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Republican Weighs In On Obama Speech

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

We wondered how today's speech and the advent of the Obama administration look to a GOP political pro. So we've asked one of the best we know, Republican media consultant Mike Murphy, who joins us from Culver City, California. Hi, welcome to the program, once again.

MIKE MURPHY: Good to be here.

SIEGEL: To what degree do you think the politics of the country have been rewritten or redirected today?

MURPHY: And I think he's been very, very shrewd in moving to the center to try to grab all that and now use up political capital to get a lot of stuff done. So, time will tell to see if his successes are really going to be beyond the normal amount of the success a president has in their first six months.

SIEGEL: Mm hmm. Before looking ahead, I'm just wondering what you made of the look back in the speech. Mr. Obama thanked President Bush personally, but he was at least implicitly scathing about Mr. Bush's policies on the economy, on detentions. We are ready to lead in the world once more, he said - saying, we haven't been leading so far.

MURPHY: And I think the big question is going to be not looking backward to rehashing the fights of the campaign, but will the American public accept the reality of responsibly as easily and happily as they have accepted the rhetoric of talking about responsibility. That is going to be the acid test of Obama. When it gets tough, are people going to like what he's doing and support him? And I thought the speech set the table perfectly for that. He's controlling expectations.

SIEGEL: Do Republicans have a coherent rebuttal to President Obama?

MURPHY: So I think you will see a working bipartisan partnership with Republican pressure to question excess, to question speed and rashness in some of these policies. So I think we can be a constructive break on parts of it without being implacable, pure partisan, you know, opponent.

SIEGEL: Well, thanks for talking with us, once, again.

MURPHY: Thank you.

SIEGEL: It's Mike Murphy, Republican media consultant speaking with us from Culver City, California. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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