MSNBC Panel: Fast & Furious Scandal Bad for GOP, Good for Obama

Update [12:52 ET]: Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele followed Bernard's lead in MSNBC's noon hour by claiming the Fast & Furious investigation was "not good" for the House GOP. Video below and audio here.

In an attempt to twist the Obama administration's Fast & Furious gun running scandal into bad news for Republicans, on Wednesday's The Daily Rundown on MSNBC supposed Republican pundit Michelle Bernard proclaimed: "...when you think about just the damage that has been done over the last year to the GOP's brand, this is just another – adds more fuel to the fire." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Bernard was referring to the possibility of Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress for not providing documents about the failed policy to lawmakers. Instead of questioning the White House, Bernard continued to rant: "...this is just another thing that I think gives the Obama administration and the Obama campaign a little bit more fuel to go to the American public and say, 'Why won't they just do their job? We don't elect members of the Congress to come in and beat up on the Attorney General and be obstructionists. Ask them to do their job and back off of Eric Holder.' It makes no sense."

Prior to Bernard's spin, Politico's Jake Sherman warned: "There are elements, significant elements within House Republican leadership, that think this is a really bad message. The economy is struggling. Obama's numbers are not where he wants them to be. So why get off message? That's what some people, high-ranking aides and even lawmakers in the House Republican conference, are telling us."

Following Bernard, fill-in host Luke Russert concluded that the President even welcomed the congressional confrontation: "It's another dynamic of Obama versus Congress. Which is a fight that he's actually wanted."

Update:


Here is a transcript of the June 20 exchange:

9:47AM ET

(...)

LUKE RUSSERT: Another story that's sweeping over the Capitol today is this ongoing fight between Eric Holder and Darrell Issa. Eric holder said this yesterday when he was on the Hill.

ERIC HOLDER: I think the ball is in their court. They rejected what I thought was an extraordinary offer on our part.

DARRELL ISSA: Ultimately, the documents necessary to cause a postponement appear to be in their possession.

RUSSERT: Jake, you've been following this story. What's going on here? And more importantly, how does the leadership feel about all this? Are they worried that it distracts from the economy message?

JAKE SHERMAN [POLITICO]: The freight train is going full speed. Contempt vote's going to happen by noon today, we're told, in committee. Then it will head to the full House floor. Speaker John Boehner and Eric Cantor are very cognizant that their conference, that their 242 members want this vote. They're angry at Eric Holder, they don't trust Eric Holder. The interesting dynamic will be – is whether there are documents that come to the Hill before the vote happens on the floor.

There are elements, significant elements within House Republican leadership, that think this is a really bad message. The economy is struggling. Obama's numbers are not where he wants them to be. So why get off message? That's what some people, high-ranking aides and even lawmakers in the House Republican conference, are telling us.

MICHELLE BERNARD [BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN]: You know, Luke, when you – for a different vantage point, when you think about just the damage that has been done over the last year to the GOP's brand, this is just another – adds more fuel to the fire. The economy is in a very, very bad place. We should be talking about job creation. We should be talking about all of the pocketbook issues that matter to Americans. And this is just another thing that I think gives the Obama administration and the Obama campaign a little bit more fuel to go to the American public and say, "Why won't they just do their job? We don't elect members of the Congress to come in and beat up on the Attorney General and be obstructionists. Ask them to do their job and back off of Eric Holder." It makes no sense.

RUSSERT: It's another dynamic of Obama versus Congress.

BERNARD: Exactly.

RUSSERT: Which is a fight that he's actually wanted.

(...)

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