NBC Hype: 'Bitter Fight' Over Immigration 'Pitting Republican Versus Republican'

Introducing a report on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer announced "a significant breakthrough in a bitter fight on Capitol Hill," followed by correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declaring that "immigration is pitting Republican versus Republican."

O'Donnell explained that Senate lawmakers "worked late into the night writing a new version of immigration reform with more border security," noting how, "Democrats want to get something passed with a dozen or more Republicans, and that's the hard part."

After a sound bite played of Louisiana Senator David Vitter voicing concern over granting amnesty to illegal immigrants without adequate border enforcement, another clip ran of Arizona Senator John McCain shouting on the Senate floor: "The fact are that 11 million people live in the shadows and they live here in defacto amnesty! And by God, they are being exploited every single day!"

In another sound bite – seemingly responding to calls for assurances of border security – South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham ranted: "If you hire the border patrol agents and you put them on the border, they're not going to read a comic book. They're going to do their job. You don't need to prove to me they're going to do their job..."

The final GOP sound bite was of Texas Senator John Cornyn: "People tell me they simply don't trust the federal government when it comes to securing our boarders. And why would they?"

Interesting how Republicans get plenty of air time on NBC when they're fighting each other.

On Thursday's Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams eagerly touted: "A compromise on border security, this one has the potential to garner overwhelming support in the Senate." O'Donnell observed: "What the Senate is working on could bring about some of the biggest political and cultural change we've seen in the past 30 years. So anything that big is hard to achieve. But today there feels like a momentum shift that is intended to bring along more Republican support."


Here is a full transcript of O'Donnell's June 21 report on Today:

7:07AM ET

MATT LAUER: Now to what be – could be a significant breakthrough in a bitter fight on Capitol Hill. Tamron Hall has details on that, she's in for Natalie. Tamron, good morning to you.

TAMRON HALL: Hey there, Matt, on Capitol Hill immigration reform is the focus again today as lawmakers inch toward a possible agreement in the Senate. NBC's Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell has more for us. Kelly, good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Immigration Battle; Inching Toward an Agreement?]

KELLY O'DONNELL: Good morning, Tamron. They worked late into the night writing a new version of immigration reform with more border security. Democrats want to get something passed with a dozen or more Republicans, and that's the hard part. Always a hot political issue, but now immigration is pitting Republican versus Republican. One fight is over when and how undocumented immigrants, already here, could gain legal status and eventual citizenship.

DAVID VITTER [SEN. R-LA]: It is an immediate amnesty, an immediate legalization, and then this attempt at enforcement after that. We need to fundamentally reverse that order.

JOHN MCCAIN [SEN. R-AZ]: The fact are that 11 million people live in the shadows and they live here in defacto amnesty! And by God, they are being exploited every single day!

O'DONNELL: Another fight is over border security. A new Senate proposal intended to win over more Republican votes would build more border fence and deploy another 20,000 border agents.

LINDSEY GRAHAM [SEN. R-SC]: If you hire the border patrol agents and you put them on the border, they're not going to read a comic book. They're going to do their job. You don't need to prove to me they're going to do their job, you just need to get them on the border so they can do their job.

JOHN CORNYN [SEN. R-TX]: People tell me they simply don't trust the federal government when it comes to securing our boarders. And why would they?

O'DONNELL: There is more work to do. Backers of this plan say they will also tighten restraints on visas and electronic proof of citizenship for workers. All of this will be voted on next week. Tamron.

HALL: Alright, Kelly, thank you.

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