASTELLANOS: -- and I may be stretching. Because, right now, we're still lost. And just because Obama is doing poorly doesn't mean we're doing well.
We -- I think we're trapped in this cycle right now, getting the chief points, here's why our president's wrong. We think our principles are only good for saying no. We haven't taken that next step, saying, by the way, our principles are actually the best way to organize this country, to make it prosper and grow and take it to a new, better place.
That's what we need to hear when -- when we come back from break in August after Labor Day. Republicans need to step up and say hey, we don't need this huge government experiment on health care, how about some step by step fixes?
Here's what we do and get going.
BROWN: Quickly, grades from Paul and Donna -- Paul?
BEGALA: You know, I -- D, could you lump them all together?
Frankly, there's some are really gifted and some are really not. I do think they have a problem where they're -- when they're good, they're good on tactics. They seem to not have a strategy.
I give them a lot of credit, particularly Senate Republicans, for not going off the rails on Sotomayor. They didn't have to vote for her, I understand. They didn't let the conversation stray away from principles and things like that. They didn't allow it to become racial or anything. I thought, in the meantime, they handled themselves well on that and that's good.
But they do have to come to the country with an agenda or they will never get power back.
BROWN: All right -- Donna.
BRAZILE: No is -- no isn't a solution. They have failed to put forward alternatives. Bill mentioned Mr. Ryan, Mr. Shaddock (ph), those...
BROWN: Hold your (INAUDIBLE) up a little higher...
BRAZILE: Oh. I'm trying not to block my face.
BROWN: ...just so we can -- we've got to be able to see it for the folks back home.
BRAZILE: You know. But they have failed to come up with alternatives to help the president and also help the Democrats in Congress. They have failed to come up to a plan to even address the deficit they have created. So I would give them a D.
BRAZILE: And I'm being very generous.
BENNETT: Hey, that's not in my book. That chart is not in my book.
BROWN: All right, before we check in with everybody else, I want to go to Wolf, because he's got Tom Foreman over there with some interesting information about bipartisanship -- or attempts at bipartisanship, perhaps -- Wolf.
BLITZER: They always talk about it, Campbell, as you know. It doesn't happen all that often. It certainly hasn't happened, Tom, during these first 200 days. And you've got the calendar there.
Every single day, what happens?
FOREMAN: Every day -- and I think my graphics are a little bit better than Donna's, Wolf.
FOREMAN: this shows everything that happened in this period of time, all of the efforts that went on. Each of these represents some movement that the president was involved in.
And when you get up here almost to the end, look at this, even though the Republicans know that they're taking a beating, too, many of them are speaking out like John McCain did and saying, look, we're taking a beating, but, in part, it's because they don't believe this president has included them the way he promised.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On this point, has he failed the test he laid out at that dinner, to be truly bipartisan?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I'm afraid they have. And, look, they've got the votes. We understand that. They had the votes in the stimulus package, in the budget, in the omnibus, in the SCHIP, all of this legislation. And they have picked off, sometimes, two or three Republicans.
But that's not changing the climate in Washington. What that is, is exercising a significant majority. And so I -- I respect their successes, but please don't call it changing the climate in Washington. Republicans did it when they were in the majority. Democrats have done it when they're in the majority.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: So, Wolf, that's exactly what we've been hearing from Republicans from the beginning -- they're talking a game of bipartisanship, not so much actually doing it.
BLITZER: We always hear, on both sides, a lot of talk...
FOREMAN: Of course we...
BLITZER: ...about bipartisan.
FOREMAN: Of course we do.
BLITZER: That doesn't...
FOREMAN: It's a national (INAUDIBLE).
BLITZER: ...happen necessarily all the time.
Tom, stand by.
You've got less than two minutes now left to go ahead. Grade the performance of the Republican leadership in Congress. We'll have the results for you. Stand by.
We're also going to be grading the performance of the news media. And we'll also grade the performance of President Obama. And then we'll hear from the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs.
Stay with us.
Our coverage of the National Report Card will continue.
