President Obama has "evolved" since his early days in presidential politics and is riding "a pretty good wave" of popularity in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden.
And, says CBS New Senior Correspondent Harry Smith," the president and House Speaker John Boehner are both "energized" and "game" for the big budget battles that are ahead of them.
Smith was reflecting on "The Early Show on Saturday Morning" about the CBS News Town Hall on the economy with the president that he helped host. It was broadcast on "The Early Show" on Thursday.Special coverage: CBS News Town Hall on the Economy, with President Obama
Smith also shared his observations about Boehner in light of an interview he did with the Ohio Republican that's set to air on "Face the Nation" on Sunday.On "Saturday Morning," Smith told co-anchor Rebecca Jarvis - who was another host of the town hall - that the president has "evolved over time. Because I remember covering him, for instance, in Iowa, getting ready for caucus time, three years ago, when there might be a dozen or two people in an audience. He's so comfortable in his -- in his role. You see in these clips (from the town hall) -- this is a man who's ... happy to be in the job that he's in. And he's very comfortable interacting with folks."
Does it have anything to do with the bin Laden killing, Jarvis wondered.
"You know, it certainly doesn't hurt," Smith responded, "because there was a question during the town meeting (when) one of the questioners got up, and before the question about economics, he said, 'And Mr. President, thank you for keeping us safe.' And there was a spontaneous eruption of applause. And the president, I think, it's pretty clear that he's riding a pretty good wave right now. "
Still, Smith and Jarvis agreed, the economy continues to be a, perhaps the major issue on voters' minds.
Smith remarked that Mr. Obana and Boehner are both "completely energized. This is what you spend your life preparing for, and you can see in both of them a kind of an energy, and a sort of robustness that this is why they came to Washington, to get involved in politics. To get in the nitty-gritty of it. And we talked to both of them about deficit reduction, about raising the debt ceiling, and everything else, and they're both very animated and ready ... for battle. How this will turn out is anybody's guess. But they both seem quite game."
Before Smith and Jarvis talked, "Saturday Morning" showed some outtakes from the Town Hall in which the president kidded with audience members during the timeouts for commercials:}