NBC 'Today' Show Panel Rushes to Obama's Defense After Santorum 'Cheap Shot'

On Tuesday, following Rick Santorum's call for politicians, like President Obama, to stop relying on Teleprompters for their public remarks, NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer allowed a liberal panel to rip into the Republican candidate for daring to criticize Obama.

Attorney Star Jones contemptuously proclaimed: "Doesn't he have anything else to talk about?...You're running for the presidency of the United States and you're going to whine because he's a better Teleprompter reader than you are? Oh, please." Correspondent Savannah Guthrie chimed in: "It's silly....It's a cheap shot, it's an easy laugh."

Guthrie was puzzled by the critique: "I don't know what they're trying to say about Barack Obama. Are they saying he uses the Teleprompter because he's not intelligent and can't articulate himself without a prompter? I don't think there's any evidence of that. Even his critics would say it."

Advertising executive Donny Deutsch observed: "The problem Santorum has is look, throughout history there are some times you speak great extemporaneously and sometimes from a script and it's not – by the way, there would be no Today show if you guys were not reading from the script." Lauer joked: "That's not unnecessarily true."


Here is a transcript of the March 13 exchange:

8:13AM ET

(...)

MATT LAUER: This weekend at a campaign appearance, Rick Santorum, one of the GOP presidential candidates, said he would like to see – and I'm paraphrasing here – it to be illegal for anyone running for president to use a Teleprompter. Basically, saying that if you're running for president, people should hear your words, not words that have been run through a focus group or written by someone else. How do we feel about this?

STAR JONES: Doesn't he have anything else to talk about?

LAUER: Well, how do we feel about what he's calling for?

JONES: Oh, please. I mean-

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: It's silly.  

JONES: It really is silly. And like I said, doesn't he have anything else to talk about? You're running for the presidency of the United States and you're going to whine...

GUTHRIE: It's a cheap shot...

JONES: ...because he's a better Teleprompter reader than you are? Oh, please.

LAUER: He's going after Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, both have been use – known to use Teleprompters, as have almost all politicians.

GUTHRIE: It's a cheap shot, it's an easy laugh. Both sides do it, okay? The Democrats love to make hay of Romney tying his dog to the top of the car back in the day. But I don't know what they're trying to say about Barack Obama. Are they saying he uses the Teleprompter because he's not intelligent and can't articulate himself without a prompter?

JONES: I don't think so.

GUTHRIE: I don't think there's any evidence of that. Even his critics would say it.     

LAUER: Go ahead, Donny.

DEUTSCH: It's very simple. He's trying to play to his strength. The thing that's made him appealing – it sometimes gets in his way – is that he's from shoot from the hip, he's real, he's genuine, and he's basically saying, "Hey, the other guys are not smart enough to do it without it." The problem Santorum has is look, throughout history there are some times you speak great extemporaneously and sometimes from a script and it's not – by the way, there would be no Today show if you guys were not reading from the script.

LAUER: That's not unnecessarily true.

[LAUGHTER]

(...)

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