Meet the Press   |  March 16, 2014

Pfeiffer on Ukraine, Obama Approval

White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer visits Meet the Press to discuss the ongoing situation in Crimea and the public opinion of President Barack Obama.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> is crimea lost at this point?

>> look, we are putting as much pressure on the russians as we can to do the right thing. we have given them the opportunity in the past tocx de-escalate and get this in the right place. theft know there are costs to their action here. the costs are economic, the russian economy , the russian stock market and the ruble are at five-year lows. russia's isolated in the world. you saw that in the u.n. security council yesterday. the more they escalate, the longer the cost will be.

>> there's still a concern there might be an attempt to move into eastern ukraine , maybe even militarily move into crimea further. do you think that's going to happen, starting with crimea ?

>> first as relates to the resin dup, this is is in violation of international law . the united states is not going to recognize the results of that referendum. and we are working with our partners around the world, the europeans in particular, to marshall forces against the russians to put pressure on them in the form of sanctions. the president has signed an executive order last week that gives him authority to do this. you can expect sanctions in the coming days.

>> if there is a' move militarily into the rest of the ukraine , how important is it from the president's point of view to send military aid to ukraine to be able to protect itself.

>> supporting the new ukrainian government is the top of our priority proo list. we're looking at all ways of assistance.

>> would the president call on congress to pass more military aid for ukraine ?

>> we are calling on them right now. there's a bill that came out of the senate foreign relations committee last week. and we're going to keep working this as much as we can.

>> is eastern ukraine the new red line here?

>> what we have do, everything the russians have done thus far is in violation of international law and bad for peace and stability in the region and bad for the russians . president putin has a choice what he's going to do here, further hurt his economy, further diminish russian influence in the world or is he going to do the right thing.

>> the president's approval rating . we had a big poll out, " wall street journal ," nbc news this week. overall job approval for the president 41%. handling the economy 41%. same number when it came to foreign policy . and here's what's striking. an provlt is -- approval is 74% among democrats. he can't very well blame republicans for this. the press has really slipped.

>> en ot public polls they're all over the map. another poll came out that showed the president gained six points in the last couple months. i've looked at a lot of data. there's no question that everyone in washington, the president included took a big hit from the double whammy of a shutdown and we're working our way back. hree points in and we've gainedfx/x the last couple months. there's no question we have more work to do.

>> there's so much disappointment in the washington. but this is an election year and democrats are worried. and "the new york times" this morning, i've been reading, jonathan martin writes this, democrats are becoming increasingly alarmeded about their midterm election fortunes among obama's shrinking approval ratings . a loss in florida this past week, millions of dollars spent by republicans attacking the new health care law has let to uncharacteristic criticism of president obama and bitter complaints that his political organization has done little to help the party's congressional candidates.

>> that's what happens when you win a lot of elections like we did in 2008 . the good news is we have good candidates and we're on the right side of the issue that matters to most of the public. jobs and the economy. here's what the president's going to do. he is going to lay out the terms of the debate in this election as a choice between democrats who support an agenda of opportunity for all, for republicans for an agenda of opportunity for a few few. this president wrote the book on running and winning modern campaigns. we're going to help democrats up and down the ballots.

>> do they want your help? is the president more a liability than he is an asset at this stage?

>> we're going to set the terms of the debate and provide our organizational ability to help them. we want to help them every way we can.

>> liability or asset.

>> the president will be an asset in every way possible.