MSNBC’s O’Donnell: Cheney’s Wrong, Bush To Blame For Economy

Norah O'Donnell, MSNBC Near the end of the 3:00PM EST hour on MSNBC on Monday, anchor Norah O’Donnell attacked former Vice President Dick Cheney for arguing that the Bush administration should not be blamed for the economic crisis, exclaiming: "Can't blame the Bush administration? Well, let me show you this. The unemployment rate during the Bush administration rose from 4.2% to 7.6%. Poverty jumped from 32.9 million individuals to 37.3 million. The number of uninsured jumped from 41.2 million to 45.7 million, and the budget -- the inherited budget surplus of $120 billion and now it's a $1.3 trillion deficit." O’Donnell failed to note that the unemployment rate only jumped in the final few months of the administration, after the economic crisis hit.

After O’Donnell’s rant, which sounded like a list of Democratic talking points, she turned to Republican strategist Phil Musser and asked: "Phil, does the Vice President have any credibility left when he says don't blame the Bush administration, with numbers like that?" Musser responded: "Look, I think that the Vice President is giving his view point on the last eight years and clearly, the figures that you point out are the figures that you point out, not all of those should be laid at the Bush administration's feet." Musser went on to link O'Donnell's comments with the strategy of the Obama White House: "...clearly your seeing out of the White House now, the strategy of linkage of yesterday...If that's where they're going with this, I think it's totally counter-productive and not useful."

Earlier, immediately following MSNBC’s coverage of Monday’s White House press briefing, O’Donnell remarked on Press Secretary Robert Gibbs bashing Cheney: "Robert Gibbs shot back, calling him, ‘I guess,’ he said ‘I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy, so they trotted out someone who's now the second most popular man in the Republican Party.’" O’Donnell then turned to White House correspondent Chuck Todd, who added: "And by the way, I just want to -- I'm not trying to correct you Norah, he didn't even refer to the Republicans as the Republican Party. He called it the Republican cabal. So it was more of a shot, by the way, that he was trying to take both at Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

3:43PM TEASE:

NORAH O'DONNELL: Also, of course, Robert Gibbs going after the former Vice President Dick Cheney in this interview. As you know, Cheney gave -- in this press briefing -- Cheney gave an interview over the weekend in which he said that this admin -- that the Bush administration should not be blamed. And Robert Gibbs shot back, calling him, 'I guess,' he said 'I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy, so they trotted out someone who's now the second most popular man in the Republican Party.' Chuck Todd, of course, is our chief White House correspondent and joins us now. Chuck, a lot of interesting questions today, I think, for this administration. How exactly are they going to block these bonuses? What tools do they have in order to do that? Did we get a clear answer?

CHUCK TODD: We did not, they have none. And by the way, I just want to -- I'm not trying to correct you Norah, he didn't even refer to the Republicans as the Republican Party. He called it the Republican cabal. So it was more of a shot, by the way, that he was trying to take both at Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh.

3:52PM SEGMENT:

NORAH O'DONNELL: The other big headline today involves the former Vice President Dick Cheney, who gave an interview yesterday saying, 'don't blame the Bush administration for our troubles.' Take a listen.

DICK CHENEY: There's no question about what the economic circumstances that he inherited are difficult ones. You know, we said that before we left. I don't think you can blame the Bush administration for the creation of those circumstances.

O'DONNELL: Can't blame the Bush administration? Well, let me show you this. The unemployment rate during the Bush administration rose from 4.2% to 7.6%. Poverty jumped from 32.9 million individuals to 37.3 million. The number of uninsured jumped from 41.2 million to 45.7 million, and the budget -- the inherited budget surplus of $120 billion and now it's a $1.3 trillion deficit. Phil, does the Vice President have any credibility left when he says don't blame the Bush administration, with numbers like that?

PHIL MUSSER: Look, I think that the Vice President is giving his view point on the last eight years and clearly, the figures that you point out are the figures that you point out, not all of those should be laid at the Bush administration's feet. They did do some pro-growth tax cut policy, they did make some important changes to domestic policy, but nonetheless, I think that the -- I think that the discussion is better served by where we're going, as opposed to where we've been. And you know, clearly your seeing out of the White House now, the strategy of linkage of yesterday. Robert Gibbs at that podium just got up their and kind of denounced the Vice President in the strongest terms. If that's where they're going with this, I think it's totally counter-productive and not useful.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC