NBC Claims 'Awkward Stumble' for Scott Brown Admiring 'Ultra-Conservative' Justice Scalia

In a report on Tuesday's NBC Today, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell described "awkward stumbles" for Senator Scott Brown and challenger Elizabeth Warren in a Massachusetts senatorial debate on Monday. Brown's supposed stumble was that he "first named an ultra-conservative" Antonin Scalia as an example of "a very good judge" and model Supreme Court justice.

O'Donnell described Warren's stumble being that she named "retiring" Indiana Senator Dick Lugar as a Republican she could work with if elected. In reality, Lugar was defeated by Richard Mourdock in the Republican primary.

At the top of the segment, O'Donnell noted that debate moderator and Meet the Press host David Gregory "took on the candidates' nasty running battle and campaign ad war over whether Warren used her Native American heritage to gain any employment advantage with law school." But that statement assumed Warren ever had any Native American heritage, of which there is no evidence.

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Focusing on Brown again, O'Donnell observed: "To appeal to Democrats, who far outnumber Republicans here, Brown calls himself an independent thinker who works with President Obama...But Warren hit Brown for raising money by tying his reelection to Republicans gaining control of the Senate."


Here is a full transcript of the October 2 report:

7:17AM ET

DAVID GREGORY: Now to Today on the Trail and the high-profile and expensive Senate race in Massachusetts. I moderated a pretty testy debate between the candidates last night, and NBC's Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell was there as well. Kelly, good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Today on the Trail; Brown & Warren Square Off in Massachusetts Debate]

KELLY O'DONNELL: Good morning, David. It was must-see here in Massachusetts. This is the most expensive Senate race. $53 million being spent by just the candidates, who agreed to have no outside groups involved. Now, there were thousands inside the arena, and many more outside here outside. The clash was loud.

CROWD: Go, Scott Brown! Go, Scott Brown!

O'DONNELL: And sometimes angry outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You're delusional!

O'DONNELL: Inside the arena, a tense duel between Republican Senator Scott Brown and Harvard Professor, Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

SCOTT BROWN: Excuse me, I'm not a student in your classroom, please let me respond, okay? Thank you.

O'DONNELL: Led by moderator of Meet the Press David Gregory, who took on the candidates' nasty running battle and campaign ad war...

BROWN: Professor Warren got caught in a lie.

O'DONNELL: ...over whether Warren used her Native American heritage to gain any employment advantage with law school.

GREGORY: Do you consider yourself a minority?

WARREN: I listed myself as Native American. I was listed there. It's part of who I am.

O'DONNELL: Brown argues that Warren has not told voters why she switched between calling herself Native American on applications...

BROWN: She changed her nationality to Native American.

O'DONNELL: ...then later referred to herself as white.

BROWN: At the pinnacle of her success, when she became tenured at Harvard, she then changed back to being white.

GREGORY: Are you hiding something?

WARREN: No, I'm not. I never used it for college, for law school or to get a job.

O'DONNELL: To appeal to Democrats, who far outnumber Republicans here, Brown calls himself an independent thinker who works with President Obama.

BROWN: Of course I'm going to be proud to stand with the President. He is our president, and when he does something well, I praise him.

O'DONNELL: But Warren hit Brown for raising money by tying his reelection to Republicans gaining control of the Senate.

WARREN: When Senator Brown talks here in Massachusetts about how very bipartisan he is and how very independent he is, he's sure not saying the same thing when he goes around the country raising money.

O'DONNELL: Both candidates made awkward stumbles. Warren was asked to name a Republican Senator she could work with.

WARREN: Probably Richard Lugar would be one that would come to mind.

O'DONNELL: Indiana's Dick Lugar is actually retiring.

WARREN: That is a problem.

O'DONNELL: And Brown, who is a lawyer, appeared unprepared for this.

GREGORY: Who's your model Supreme Court justice?

O'DONNELL: After touting bipartisanship, Brown first named an ultra-conservative.

BROWN: Let me see here. That's a great question. I think Justice Scalia is a very good judge, Justice Kennedy.

O'DONNELL: And for Warren, it's a challenge because Massachusetts has never elected a woman to the Senate or as governor. For Brown, with this big election-year turnout in a presidential year, it may be tougher for him as a Republican. David.

GREGORY: Kelly O'Donnell at UMASS Lowell. Thanks very much.

 

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