Vieira to Axelrod on Tax Cut Deal: 'Why Shouldn't Americans Look At This As a Disaster in the Making?'

NBC's Meredith Vieira, on Wednesday's Today show, hit David Axelrod repeatedly from the left as she lectured the White House senior adviser that the left is "furious" at Barack Obama for making a deal with the GOP on tax cuts as she pressed: "Why shouldn't Americans look at this as a disaster in the making?"

During a segment headlined: "Tax Cut Compromise: Did President Go Too Far In Agreeing With GOP?" the Today co-host regurgitated talking points from the left to Axelrod as she scolded: "One senator went so far as to call" the tax cut compromise "borderline immoral" and demanded "how does he win back these fellow Democrats that he's referred to as sanctimonious?" After Axelrod responded that it would be "immoral" to have "millions of Americans" lose their unemployment insurance at the holidays, in addition to having their taxes raised, Vieira admonished the administration from the left:

(video after the jump)

VIEIRA: So the President has said that he's doing this for the good of the American people but by some estimates this deal, this tax cut deal could add another $900 billion to a deficit that is already out of control. So why shouldn't Americans look at this as a disaster in the making?

The following is the relevant exchange as it was aired on the December 8 Today show:

MEREDITH VIEIRA: Savannah Guthrie, thank you so much. David Axelrod serves as President Obama's senior adviser. Mr. Axelrod, good morning to you. How are you doing sir?

[On screen headline: "Tax Cut Compromise, Did President Go Too Far In Agreeing With GOP?"]

DAVID AXELROD: Good morning, Meredith. I'm good, thank you.

VIEIRA: Good. As we just heard from the President he has said, said in that news conference yesterday that he is itching for a fight with the Republicans at a later date but, as you know, many Democrats believe that, you know, that's too late. They're furious about what's happened. They say this is not a compromise this deal, it is the president caving in. One senator went so far as to call it "borderline immoral." So how does he win back these fellow Democrats that he's referred to as sanctimonious?

AXELROD: Look I think that what would be borderline immoral would be to allow millions of Americans have their taxes go up on January 1st significantly. What would be borderline immoral would be to allow people who've been, who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own in this down economy, lose their lifeline, their unemployment insurance this holiday season and for the future. Those things are the things that should be foremost in our mind. What would be borderline immoral is if we didn't do everything we could to get this economy moving again at a brisk enough pace so that we're creating enough jobs to put everyone, who needs a job, back to work. That's what we're working toward and, and every economist agrees that what we, that, that what we are proposing would do, would do those things.


VIEIRA: So the President has said that he's doing this for the good of the American people but by some estimates this deal, this tax cut deal could add another $900 billion to a deficit that is already out of control. So why shouldn't Americans look at this as a disaster in the making?

AXELROD: Because Meredith, the most important thing we can do right now to get our economy - is to get our economy moving. That is the most important thing we can do to improve our fiscal situation as well as our jobs picture and the well-being of the middle class. And that should be foremost. We're gonna to have to deal with this deficit challenge in the, in the mid and long-term. But these are temporary tax measures that go out of business in two years and then we can have a discussion about how we move forward. And in the interim, we're gonna have a big debate about dealing with the deficit. Right now, though, the thing we shouldn't do in the midst of this economy is raise taxes on middle class people across this country. We shouldn't be throwing people off unemployment insurance. That will send our economy backward, that will put more pressure on our deficit. It's the wrong thing to do.

—Geoffrey Dickens is the Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here
 

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