What a difference nineteen plus months can make. Back in his rock star days, Obama had them fainting and crying like Beatles fans at town halls. These days, he’s facing tough questions from his supporters who are suffering under his disastrous presidency.
In question after question during a one-hour session, which took place on Monday at the Newseum here and was televised on CNBC, Mr. Obama was confronted by people who sounded frustrated and anxious — even as some said they supported his agenda and proclaimed themselves honored to be in his presence.
People from Main Street wanted to know if the American dream still lived for them. People on Wall Street complained that he was treating them like a piñata, “whacking us with a stick,” in the words of Anthony Scaramucci, a former law school classmate of Mr. Obama’s who now runs a hedge fund and was one of the president’s questioners.
“I’m exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for,” said the first questioner, an African-American woman who identified herself as a chief financial officer, a mother and a military veteran. “I’ve been told that I voted for a man who was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class and I’m waiting sir, I’m waiting. I still don’t feel it yet.”
A 30-year-old law school graduate told Mr. Obama that he had hoped to pursue a career in public service — like the president — but complained that he could barely pay the interest on his student loans, let alone think of getting married or starting a family.
“I was really inspired by you and your campaign and the message you brought, and that inspiration is dying away,” he said, adding, “And I really want to know, is the American dream dead for me?”