NBC's Todd Frets Over House GOP 'Theatrics' and 'Shenanigans' Before Passage of Fiscal Cliff Deal

On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, hours before the House of Representatives approved a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd wrung his hands over Republican opposition to the lopsided legislation that increased taxes and offered no spending cuts: "I think we're in the last throes of sort of the typical theatrics that have become the norm for Washington over the last couple of years. And there is going to be a few more shenanigans before the night is over." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

That was in response to fill-in anchor Kate Snow observing: "There are some voices out there saying, 'Good for the House Republicans, they're standing on their principles.' But there are also a lot of voices saying, 'How much longer is this going to take?'" Todd lamented: "Well, it may be a new year but old habits are dying hard with this congress." He reiterated: "It could be a real mess. But I do think we're in the last throes of sort of the Washington shenanigans."

When Snow asked about White House reaction to the last-minute wrangling, Todd seemed to absolve President Obama of any responsibility for the situation: "They have been nothing but bystanders today....he is a spectator to all of this, Kate, as he waits to see whether he has any legislation to sign in the next day or two."

Todd also noted how the President's vacation and time on the golf course had been interrupted: "...we caught pictures of a van being loaded up with luggage and golf clubs, presumably maybe it's the President's golf clubs. I think there's been an expectation that this would get done some time today and maybe the President could rejoin his family back in Hawaii."


Here is a full transcript of the January 1 segment:

7:00PM ET TEASE:

KATE SNOW: On the brink. With Congress still unable to make up its mind on the fiscal cliff, tonight, many Americans are asking, "What is going on in Washington?"

7:01PM ET TEASE:

SNOW: It is almost hard to overstate the mess Washington finds itself in tonight and the disbelief many Americans are expressing on this holiday. As Congress fails to agree on taxes and government spending measures that have a direct impact on every single American. This New Year's Day started right after the ball dropped with a lot of hopeful language. The Senate voted after 2:00 a.m. on a bipartisan deal that the President praised. But now, an impasse.

7:04PM ET SEGMENT:

SNOW: Our chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd joins us now. Chuck, there are some voices out there saying, "Good for the House Republicans, they're standing on their principles." But there are also a lot of voices saying, "How much longer is this going to take?"

CHUCK TODD: Well, it may be a new year but old habits are dying hard with this congress. Look, I think we're in the last throes of sort of the typical theatrics that have become the norm for Washington over the last couple of years. And there is going to be a few more shenanigans before the night is over. But they're probably going to end up getting on this – voting on this bill. Now if they don't approve it, do realize, if they don't approve it, the Senate is not going to take up any bill. And that means this entire fiscal cliff mess will not be solved at all. They'll have to start all over with the new congress, which gets sworn in in two days. And by starting all over, it could take weeks and everybody's taxes go up. It doesn't – you know, not just $250,000. Everybody's taxes go up. So it could be a real mess. But I do think we're in the last throes of sort of the Washington shenanigans.

SNOW: And you're standing on the White House lawn, so how is the White House dealing with today's developments?

TODD: They have been nothing but bystanders today. In fact, I think at the beginning of the day, we caught pictures of a van being loaded up with luggage and golf clubs, presumably maybe it's the President's golf clubs. I think there's been an expectation that this would get done some time today and maybe the President could rejoin his family back in Hawaii. But right now, he is a spectator to all of this, Kate, as he waits to see whether he has any legislation to sign in the next day or two.

SNOW: Chuck Todd at the White House tonight, thanks so much.

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