BLITZER: We have a very important programming announcement; right at the top of the hour, on "AC 360," the first, the exclusive interview with Lisa Ling, the sister of Laura Ling. She and Euna Lee were released a couple days ago from North Korea. The former President Bill Clinton went over there, brought Laura Ling and Euna Lee out of there.
On "AC 360" at the top of the hour, there will be an exclusive interview with Laura Ling's sister, Lisa Ling. You will want to see that. That's coming up right at the top of the hour. And when I mean right at the top of the hour, I mean exactly at the top of the hour. You'll see that. Stand by for that.
We have the results now of what you think, how the Republican leadership in Congress is doing. They get a solid D. Not necessarily good news for them.
If you take a look at how it breaks down, only eight percent give the Republican leadership in Congress an A, 15 percent a B, 21 percent a C, 16 percent a D; 40 percent give the Republican leadership in Congress a solid F.
The next question coming up, and wee we'll start the clock right now -- you have seven minutes to go ahead and grade me and all of us in the news media. How are we doing as far as the media is concerned? Grade the performance of the news media. You have less than seven minutes to go ahead and give us a grade for all of the news media right now.
I'm anxious to hear what you think on that. In fact, before we go to Campbell, we've asked folks to weigh in on how they think the news media is doing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would give the media a D minus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would give the media a C minus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A C. A grade of C, too. I think right now they're in this love affair stage with Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I give the media a B. The media is there for the good and the bad. And they're doing what they're paid to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're the media, and I'll be honest. I would will say D minus. I mean, the media just takes everything that's a small nugget and makes it into the nightly news story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Some of the thoughts of viewers out there. You got six minutes or so to grade the performance of the news media. Campbell, Republicans aren't going to be happy with their solid D. The Democratic leadership in Congress won't be happy with their solid D. Let's see what the folks think about all of us in the news media.
BROWN: I'm just hoping we beat Congress. But I don't know. Candy Crowley, who has not been voting because she covers the administration and Congress, has decided she would like to weigh in on this one. What's your vote for the media? Your grade rather.
CROWLEY: Let's just do an A and call it a day. OK. I think -- let me just say that I do think that part of the problem is that people outside this business and outside Washington look at Washington as one big entity. And they think we all, you know, sit down and sort of collude to put out this picture.
So I think that people have been unable to see us as anything other than working for people inside the beltway instead of for them. And I think that's what you end up hearing. So clearly we're not doing a good enough job. And I'm like -- I'm in the C range.
GERGEN: I think, as Jefferson said, the main purpose of the press is to ensure we have an informed citizenry. I don't think we're doing that with the challenges that we're facing right now. I give us a C.
TOOBIN: But I think we're missing the biggest point of all, which is that newspapers are dying in this country. We are approaching the day when a big city doesn't have a newspaper at all. We all know the causes: the Internet, Craigslist. But we are all going to lose if newspapers cease to exist.
BORGER: I'm going to go with a C. We're covering some of the most complex issues of our time, and we're not explaining it well enough. We need more time to do it.
BROWN: Let me go to our partisans and see what you guys think. You can give them grades and us, too. Paul Begala?
BEGALA: Let me give myself a grade. I tend to sometimes be too mean-spirited. I never liked Alex and I think that's part of it -- no.
CASTELLANOS: What about the children?
BEGALA: Exactly true. We get along a better off the air and go to have dinner sometimes, and maybe I don't let that show enough on the air. I will say, though, 139 journalists have been killed covering the war in Iraq. They're not blowhards like me just honking off on TV. There is people who have given their lives to inform the American people.
By the way, those two women who just got off that plane, Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee, they were journalists going to one of the most dangerous places in the world to bring us the truth. There are a lot of great journalists out there. When we say media, it lumps a lot of knuckle heads with a lot of hard-working reporters.
BROWN: That's a fair point, media; what does it mean anymore, especially given the proliferation of sources. Alex?
CASTELLANOS: I think that's the point. Republicans are not supposed to like the news media. I give them an A. I think they're doing great.
