NBC's Todd Excuses Obama's Poor Speech Performance: Crowd Too Small, 'It Was Hot'

Appearing on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on Wednesday, NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd came up with a long list of excuses for President Obama's poor speech performance in Berlin: "I want to give you a little context here....there was an attempt to shrink the crowd size....Maybe they would have gotten 25, 30, 40,000 people....President Obama feeds off a crowd very well." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Todd then grasped at other reasons for the lackluster event: "...you had that very distracting glass and you could just see that the President himself wasn't feeding off of the crowd. And I think look, part of it, it was hot. Those folks were out there for two and a half hours...it can sap your energy a little bit. And I just wonder if that added a little bit to this."

On the crowd size question, Todd observed:

Now the White House was all too comfortable with allowing that to happen because they feared they could never live up to the billing of what happened five years ago, that they could never recreate another 250,000 people showing up....But if you were going to talk about the optics, you can't help but wonder, even if it was just 25,000 people, and maybe they would have taken all the ridiculing that some on the Right would have said, "Oh, look, he can't get 250,000 people," the energy that it would have given the President while he's giving his remarks, you know, would have been, I'm sure, something that some in the White House would have loved to see.

Here is a transcript of Todd's June 19 remarks to host Andrea Mitchell:

1:21PM ET

(...)

ANDREA MITCHELL: The appearance five years ago, which I covered during the campaign, when he went and gave that very, you know, incredible speech, because of the crowd size and all the rest of it in 2008. And that led to the McCain campaign celebrity ad, where they ridiculed the President for giving this speech. So what was the contrast to today?

CHUCK TODD: Well, it – let give you a little context here-

MITCHELL: We're showing a little bit of that ad, by the way.

CHUCK TODD: Yeah. I want to give you a little context here. This was Merkel inviting the President to do this. This isn't – you know sometimes you hear that and you think, "Oh, that's BS. That's the White House really asked the Germans to ask the President," and all this stuff. In this case, I think it's real. This is an election year in Germany, the President's personally very popular, Angela Merkel standing next to the American President on a big stage with the world watching is good politics for her. Again, an election year in Germany.

But not wanting to see – be seen as politicizing it too much there was an attempt to shrink the crowd size. Now the White House was all too comfortable with allowing that to happen because they feared they could never live up to the billing of what happened five years ago, that they could never recreate another 250,000 people showing up. Maybe they would have gotten 25, 30, 40,000 people.

Now, what I noticed in following this president for as long as I have – and you probably know exactly what I mean – is President Obama feeds off a crowd very well. The way this was all put together, you have this incredible setting, this incredible backdrop, and then you had that very distracting glass and you could just see that the President himself wasn't feeding off of the crowd.

And I think look, part of it, it was hot. Those folks were out there for two and a half hours, trust me, I was along there with them. And so, it can sap your energy a little bit. And I just wonder if that added a little bit to this.

Obviously it was a serious speech, serious in tone. But if you were going to talk about the optics, you can't help but wonder, even if it was just 25,000 people, and maybe they would have taken all the ridiculing that some on the Right would have said, "Oh, look, he can't get 250,000 people," the energy that it would have given the President while he's giving his remarks, you know, would have been, I'm sure, something that some in the White House would have loved to see.

(...)

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