NBC's Mitchell Fawns Over 'Master at Work' Nancy Pelosi Helping 'Save the Country'

Teasing an upcoming softball interview with Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell wondered: "Does she now hold all the cards after President Obama says the Speaker has lost control?" Mitchell later introduced Pelosi by proclaiming: "John Boehner is gonna have to turn to the Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to save the country from default, to put up Democratic votes to get this [budget deal] through." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Near the end of the friendly exchange, Pelosi credited her Senate counterpart for the deal: "I never saw anything like what Harry Reid did. To watch him was to watch a master at work. He was superb, intellectually, politically astute." Mitchell seized on that comment to make a sycophantic segue: "Speaking of masters at work, you have just been inducted, as I understand it, into the Women's Hall of Fame, which is such a high honor. So congratulations to you. "

Pelosi replied: "I'm so thrilled. I'm so thrilled. Thank you for mentioning that." Mitchell gushed: "I mean that's one very special thing that has happened in the midst of all this. We should not let it pass unmentioned or unnoticed."

Beyond her adoration for Pelosi, Mitchell also bashed Republicans for their principled opposition to ObamaCare throughout the government shutdown: "...what have we learned about leading through crisis, about shutting down the government, threats, extraneous issues being attached?...Have you ever seen anything quite like this, a battle over what most people felt was nothing, nothing relevant to the issues at hand?"

That teed up Pelosi to slam the GOP:

I think that Republicans even forgot what they were shutting down government for. But I was here in the '90s and I saw that series of events that shut down government. Which was what? About saving face for the Speaker at the time because he didn't like a seat he got on a plane. So that was terrible. But it's the same breed of cat that it wants to reduce the role of government. So if you shut it down, no problem. And then they went on to impeach the President, President Clinton. So there is – there was an echo of an earlier period when something like this happened.

But this really was unnecessary. It's unfortunate that it happened. Hopefully there are lessons learned. I think part of it is they don't want our president to have the successes that our country needs. So this is one way of standing in the way of that.

Earlier on the 1 p.m. ET hour show, Mitchell touted how the proposed deal in Congress would end the "American horror story" and "national nightmare" of the shutdown. Talking to Time magazine's Mark Halperin, Mitchell ranted: "ObamaCare is not part of this, you know, other than the verification. The debt ceiling is extended. The spending continuing resolution is extended to January 15th. What have they [Republicans] won after putting the country through this misery?"


Here is a full transcript of Mitchell's October 16 interview with Pelosi:

1:00PM ET TEASE:

ANDREA MITCHELL: We'll talk to Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Does she now hold all the cards after President Obama says the Speaker has lost control?

BARACK OBAMA: There have been repeated situations where we have agreements, then he goes back and it turns out that he can't control his caucus. So the challenge here is can you deliver on agreements that are made?

1:31PM ET SEGMENT:

MITCHELL: House Speaker John Boehner is gonna have to turn to the Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to save the country from default, to put up Democratic votes to get this through. Leader Pelosi joins me now.

This is a situation that I don't think any of us have ever seen, where the Speaker of the House has completely lost control of the votes to put something up. They tried another proposal yesterday. What is gonna happen later today, assuming that the Senate votes on the deal that has been described?

REP. NANCY PELOSI [D-HOUSE MINORITY LEADER]: Well, assuming that the Senate will act in a timely fashion, we will hopefully receive the bill this evening, the agreement this evening, that the Speaker has enabled his people to have their say, to let off steam, to sew their oats, and – as the leader of that caucus – and now as the Speaker of the House will allow the House to work its will in a responsible way.

MITCHELL: How many Democratic votes do you think you're gonna have to put up for him?

PELOSI: Well, we'll see what he puts up. We'll see what he puts up. But nonetheless, suffice to say, when we receive the legislation – be that tonight or tomorrow morning, I hope it's tonight – the bill will pass.

MITCHELL: And with this episode closed, presumably, what have we learned about leading through crisis, about shutting down the government, threats, extraneous issues being attached? Are we gonna face this again on February 6th as we go into the next deadline on the debt ceiling?

PELOSI: Well, I hope not. Because as we are pleased with what has happened in the Senate, that they came to terms and convinced the Speaker that we should take this up in the House – which is something we've been suggesting for a while. But it's really a sad state of affairs, that government would be shut down now for 16 days, that the full faith and credit of the United States of America would be in doubt, even for a moment. So it has taken its toll.

And one of – what could come out of it is that however enthusiastic we are about our issues and our point of view, that we don't hold the government hostage and the full faith and credit of the United States hostage. I think that hopefully that lesson was learned. It shouldn't have been anything that needed to be learned, but hopefully we've crossed that because the American people are fully aware of the consequences.

MITCHELL: This is basically a clean continuing resolution. Why do you think John Boehner did not bring it to the floor 16 days ago?

PELOSI: I don't know. You really would have to ask him. I think the unrest in his caucus – and actually I don't – they would come up with ideas that they never had the votes for. And we kept saying, we can end this in five minutes on any one of these days that the government has been shut down, or even the days before leading up to it, we could have ended this in five minutes by passing the bill that passed in the Senate and was sent over to the House. They went to extraordinary lengths, including even changing the rules of the House, so we could not exercise our prerogative to bring it up as the minority.

