NBC's Taibbi Sees Obama 'Independent Streak' with Centrists

On Monday's "NBC Nightly News," correspondent Mike Taibbi oddly suggested that Barack Obama could be considered an "independent" or centrist politician as he included the liberal Senator as one of several politicians with an "independent streak" with whom New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been associated. Taibbi: "Bloomberg was a long-time Democrat, turned Republican mayor, turned Independent, who has kept company with others with an independent streak, from Senators Joe Lieberman and Barack Obama to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger." Such a juxtaposition seems especially out of place in light of National Journal's 2006 vote ratings which found that Obama had a more liberal voting record than all but nine of his Senate colleagues. (Transcript follows)

Taibbi's report focused on Bloomberg's participation in an upcoming meeting of centrist politicians from both parties and the possibility that such a meeting could lead to an independent candidacy for President by the New York mayor. During his report, Taibbi mentioned two truly moderate Democrats -- former Senators Sam Nunn and David Boren -- and also Senator Joe Lieberman, who has sided with conservatives on the Iraq War. Taibbi: "Bloomberg says he's only going to Oklahoma to meet with others who object to what he calls Washington's hyperpartisanship, a group including former Democratic Senators Sam Nunn and David Boren, and Republican stalwarts Senator Chuck Hagel and former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday December 31 "NBC Nightly News":

MIKE TAIBBI: The idea of a Bloomberg candidacy is no joke, especially to those who say the two-party system is broken and needs to be replaced.

DOUG BAILEY, Unity '08 Founder: The two parties barely talk to each other in Washington, much less find common ground for successful and sustainable change.

TAIBBI: Bloomberg was a long-time Democrat, turned Republican mayor, turned Independent, who has kept company with others with an independent streak, from Senators Joe Lieberman and Barack Obama to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: We're here not to represent parties. We're here to represent the people.

TAIBBI: Bloomberg says he's only going to Oklahoma to meet with others who object to what he calls Washington's hyperpartisanship, a group including former Democratic Senators Sam Nunn and David Boren, and Republican stalwarts Senator Chuck Hagel and former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman.