NBC's Mitchell Berates Republican: Are You Just 'Too Busy' to Meet With Obama?
NBC's Andrea Mitchell, hosting her self-titled MSNBC show on Wednesday, got into a bit of a tiff with Republican Senator John Barrasso over, of all things, a scheduling conflict. Mitchell opened her broadcast of Andrea Mitchell Reports asking why the Republicans delayed a meeting with the President as she whined: "How about that for setting a new tone of bipartisanship in Washington?" Then the NBC News correspondent brought on Barrasso to explain the great slight to the President as she pestered: "Senator so what happened? You guys are just too busy tomorrow?"
Mitchell even brought up the complaint via her Twitter account where she compared it to when a then House Speaker Newt Gingrich once complained about his seating arrangement on Air Force One during the Clinton administration:
Dissing POTUS -sources say white house wanted to meet, GOP "couldn't" - is this like newt complaining abt his seat on af1? could backfire?
The following is the full exchange as it was aired on the November 17 edition of Andrea Mitchell Reports:
(video after the break)
ANDREA MITCHELL: And good day. I'm Andrea Mitchell live in Washington. We'll begin with the President's big meeting with congressional leaders scheduled for tomorrow. Now delayed? How about that for setting a new tone of bipartisanship in Washington?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL: When we return from the Thanksgiving break, Republican and Democratic leaders will have the opportunity to discuss these priorities with the President in a meeting at the White House. I'm looking forward to the meeting. And to the opportunity to share with the President, again, the areas where we agree.
MITCHELL: Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso who was just re-elected as vice chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and joins me now from Capitol Hill. Senator, so what happened? You guys are just too busy tomorrow?
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO: I'm not sure what's up with the details of the scheduling, Andrea, but I'm interested in working with the President because he talked about earmarks, the Republican caucus just yesterday, our conference got together and said, "You know, no earmarks for the next two years." The Democrats, Harry Reid said, "Oh no we still love those earmarks." Apparently the Democrats haven't heard the message of cut the spending, cut this growth in government, get the deficit and the debt under control. It's fascinating to listen to, to what the tin ear is out there is of the folks who just haven't heard the message from the voters.
MITCHELL: Well talking about the message from the voters, people want to see things done. We've got the deficit. We've got two wars going on, the START treaty road blocked. There's certainly enough to talk about. So when the President invites a bipartisan group from Congress to come to the White House, why would Republicans say, "We're too busy, let's reschedule it later after Thanksgiving?"
BARRASSO: I don't know what happened on the House side with Speaker-elect Boehner. You may want to check with him on that, but I'm looking forward to working with the President on things like control of earmarks which, as we know is one of the gateway problems of the big spending problems in this country. We need to go towards a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. That's what the Republicans voted for yesterday, cutting the size of government, getting spending down to 2008 levels. Those are all important things.
—Geoffrey Dickens is the Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here