BROWN: Go, Alex!
CASTELLANOS: Just for the reason that I can disagree with Jeffrey Toobin and Gregory Gergen. That is old media is dying out. Guess what? That's a terrific thing. It used to be -- the information we had, a few big brush strokes on a canvas, old media. A few broadcast stations and newspapers.
Now it's pointalism. Now we're getting our information from so many new places, the blogs, Internet, cable. So many more choices; it empowers people to make their own decisions. It makes us better citizens, not worse. It's change. It's progress. It's a good thing. A for the new media.
BRAZILE: I'm giving overall, present company excluded, of course, a C. And the reason I think is that the media focus so much on the horse race and not the substance, often the sound bite. And we rarely get into a good conversation about the issues. We spend how many days, two, three days discussing the president killing a fly or mosquito?
Overall, I give the media a C.
BENNETT: I give them a B. I think it all changed when I came to CNN. No, I'm kidding. I'm kidding. Really, this is interesting. Alex A and me a B. First of all, people used to think media was short for liberal media. But media's more complicated than that. There's a big, conservative media now. It's very diverse. There's all sorts of media out there.
I can't tell you how many times I read from the "New York Times," still a newspaper, on my morning radio show. I think a lot of the media was in kind of an Obama trance. But I think they got out of it. Look how unhappy Gibbs looks these days. That means he's getting pounded by these people. I cheered Helen Thomas the other day for the first time in my life, saying you guys are setting up too much in this press room. I think people are at it pretty well, on all sides.
BROWN: Let me say, despite the good grades we just got from Bill Bennett and Alex Castellanos -- I want to go to Tom Foreman right now. Tom, I think you have a quote that sums up what a lot of people do think about us and it's not As and Bs.
FOREMAN: Campbell, you're absolutely right. We look up here at the 188, July 26th, Sarah Palin leaving office in Alaska. And she said what too many people in this country are going to agree with.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN, FMR. GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: First, some straight talk for some, just some in the media. Democracy depends on you. And that is why -- that is why our troops are willing to die for you. So how about in honor of the American soldier, you quit making things up.
First, some --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: That's it, Campbell. Simple thing is, she says something like that, and even people who disagree with her, agree with that. That's the problem for the media right now.
BROWN: Tom Foreman. We're going to take a quick break. We're going to talk about this, plus the big grade of the night, the grade for President Obama. You've got 24 seconds left to vote on media, and then we're going to move on to the big question of the evening. All the information that you need on the bottom of your screen, how to text, how to call, how to logon. We'll see you in a minute.
BLITZER: All right. You graded the news media on this the 200th day of the Barack Obama administration. And the news media lucky to get a solid D, as far as your grade is concerned; 49 percent of you thought in your voting that the news media actually deserved an F. Only four percent gave the news media an A; 11 percent a B; 18 percent a C; 19 percent a D. But most of you, a plurality, 49 percent, almost a majority, gave the news media an F.
That solid D compares to 100 days ago, when we asked the same question and you gave the news media, the reporting of Congress and the administration, a B minus. So it's really deteriorated since then.
I want to start the clock now for the final question, the big question of the night, grade the president of the United States, Barack Obama. The clock is ticking. You can go online. You can text message. You can phone in. Grade President Barack Obama. You have 6:40 or so to go ahead and let us know what grade he deserves on this 200th day of his administration.
Campbell Brown, this is the question that a lot of us have been anxious to get the result on. We graded him earlier on how he's handling foreign affairs or the economy or health care. But this is the overall performance of Barack Obama.
BROWN: That's right, Wolf. And let's get right to it. You guys have been thinking about this a lot today. Jeff Toobin, what grade are you giving the president?
TOOBIN: After the media report, I think Wolf is going to start calling us the least bad political team on television. But I think the president gets a B. You know, he's got a lot on his plate. He's gotten some things done, but there's so much more still to do, particularly health care. We can't really know how he's going to stand six months from now.
BROWN: A crucial month or so ahead for sure. David Gergen, hold your grade up so we can see it.
