NBC's Brokaw Touts 'Moderate' Iowan Standing Up to 'Hardline' GOP

On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Tom Brokaw asked Perry, Iowa resident Eddie Diaz: "Were you accepted right away by the community?" Brokaw explained: "Diaz is a Perry high school teacher, part of a growing Hispanic population....Eddie could go elsewhere, but he likes Perry, which he says is more moderate, politically and culturally, than the candidates realize."

Brokaw touted how Diaz lectured Michele Bachmann at a campaign event: "Recently he challenged Michele Bachmann for her hard line on immigration." Diaz argued: "Why would you choose to punish these kids?...Because every election cycle, immigration is used as a punching bag, and it's just so easy to demonize people."


Before talking to Republican caucus-goers in Perry, Brokaw wondered why Iowa had shifted from being a state won by President Obama in 2008 to a swing state in 2012: "Why is that? Iowa is doing much better than most states. Unemployment is under 6%. Corn and cattle prices are paying handsome returns. Iowa farmland is going for record amounts. So why are Iowans upset?"

<<Like this post? Help us take on media bias by donating to NewsBusters (there's also a PayPal option on that page). Without the support of our readers, NewsBusters would not be possible.>> 


Brokaw concluded his report by noting a conversation he had with the town's Democratic mayor: "When I asked if President Obama was getting credit for anything there, he said, well a point of real civic pride is a new community college built with local donations, but it would not have been possible without federal stimulus money from the Obama administration."

Here is a full transcript of the January 3 segment:

7:08PM ET

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Now we want to bring you the first in a series of reports we're calling "Main Street USA." Tom Brokaw has been talking to folks across this country about the issues, what will drive people to the polls, starting tonight in places like Iowa? Tonight Tom's with us from Des Moines. Hey, Tom, good evening, how's it look this year?

TOM BROKAW: Good evening. Well, Brian, it's worth remembering that four years ago, President Barack Obama carried the state easily. But this fall, Iowa is expected to be a major battleground state. And on main street here, we're already hearing the concerns of that fall campaign. Why is that? Iowa is doing much better than most states. Unemployment is under 6%. Corn and cattle prices are paying handsome returns. Iowa farmland is going for record amounts. So why are Iowans upset?

TONY SWEET: They've lost trust in a lot of the government, particularly in congress and our current president.

BROKAW: Main street in the heartland of America, this is Perry, Iowa. 7,700 people live in this historic railroad town northwest of Des Moines. And this elegantly restored hotel is a popular stopping place for the Republican candidates, all promising they can do better. In the same hotel, I met four Perry Republicans who had many shared feelings about foreign policy, faith and the future. In the last week, national security has emerged as a more important issue that could continue into the fall. Retired teacher Phil Stone on the President.

PHIL STONE: I think he's had opportunities to stand up for America and has passed on those occasions.

LIN JACOBSON: We want somebody that we feel confident has a direction, a moral direction, as well as a military direction.

BROKAW: Morality and faith are major considerations for these conservative Christians. They have issues with the President and also Mitt Romney. Do you think that President Obama is a man of faith?

SWEET: No.

BROKAW: Why not?

SWEET: I cannot imagine a man sitting in Jeremiah Wright's church being a man of true faith, being a true Christian.

JUDY GARDNER: We have unique traits, preferences, gifts and quirks.

BROKAW: Judy Gardner is a leader in the local Baptist church and Mitt Romney's faith is a big issue. Are you comfortable with Mormonism?

JUDY GARDNER: No, I'm not.

BROKAW: Does that keep you from moving toward Mitt Romney?

GARDNER: Yes, it does.

BROKAW: Were you accepted right away by the community? Those are not the only voices in Perry, Eddie Diaz is a Perry high school teacher, part of a growing Hispanic population attracted by jobs at the local Tyson plant. His family came here from California in '95. Eddie served as a Marine sergeant in the Iraq war before returning to Perry.

EDDIE DIAZ: Why would you choose to punish these kids?

BROKAW: Recently he challenged Michele Bachmann for her hard line on immigration. Explaining...

DIAZ: Because every election cycle, immigration is used as a punching bag, and it's just so easy to demonize people.

BROKAW: Eddie could go elsewhere, but he likes Perry, which he says is more moderate, politically and culturally, than the candidates realize. Mayor Jay Pattee, a Democrat and life-long resident, agrees. He thinks once the candidates leave Iowa, life will go on.

JAY PATTEE: I was at a meeting last night, where there were two people, the wife was Democrat and the husband was Republican, they're both active in their parties. And I think they've been married for 25 years and look forward to many more years of the same.

BROKAW: And Brian, the Mayor says that the city council in Perry would have a meeting today on some difficult budget problems, Democrats and Republicans alike. He expected full agreement, he said that's what small towns can show Washington.

When I asked if President Obama was getting credit for anything there, he said, well a point of real civic pride is a new community college built with local donations, but it would not have been possible without federal stimulus money from the Obama administration. Brian.

WILLIAMS: Another election cycle comes to Iowa. Tom Brokaw, Tom thanks.

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