NBC's Scarborough: DNC Convention Creamed RNC Like Muhammad Ali

Comparing the RNC and DNC conventions on Friday's NBC Today, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough declared a knockout for Democrats: "...if we're going pound for pound, round for round, this wasn't Ali versus Frasier, this was Muhammed Ali versus Chuck Wepner...It was ugly..." The liberal crowd assembled around Scarborough at a bar in Charlotte all cheered and applauded the statement. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Scarborough's boxing reference was to a 1975 fight when Wepner went 15 rounds with the heavyweight champion Ali before losing. On the conventions, he argued that Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton and Joe Biden "all hit home runs...all hit it out of the park," while in Tampa, "you had a Republican convention that was trying to figure out how to love Mitt Romney."

Gushing over the Democrats, Scarborough proclaimed: "You could tell from the first night when Michelle Obama came up there and gave a remarkable speech, one of the best speeches I've heard from a First Lady, that this was going to be a convention that was focused on explaining why Barack Obama made a difference."

He concluded: "It was problematic for a convention in Tampa that just wasn't excited about their nominee. And you felt that in Tampa. But here in Charlotte you certainly, from the first day, felt the love for their nominee."

Earlier in the segment, Today co-host Savannah Guthrie asked Scarborough about President Obama's lackluster acceptance speech Thursday night: "Yesterday we saw a more straightforward approach, we didn't see that swelling oratory. Given the Democrats' task of inspiring enthusiasm among their voters, was that the right call and did he deliver?"

Scarborough admitted that there was nothing "new" in Obama's address, but quickly asserted that it didn't matter: "...they weren't swinging for the fences....they believe they're going to beat Mitt Romney this fall, so they decided they didn't have to take a lot of chances. The President didn't take a lot of chances, but he did what he needed to do."

Scarborough's comparison of the Democratic and Republican conventions echoed chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, who on Tuesday cheered the all-night "passion" of Democrats versus Republicans who "waited for the television cameras to come on."


Here is a full transcript of the September 7 exchange:

7:06AM ET  

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Joe Scarborough is the host of Morning Joe on MSNBC. He's in Charlotte this morning as well. Joe, good morning to you.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Good morning. I'm in Charlotte and I'm in a bar.

GUTHRIE: So situation normal, nothing's different for you, Joe. But let's talk about that speech last night. Obviously Barack Obama landed on the national political scene with that big speech in 2004, four years ago we saw him in Denver speaking to throngs. Yesterday we saw a more straightforward approach, we didn't see that swelling oratory. Given the Democrats' task of inspiring enthusiasm among their voters, was that the right call and did he deliver?

SCARBOROUGH: Well, the President certainly delivered in exciting people inside the convention hall, he delivered in exciting his base. But did we see anything new from Barack Obama last night? Did he give any proposals that would allow him to have a mandate moving  forward after getting elected? No.

But as we were saying on the set beforehand, as Jeff Greenfield was saying before on this set, they weren't swinging for the fences. Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton set this president up well. And they believe they're going to beat Mitt Romney this fall, so they decided they didn't have to take a lot of chances. The President didn't take a lot of chances, but he did what he needed to do. Because this is going to be an election, much like 2004, where you had a president who was below 50%, George W. Bush, and they inspired their base. I think if you just look at it through that lens, then the President did exactly what he needed to do last night.

GUTHRIE: You were obviously were in Charlotte all week, you were in Tampa the week before. Pound for pound, speech for speech, night for night, make a call, who had the better convention and who had the most riding on it?

SCARBOROUGH: Oh, good lord, if we're going pound for pound, round for round, this wasn't Ali versus Frasier, this was Muhammed Ali versus Chuck Wepner.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE FROM CROWD]

It was ugly, you have to be a 70's boxing fan to know that one. But, you know, you could tell from the first night when Michelle Obama came up there and gave a remarkable speech, one of the best speeches I've heard from a First Lady, that this was going to be a convention that was focused on explaining why Barack Obama made a difference. Between Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton, Joe Biden gave a great speech last night. They all hit home runs, they all hit it out of the park.  Where you had a Republican convention that was trying to figure out how to love Mitt Romney. It really was – it was problematic for a convention in Tampa that just wasn't excited about their nominee. And you felt that in Tampa. But here in Charlotte you certainly, from the first day, felt the love for their nominee.

GUTHRIE: Alright, Joe Scarborough in a bar in Charlotte, I'm going to pretend I got that Chuck Wepner reference. Thank you so much, appreciate your time.

SCARBOROUGH: Look that up. Thank you, Savannah.

GUTHRIE: And a programming note, Mitt Romney will be David Gregory's exclusive guest this Sunday on Meet the Press. It's 7:09 now, once again, here's Matt.

MATT LAUER: Savannah, Chuck Wepner, the Bayonne Bleeder. That's a big one, that's a good reference.

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