NBC's Luke Russert: Is Romney Campaign 'One of the Most Secretive in History?'

Continuing to beat the drum of Mitt Romney's campaign not being transparent on Wednesday's The Daily Rundown on MSNBC, fill-in host Luke Russert melodramatically asked: "Is this one of the most secretive presidential campaigns in history?" On Tuesday, regular host Chuck Todd predicted that Romney could be "the least transparent president in a generation." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

In response to Russert, NBC News political editor Mark Murray lamented the inability of the media to throw Romney off message: "I would actually say that they've demonstrated incredible message discipline. They have talked about the things that they want to talk about. When you bring up other matters, whether it's Donald Trump, whether it's Syria, whether it's this transparency in campaign...[the campaign says] those issues aren't – don't matter. What voters really care about is the economy."

Murray argued that such discipline would make it difficult for Romney as president: "...when you sit in that Oval Office you don't always get to control the things you have to talk about....it presents challenges once you get into that Oval Office."

Russert then falsely jabbed at Romney: "And it presents challenges on the way, he's eventually going to have to sit down for an interview that's not Fox, at some point."

Mitt and Ann Romney appeared on CBS This Morning on May 1.

The couple sat down with ABC's Diane Sawyer on the April 16 World News.

Mitt Romney appeared on NBC's Today on February 1 after winning the Florida primary.


Here is a transcript of Russert's June 13 exchange with Murray:

9:04AM ET

(...)

LUKE RUSSERT: Interesting article in the AP yesterday talking about Mitt Romney and secrecy. And – but it also talks about how disciplined he is. It goes, "Romney refuses to identify his biggest donors who bundle money for his campaign. He often declines to say who he's meeting with or what he's doing for hours at a time. He puts limits on media access to his fundraisers. And resists releasing all of his tax returns, making just a single year public after facing pressure to do so."

And it's funny, yesterday I was reporting that Mitt Romney was going to meet with Speaker Boehner, having a rally this Sunday. Capitol Hill reporters knew before Romney campaign reporters. Is this one of the most secretive presidential campaigns in history?

MARK MURRAY [NBC SENIOR POLITICAL EDITOR]: Luke, I would actually say that they've demonstrated incredible message discipline. They have talked about the things that they want to talk about. When you bring up other matters, whether it's Donald Trump, whether it's Syria, whether it's this transparency in campaign, but I want to say, those issues aren't – don't matter. What voters really care about is the economy.

But as we write in First Read this morning, one of the things about being president, when you sit in that Oval Office you don't always get to control the things you have to talk about. There are events that are outside your control, foreign policy issues that you end up having to dealing with. And so the Romney campaign right now, they're running out the clock, which is a really smart – in sports, in football, basketball, it's a very smart strategy to deploy and it actually could end up helping Mitt Romney being able to win this election. "Hey, we're only going to talk about the economy." But it presents challenges once you get into that Oval Office.

RUSSERT: And it presents challenges on the way, he's eventually going to have to sit down for an interview that's not Fox, at some point.

MURRAY: Well, right, and he's also going on this bus tour starting on Friday, in which the traveling press corps will have tons of questions for him. Yesterday, it was interesting, he was asked one of the questions about whether he thought that Democrats were taking his words out of – about firefighters and police officers that he said on Friday – out of context and he basically said, "I don't want to answer that question." And so far that's actually been a response we've seen from him more so than saying, opening up to questions where we might actually get more of a sense of where he stands on issues outside of the economy.

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