Gregory Contends ‘Awkward’ Moments at Debates ‘Challenge Notion’ GOP is ‘Party of Life’

Meet the Press host David Gregory contented the fact a Republican presidential debate audience applauded Texas Governor Rick Perry for allowing the death penalty for murders, and three in an audience of hundreds shouted “yeah” to the idea a man who decided to not buy health insurance may be allowed to die, are “really a challenge to the notion that the Republican Party is the party of life and supports a culture of life.” (video after jump)

After he played a clip of the audience applauding when Brian Williams pressed Perry on how “your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other Governor in modern times,” Gregory declared that “an awkward moment of applause” before demanding of his guest, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: “Does the audience response in both cases trouble you as a Republican?”


Of course, executing murders following a due process procedure in which the accused are judged by a jury means they are hardly innocent and does not contradict the quest to protect the innocent life of those yet born nor of those near the end of life who have lost their mental capacities.

Only three cheered the proposition the government shouldn’t step in to help a man who failed to plan for his own care – so not really representative of conservatives and/or Republicans. Even in that case, however, the adult man is not in the same position of a fetus unable to make decisions about the priorities of where to spend their money.

Earlier, with video: “NBC Debate Moderators Pepper Republicans with Questions from the Left

From the end of Gregory’s segment with McConnell on the Sunday, September 18 Meet the Press:

DAVID GREGORY: I want to play a couple of moments from recent debates that had to do with really a challenge to the notion that the Republican Party is the party of life and supports a culture of life. The first question, from my colleague Brian Williams in the debate that had to do with the death penalty, to Rick Perry. I'll show you that.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, AT SEPTEMBER 7 DEBATE: Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other Governor in modern times. Have you- [audience applause]

GREGORY: An awkward moment of applause. And then during the CNN debate, Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul whether a healthy man who had opted not to get insurance should be allowed to live, frankly, if it required intensive care for a period of six months. Here was the question.

WOLF BLITZER, SEPTEMBER 12 DEBATE: Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?

RON PAUL: No.

THREE AUDIENCE MEMBERS, SEPARATELY: Yeah.

GREGORY: Does the audience response in both cases trouble you as a Republican?

SENATOR MITCH McCONNELL: Look, we have a lot of people running for President. There are going to be a lot of debates, a lot of things said. A lot of audience reactions. I don't have any particular reaction to what's going on in Republican campaign for President right now. I've got a big job to do trying to help turn this country around. And working with a President who I believe has been doing all of the wrong things. I mean, if you look at the stimulus bill, David, what did we get out of that? Turtle tunnels and Solyndra. Solyndra. Look, more money was lost on Solyndra than came to my state to fix roads and bridges out of the entire stimulus package last year. And now he's asking us to do it again. One of my favorite sayings here in Kentucky, out in the rural areas, is there's no education the second kick of a mule. I mean, we've been there. We've done that. Now he's asking us to do it again. I'm trying to get him to go in a different direction. I've got my hands full without commenting on all that's going on in the Republican campaigns for President.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center