On Today: Dems Happy 'Too Conservative' Tea Party Candidate Won Primary

On Wednesday's Today show NBC's Matt Lauer, Chuck Todd and Kelly O'Donnell forwarded the Democratic line that Tea Party candidate victories in Republican primaries will be the GOP's downfall in November. First up Kelly O'Donnell, in a set up piece, claimed: "In Nevada, a big Tea Party victory in the GOP Senate primary...But Democrats are actually cheering Sharron Angle's win, believing that a Tea Party candidate would be an easier opponent" for Majority Leader Harry Reid. Then, during a post-election analysis segment with Today co-anchor Matt Lauer and NBC News' political director Chuck Todd, Lauer wondered if the Angle win meant "Democrats have a right to be optimistic" as Todd chimed in that since Angle was "a little too conservative...to appeal to independents potentially" there is now a "path to victory" for Reid.

The following takes on the Nevada Senate race were aired on the June 9 Today show:

KELLY O'DONNELL: In Nevada, a big Tea Party victory in the GOP Senate primary.

SHARRON ANGLE: We need to send a message to Washington, D.C.

O'DONNELL: But Democrats are actually cheering Sharron Angle's win, believing that a Tea Party candidate would be an easier opponent for one of the most vulnerable Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

ANGLE: We're ready for the debate! Come on, Harry! Let's talk about the issues!

O'DONNELL: And Sharron Angle really surged at the end and her win was a surprise to many and Democrats now believe that they can use that Tea Party status to paint her as a bit more extreme, and that may help Harry Reid who, for much of this year, has been trailing just about any Republican he was lined up in polls. And so that really sets up Democrats to have a whole new conversation in the months ahead.

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MATT LAUER: Alright, in Nevada we've got Sharon Angle. Kelly O'Donnell talked about this.

CHUCK TODD: Right.

LAUER: She's the Tea Party candidate. She wins, she now faces Harry Reid in November. And, and do the Democrats have a right to be optimistic there?

TODD: Well, what they do is they're just less pessimistic. Harry Reid is not exactly any less vulnerable this morning than he was yesterday before the, before Sharon Angle. The difference is he's got a path to win dirty. Okay? Nevada has something called "none of the above," an actual line on the ballot that is "none of the above." And what both sides expect this race to turn into is a heavy dose of negative ads, both candidates will be unpopular. And what Harry Reid needs is a lot of people, say 8,10 percent of the electorate picking, "You know what? I'm holding my nose to the point of I can't vote for either of them, I'm gonna vote for none of the above." And then suddenly he can win with 46 percent or 47 percent. With Sharon Angle a little too conservative for, to appeal to independents potentially, now that's the Harry Reid path to victory.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.