NBC's Today: 'Feisty' Obama Gave Republicans 'A Pretty Good Tongue Lashing'

At the top of Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Ann Curry proclaimed: "President Obama calls out Congress to strike a deficit reduction deal during a feisty news conference." Moments later, fellow co-host Matt Lauer added that the President "gave Congress a pretty good tongue lashing on Wednesday."

Curry further described how Obama "rebuked Congress for taking recesses instead of tackling legislation to try to help turn around the economy." In a later report on the press conference, White House correspondent Chuck Todd announced: "On issues ranging from taxes, the debt ceiling, even Libya, President Obama issued a blistering critique of Republicans in Congress. And essentially in blunt terms said it's time to step up and stop complaining."

Todd cheered how Obama, "ramped up the rhetoric on taxes, pushing back against this notion he's for massively raising taxes on everyone." He continued to strike a supportive tone and declared: "Visibly frustrated, Mr. Obama held open the possibility that he would keep Congress in Washington unless they could reach a deal to cut the deficit and raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit. And he challenged leaders to stop procrastinating."

Throughout the Today coverage, mentions were made of Republican criticism of the press conference. In her top-of-the-show tease, Curry wondered: "Could [Obama's] tough words end up backfiring with Republicans?" She noted that "House Speaker John Boehner quickly fired back" at the President.

During his report, Todd quoted from Boehner's statement: "...a sharp response, accusing the President of being quote, 'AWOL' from the debate, adding, 'His administration has been burying our kids and grandkids in new debt and offered no plan to rein in spending.'" However, while four sound bites were featured of Obama bashing the GOP, no sound bites of Republican reaction were included.
                
On Wednesday's Nightly News, Todd laid blame for the debt ceiling stalemate solely on "that new conservative, the Tea Party caucus" of Republicans in the House of Representatives.


Here is a full transcript of Todd's June 30 report on Today:

7:00AM ET TEASE:

ANN CURRY: Get it done. President Obama calls out Congress to strike a deficit reduction deal during a feisty news conference.

BARACK OBAMA: If you know you've got to do something, just do it.

CURRY: Could his tough words end up backfiring with Republicans? We'll talk one of the President's top advisors.
                
7:01AM ET TEASE:

MATT LAUER: So the President is headed to Philadelphia today, which is a pretty good idea to get out of Washington for a couple of hours because he gave Congress a pretty good tongue lashing on Wednesday.

CURRY: No kidding. In fact, the President rebuked Congress for taking recesses instead of tackling legislation to try to help turn around the economy. But House Speaker John Boehner quickly fired back. We're going to get the latest from Washington in a live report straight ahead.

7:07AM ET SEGMENT:

MATT LAUER: Now to Washington, where President Obama called out Congress to act on a range of critical issues during a news conference that got a little testy at times. Chuck Todd is NBC's chief White House correspondent. He's at the White House this morning. Chuck, good morning to you.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: "Let's Get it Done"; Frustrated President Urges Congress to Pass Debt Deal]

CHUCK TODD: Good morning, Matt. Well, look, on issues ranging from taxes, the debt ceiling, even Libya, President Obama issued a blistering critique of Republicans in Congress. And essentially in blunt terms said it's time to step up and stop complaining.

BARACK OBAMA: Call me naive, but my expectation is that leaders are going lead.

TODD: With the August 2 deadline for a debt deal looming, President Obama delivered a blunt message to Congress.

OBAMA: They're in one week, they're out one week. You need to be here. I've been here. I've been doing Afghanistan and Bin Laden and the Greek crisis and – you stay here. Let's get it done.

TODD: This week, it's the House in recess and the Senate in session. The President also ramped up the rhetoric on taxes, pushing back against this notion he's for massively raising taxes on everyone.

OBAMA: The tax cuts I'm proposing we get rid of are tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, tax breaks for oil companies, and hedge fund managers, and corporate jet owners.
 
TODD: Visibly frustrated, Mr. Obama held open the possibility that he would keep Congress in Washington unless they could reach a deal to cut the deficit and raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit. And he challenged leaders to stop procrastinating.

OBAMA: Malia and Sasha generally finish their homework a day ahead of time. They don't  wait until the night before. They're not pulling all-nighters. You know, Congress can do the same thing. If you know you've got to do something, just do it.

TODD: House Speaker John Boehner issued a sharp response, accusing the President of being quote, 'AWOL' from the debate, adding, 'His administration has been burying our kids and grandkids in new debt and offered no plan to rein in spending.'

Taking on another politically sensitive topic, the President, who hosted a gay pride event at the White House Wednesday afternoon, again stopped short of fully endorsing gay marriage.

OBAMA: I'm not going to make news on that today. Good try, though.

TODD: He steered clear of any presidential campaign talk. Even with Republican front-runner and rival Mitt Romney in town, making the rounds on Capitol Hill at the same time the President was speaking.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Race for the White House; Romney Hits D.C. as Bachmann Denies Palin Feud]

MICHELLE BACHMANN: I need your support for the election.

TODD: In South Carolina, Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, now trailing only Romney in many polls, accused the press of latching on to fake tension between her and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

BACHMANN: They want to see two girls come together and have a mud wrestling fight. And I'm not going to give it to them. Because I have great respect and admiration for the Governor.

TODD: Now Senate Democrats have already responded to the President's call to stay in town. They're going to cut short their July 4 recess next week and come back to work a little bit sooner. We will see if House Republicans do the same. Matt.

LAUER: Chuck Todd, thank you very much.

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