GERGEN: B plus. Listen, by my lights, President Obama has gotten off to the fastest start of any president, with the most accomplishments of any president since Ronald Reagan in 1980. I think that by historic standards, he's off to a fast start. By comparison to the expectations he set, I think he's falling below expectations because he set the bar way too high.
And I think people -- we can see tonight, the honeymoon is over. The glow is wearing off. You can see it in all of these grades. I think the grades have been way too low tonight, but you can see things have changed. The country is much more split now.
BROWN: Do you agree with that, Candy?
CROWLEY: I was going to say, much more important now than how he's done up to here is what has he got left that is going to get him, power him through what are some really difficult issues? What he has left is a 56 percent approval rating by the American people, despite the fact that the economy sucks, that health care is in a mess.
So you can take that to the bank when you're a politician. So he has got to cache there that he can move forward. Who knows what else will hit him, but this remains a popular president, and that is what drives Washington, is who are the American people behind? And the American people are behind this president at this point.
BORGER: I would give him a B. And I think no matter what you think about what he's done on health care, you have to grade this president on a curve, because he was dealt such a bad hand. You know, there are two things that he had. He had the agenda he campaigned on and the agenda that was handed to him when he became president because of the economic situation.
He made it harder for himself because he decided he could keep his original agenda, and take care of the economic problems. And as a result, I believe he is spread a little too thin and trying to do too much. But I still give him a B.
BORGER: Paul Begala?
BEGALA: Yes, you shouldn't be surprised as a Democrat that I give this president an A minus. I sort of debate between that and an A. It is -- in the best of times, it's the hardest job in the whole wide world. And he inherited that job under the worst of times. And I think he has -- one of the reasons his numbers are going down is he's actually doing the job. He's taking on some very tough things.
Except for race, health care is the hardest domestic issue of the last 75 years. Franklin Roosevelt tried and failed. Bill Clinton tried and failed. Richard Nixon tried and failed. Lots of very able people tried and failed.
George W. Bush looked at it and said I'm not going to go near that. He took a walk. And millions of people lost their health insurance because of it. He's engaging the hardest issues in the world. I give him a ton of credit. He's doing a great job.
BROWN: Give me your grade, Alex, but also address what Paul just said. If he wins with health care, does his numbers go way back up, or if he loses on health care, is it a bigger blow to him?
CASTELLANOS: I think right now there is no win on health care. He's trapped himself into a place where he can't possibly meet his goals, which is, on the one hand, we're going to reduce cost, but on the other hand, we're going to put more government into health care and grow the whole system. So I don't see how he can do that.
Overall, Barack Obama the man, give him -- let's take him off the table, just the president, the policies, a D. At growing the deficit, he gets a D. Being bipartisan, he has made it impossible. He gets a D. At spending, D.
He's polarizing the country. He's establishing himself as an elite. I think politically he is going to pay a huge price for too much too soon too fast.
BRAZILE: Well, I give the president an A minus, in large part because I believe the stimulus plan is starting to make a difference in the lives of regular people. He came in with the deficit already dragging him down and most of his policies.
But I give the president an A for courage, for taking on some of the hardest challenges facing this country. And I give him an A for engaging the Republicans, even if they will not come up with an alternative plan to anything he's proposing. And I give him an A for showing up every day for work and trying to do his very best on behalf of the American people.
CASTELLANOS: Can I just comment on the general drift, because people watching might get depressed at all of these low grades. But remember, if you asked questions about grade your church, grade your neighbors, grade the American soldier, you would see an awful lot of As and Bs. There's nothing wrong with the American people.
BRAZILE: And grade the teachers.
BENNETT: Yes, for the most part, yes. Grade the schools --
BROWN: All right. Give us your grade.
BENNETT: I always want to like the president. I told my audience to wait and see, give him a chance. I did not wish for this president to fail. I also predicted he would be in big fights with a lot of the left leaning leaders of the Democratic committees. He hasn't been. He's been a disappointment.
Yes, he's inherited big problems. He's making them worse daily. A D -- sorry, a D. I don't feel good about it. I take no joy in it.
CASTELLANOS: By the way, it's been almost -- we're starting our ten month since Barack Obama is elected. At some point, he actually is the president. This is his. He is choosing to --
BROWN: That point may be now. Let's listen to what people we have talked to have to say about President Barack Obama and the grade they're giving him. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would give President Obama a B Plus, only because he's only been there for six months.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would give the president himself in terms of some of the things he's done so far a D.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Surprisingly high. Like a B plus. It's still to be seen. You have to understand, I'm pretty harsh on presidents.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My grade for President Obama would be a B. I think he's being too aggressive. I think he needs to focus on a couple key things that would really improve the economy. And then I think everything else would fall into place.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: Mixed Ds from everybody. Wolf, I know we have a few seconds left. We'll see what grade we're getting for him tonight from folks out there.
BLITZER: Counting down, less than ten seconds, Campbell. We'll see what all of you grade the president, at least those of you who weighed in online or over the phone or text messaged us.
Right now, there it is, C minus, the president of the United States. Grade the president of the United States over the course of these first 200 days, C minus. This is how it breaks down. And there were, by the way, 331,682 votes: 29 percent give the president an A, 12 percent a B, seven percent a C, 13 percent a D. But the plurality, 39 percent, give the president of the United States an F for these first 200 days.
We asked the same question after 100 days. And it came in with a solid B. So from a C Minus now, it was a B after 100 days, 100 days ago. These are not scientific surveys, I want to remind you.
But Soledad O'Brien is taking a look at a scientific survey that we commissioned at CNN and the Opinion Research Corporation poll. What do the scientific surveys show us.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, they have a C plus for the overall grade of the president. You might remember that in the scientific survey, 100 days ago, they were giving him a B minus. He's dropped a little there.
If you take a look at the pie charts, it's pretty clear why. It's this, this whole big giant blue swath. This is what's been dragging him into that B area, and it's really been growing. Approval rating is an interesting thing to look at. We'll pop that up.
April, about 100 days ago, 66 percent approval rating. Dropped, dropped and now at 56 percent approval rating. Of course, that number in a vacuum doesn't do you a lot of good. Let's compare it to past presidents.
George W. Bush was looking at a number about the same back then in his 200th day in office. The number 56 percent significantly higher than what President Clinton had in his second hundred days in office.
So President Obama, this number is not great. It's a drop but it's kind of around where George Bush was with in his second 100 days.
Interesting to look at race. This explains some of the math here. You talk about race. Whites give him a C, that C is down from a C plus, brought down by while males, who are abandoning some of their support.
African-Americans also dropped their support. They are a B plus now, down from an A minus. It's clear the black support of the first black president is really buoying him. Wolf? BLITZER: Interesting. The scientific survey grading not that much different than what the voters did online or over the phone. Just a little while ago, we sought out White House reaction.
BLITZER: And joining us once again, Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary. He's joining us from the White House. Robert, the president didn't get very great grades. You wouldn't be happy if your kids came home with a grade of about a C right now. How do you overcome this on day 200?
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, look, Wolf, I think what is most important to the American people is not where the president is on the first 100 or the second 100 days. They're going to take the long view of this. They understand, particularly in the economy, we inherited an awful mess. It took a long time to get to this point. It's going to take some time to dig out of it.
I think they are waiting to see what the final grade is, understanding that we've got a lot of work to do. But they didn't expect that we were going to turn everything around, wave our magic wand and fix every problem in 200 days.
BLITZER: If you had to make a prediction, when the president will sign into law health care reform, when will that be?
GIBBS: He'll sign health care reform into law this fall.
BLITZER: When you say the fall, can you give me a month?
GIBBS: My hunch is either October or November. We'll still be playing college football when he signs health care reform. How about that?
BLITZER: Let me bring up another issue for you. In terms of the news media -- and those of us in the news media take no comfort in this -- we didn't do very well either. In fact, we seemed to have done worse than the president. Look at this, a D for the news media. How do you explain that?