But nonetheless, we're here now. And it's about how we go into the future. And how we go into the future has to be about how we create jobs, and as we go to the budget table, how do we create growth, how do we create jobs, how do we do so in a manner that says we respect each other's positions, but that doesn't mean you have a right to shut down government.

Now, we still have – I would have liked, in this agreement, for the lifting of the debt ceiling to go way beyond February, for at least another year. But hopefully good faith negotiations will take us to a place where we're not subjecting the American people, our economy, our reputation in the world, to what just happened.

MITCHELL: The White House has said that everything is on the table in these budget talks that will start on December 13th. There's gonna be a conference.

PELOSI: That's right. It may start today. It ends December 13th.

MITCHELL: Oh, I'm sorry. There's a deadline of December 13th. The budget conference is starting right now with Patty Murray and Paul Ryan and their conferees?

PELOSI: Well, in the next – maybe in the next hour – but in the next days, yes, so that it would be finished in time.

MITCHELL: And so with that, will Democrats and the liberal wing of the Democratic Party go along with entitlement reform or cuts? How much is on the table, as far as you're concerned?

PELOSI: Well, when the President says everything's on the table, it is. But as the Republicans are always challenging, "Will the Democrats – will the Democrats make any changes in entitlements?" We have and we can. But you cannot go to the table and say, we're going to reduce the deficit by focusing on entitlements if you want to take revenue off the table.

I believe that the Republicans have been comfortable using – challenging us on entitlements, but if we ever accepted their offer, we would have to accept it with revenue involved, with increased revenue coming in.

Why should granny, and I being a granny, why should granny – who's in a less economic beneficial situation than I am – why should granny pay the price when we won't even touch one hair on the head of the wealthiest people in our country? It has to be balanced. And it is something that we want to subject every dollar we spend to the harshest scrutiny so that we know that we're getting our money's worth and that the people are well served.

And that includes tax expenditures too, with all of these tax loopholes that are there benefitting special interests. And saying rather than addressing those at the same time as we look at how to make our entitlements work better for people, they're saying only one side of it but don't go any near tax breaks.

MITCHELL: Do you think John Boehner's speakership can survive this crisis?

PELOSI: Sure, sure. He's a decent fellow. He has done the right thing, at long last he has done the right thing, by having this come up on the floor of the House.

We've had moments where we've depended on the Republicans to do something. For example, the TARP bill five years ago, where the market went down 775 points or 78 points in one day because the Republicans refused to support their president, George Bush. Democrats had to produce the votes. So we have to recognize there's a difference of opinion in our country on the role of governance.

And right now you saw that they would – they would let the TARP go down the first time. We had to produce many more votes the second time, 170 votes. This time they allowed two weeks of uncertainty and definite shutting of government down. This isn't right. So at least we have to respect the responsibility that we have.

President Washington, when he left office, he cautioned against political parties which were at war with their own government. And that's really what we have here, a group of people who want to shrink, shrink, shrink. We don't want anymore government than we need, but we have to have – we have to have cops on the beat and referees on the field in terms of regulating what goes on in our country, whether it's the air we breathe, the water we drink, the safety of the food for our children, and the rest.

MITCHELL: You've been around here a long time, as have I. Have you ever seen anything quite like this, a battle over what most people felt was nothing, nothing relevant to the issues at hand?

PELOSI: I think that Republicans even forgot what they were shutting down government for. But I was here in the '90s and I saw that series of events that shut down government. Which was what? About saving face for the Speaker at the time because he didn't like a seat he got on a plane. So that was terrible. But it's the same breed of cat that it wants to reduce the role of government. So if you shut it down, no problem. And then they went on to impeach the President, President Clinton. So there is – there was an echo of an earlier period when something like this happened.

But this really was unnecessary. It's unfortunate that it happened. Hopefully there are lessons learned. I think part of it is they don't want our president to have the successes that our country needs. So this is one way of standing in the way of that.

But you know what? We're on a new path now. We have an agreement. We're going to pass it – it's going to pass in the Senate. We're going to pass it in the House. I can't believe that that many Republicans will vote against opening government and lifting the debt ceiling, but we'll see. We'll see in a few hours, or maybe tomorrow morning.

But whatever it is, we have to use it as a template on how we go forward, recognizing that this was an opportunity cost of time. We could have been talking about jobs, farm bill, immigration, any number of issues that need to be addressed.

And I commend the Speaker for coming around to bringing it to the floor. I salute – I never saw anything like what Harry Reid did. To watch him was to watch a master at work. He was superb, intellectually, politically astute. And just the sheer stamina of it all. And it was a sign of the respect that his members have for him.

MITCHELL: Speaking of masters at work, you have just been inducted, as I understand it, into the Women's Hall of Fame, which is such a high honor. So congratulations to you.

PELOSI: I'm so thrilled. I'm so thrilled. Thank you for mentioning that.

MITCHELL: I mean that's one very special thing that has happened in the midst of all this. We should not let it pass unmentioned or unnoticed.

PELOSI: Well, I thank you for that. And when I was there, we talked about when women succeed, America succeeds. How to make respect for women in the workplace something that increases our GDP as it improves our families and our country.

MITCHELL: Here and around the world. Thank you very much.

PELOSI: Thank you. My pleasure.

MITCHELL: Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

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