NBC's Lauer to Trump: Are You Happy Romney Moved 'Way Closer to the Center'?

Adopting Obama campaign talking points that Mitt Romney has dramatically shifted positions, on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer asked Donald Trump: "Are you happy with the Romney campaign right now? In the last couple of weeks he has clearly moved toward the center, way closer to the center than he was during the primaries and the early part of the campaign. His comments on abortion out in Ohio." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Trump dismissed any concerns: "I think he's doing amazingly. It started with the debate. We were all a little bit worried for a while. He just knocked it out of the park in the debate, and you look at the polls, he's generally winning." Lauer pressed: "But you think he's the same candidate that you signed on with several months ago?" Trump replied: "I think he's a great candidate and I think he's going to win." Lauer couldn't let it go: "Same candidate?" Trump reiterated: "Yes, I think he's a great candidate."

Lauer's desperate attempt to portray Romney as running to the center came on the heels of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on Wednesday pushing the same Democratic spin: "What Mitt Romney said about abortion that sure sounds like a change."


Here is a transcript of Lauer's October 12 exchange with Trump:

8:10AM ET

MATT LAUER: The Celebrity Apprentice is about to kick off its 13th season here on NBC. And for lucky number 13, Donald Trump is bringing back a group of all-stars from previous seasons. We're going to unveil the cast in just a little while, but first Donald Trump, good morning. Good to see you.

DONALD TRUMP: Good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Trump's Takeaways; The Donald on the Biden-Ryan Debate]

LAUER: You were live-tweeting during the vice presidential debate last night. Your overall impression, who won?

TRUMP: Really very even. Both did a really good job, I have to say. Very different, but both were solid. It was not like the first debate, where actually Mitt was very good and the President had an off night.

LAUER: You know, and can I say, I was a little surprised at your tweets because you are partisan in this.

TRUMP: I am, totally partisan.

LAUER: And I thought you were gonna be kind of pumping Ryan and saying what a great job, and Biden's bad, and you really were very much down the center of the road.

TRUMP: Very much like The Apprentice. I really am fair. I am basically a fair person. I think the Vice President did a great job, and I think both sides really did a good job, and very, very different.

LAUER: Do you think that Joe Biden accomplished what some people said he had to accomplish last night, which was to steady the ship and get momentum, at least either back on the President's side or at least away from Mitt Romney?

TRUMP: I do. He gave it a little energy. And, again, it was very good, two very talented guys, two good guys, but he gave it some energy. The Democrats needed that. I'll tell you what, the President really got beaten by Mitt, and they really needed a boost. So I don't say – you know, it wasn't a victory, but he did stabilize the ship.

LAUER: Are you happy with the Romney campaign right now? In the last couple of weeks he has clearly moved toward the center, way closer to the center than he was during the primaries and the early part of the campaign. His comments on abortion out in Ohio. Are you hearing from Mitt Romney what you want to hear from him right now?

TRUMP: Yes, I am. I think he's doing amazingly. It started with the debate. We were all a little bit worried for a while. He just knocked it out of the park in the debate, and you look at the polls, he's generally winning.

LAUER: But you think he's the same candidate that you signed on with several months ago?

TRUMP: I think he's a great candidate and I think he's going to win.

LAUER: Same candidate?

TRUMP: Yes, I think he's a great candidate.

(...)

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