GIBBS: Wolf, I will probably get into trouble if try to explain why the news media graded out worse than just about everybody else in the poll. I will thank you in advance for having the tremendous foresight not to include the press secretary in your rankings. I'm not sure my mother could vote quite as many times as she would need to bump my grade up to something that was passing.
BLITZER: You deal with the media every single day, hours and hours of every single day. What grade would you give the White House press corps?
GIBBS: Well, look, I would probably -- you know what, Wolf, I'd give them an incomplete grade. I think we still have to see how the media grades out. I think the American people would be better served if instead of explaining the sausage-making process, and the ups and downs of who's winning and who's losing in Washington -- I think the American people would benefit far more greatly from an understanding and an explanation of what's in each of these policies and how it's going to impact them.
I think that's what the American people wish that their news media was doing. I think they'd get more understanding from it if they would.
BLITZER: A lot of Americans would agree with you on that point. As well a lot of Americans would agree with you, no doubt about that. Robert Gibbs, thanks for coming in.
GIBBS: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: We spoke with him a little while ago. One other piece of voting that's been going on tonight, our partnership with Facebook. Take a look at this. Grade President Obama's second 100 days in office. Here's what came in via Facebook: a C plus. That's what people on Facebook thought.
You take a look how it broke down on Facebook: 38 percent gave the president's performance an A, 15 percent a B, seven percent a C, nine percent a D, 30 percent an F. That's what folks on Facebook thought throughout the course of this night.
Campbell, very interesting numbers. And it was interesting, I want to point out, once again, that the scientific survey that we did not really all that much different than what the voters did online.
BROWN: Breaking that down, Wolf, one of the things I thought was interesting is one of the biggest complaints is that the president is taking on too much, in a lot of people's view. It's not ideological. I want to get the take you guys have on that. It was really not party lines, by any means, but more a pragmatic view from a lot of people. David?
GERGEN: I think that's right. The CNN poll founded about two- thirds of the country thought he was trying to do too much. And going back to what Gloria, she went to this --
BORGER: Focus group.
GERGEN: -- focus group last week with independent voters that Peter Hart conducted. What they found there was that a lot of voters were actually still very sympathetic to Barack Obama, would still like him to succeed. Bill Bennett would still like to succeed as a president. You know, Bill has his own views, of course, about what success is.
But the point is I think people feel it's going so fast, they're getting confused. They don't understand health care as a result. It's getting murky for them. They don't trust the Congress being so deeply engaged with this. I think it's part of the drag that we're seeing in these -- This whole evening has been things are different from what they were 100 days ago. There's just a sense that this -- the country is a lot more sober him. There's not this love affair anymore. He's starting to look like a normal president.
CROWLEY: I think the other way to look at that, is he trying to do too much too soon is how much is this all costing? I think that's another way to look at, Holy cow, you can't do all of this all at one time. All of this all at once is too expensive.
TOOBIN: I'm not going to dissent from the idea that it costs too much or that he is doing too much.
BROWN: That argument is resonating.
TOOBIN: It's resonating, but all that matters are results. If the economy turns around, if he improves the health care system, no one will care how much it costs.
BORGER: There's also this debate about whether you're seeing too much of President Obama. These folks in this focus group don't think they're seeing too much of him. They like seeing him, because they think they're getting a view of who the president really is. The flip side of that is, they see him being the only spokesman for this administration on every single policy, and they believe that he's spread a little too thin and maybe that's why things aren't getting done.
BROWN: I have to thank everybody. The best political team on television. It's so good to be back together again, isn't it? We'll go to Wolf to wrap it up. Wolf?
BLITZER: We'll be back many times over the next months and years, Campbell. I want to remind our viewers, November 3rd, there's going to be an election. We'll be back with another national report card then. Thanks very much for joining us. We'll have a lot more tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING" and "THE SITUATION ROOM."
But let's go to a very special "AC 360" right now. Erica Hill filling in. Erica?