NBC's Roker Claims: 'Ronald Reagan Probably Would Be Seen Almost Liberally Today'

During a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today about a new survey on how Americans view the 1980s, co-host Willie Geist noted an interesting political finding: "If a presidential election were held today, according to this survey, 58% would vote for Ronald Reagan over President Barack Obama." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Weatherman Al Roker couldn't let that data be reported without putting his own spin on it: "But the interesting thing is a lot of people probably – I mean Ronald Reagan probably would be seen almost liberally today as opposed to being a conservative. I mean, he did a lot of great things. But, I mean, things have shifted." Geist agreed: "Relative to what you see now, absolutely."

Perhaps Roker was simply following the liberal talking points promoted by Meet the Press moderator David Gregory in a March 10 interview with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush:

Isn't it interesting though, you're sitting at the Reagan Library as we talk today, and yet the president you speak of and so many conservatives do, raised taxes, was for immigration reform, that a lot of modern-day conservatives would – would find quite distasteful. Could he exist? Could he get elected in today's Republican Party? Or would he be seen as a liberal?

Geist started Tuesday's Today segment by citing another finding from the survey that suggested why Americans would support Reagan over Obama: "Three in four Americans today thought our country was better off in the '80s than it is now. Three in four." News reader Natalie Morales chimed in: "I'd agree."


Here is a transcript of the April 9 exchange:

9:03AM ET

WILLIE GEIST: We're having a little bit of an '80s party in here.

NATALIE MORALES: Let's invoke the '80s.

AL ROKER: Now, why? Why the '80s?

GEIST: Here's why, good question. National Geographic Channel and Kelton Research Survey asking Americans about their affection for the 1980s. This is timed to a premiere on Sunday about a series, a mini-series National Geographic is doing about the '80s.

Here are some of the findings. Three in four Americans today thought our country was better off in the '80s than it is now. Three in four.

MORALES: I'd agree.

GEIST: If a presidential election were held today, according to this survey, 58% would vote for Ronald Reagan over President Barack Obama.

AL ROKER: But the interesting thing is a lot of people probably – I mean Ronald Reagan probably would be seen almost liberally today...

SUNNY ANDERSON [CHEF]: Totally.

MORALES: Right.

ROKER: ...as opposed to being a conservative. I mean, he did a lot of great things. But, I mean, things have shifted.

GEIST: Relative to what you see now, absolutely.

(...)

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