NBC's Todd Proclaims: Republicans 'In Just as Bad of A Place, if Not Worse' in 2014

Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today to provide his New Year political predictions for 2014, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd assured co-host Savannah Guthrie that despite the ObamaCare disaster, Republicans would be "in just as bad of a place, if not worse than they were." He explained: "It just doesn't look like it right now because of health care." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Todd's wishful thinking was prompted by Guthrie observing: "[Republicans] were widely blamed for the government shutdown. I think they were, in some ways, rescued by the debacle with the ObamaCare rollout because the heat was off them." Todd pushed back: "...they haven't fixed their structural problems....it's a false sense of security....they threw out this whole, 'Okay, we've got to get better with minorities and get better with technology and get better with various issues, not look like we're so anti-woman.' They've made no – they've made no accomplishments on that front. None of it."

When Guthrie raised the possibility of the GOP doing well in the upcoming midterm elections, Todd offered pessimism: "Republicans have to deal with this – their split inside their own party. More than half of Senate Republicans running for re-election have a Tea Party challenger. So they have to get by that. That is what kept them from getting control of the Senate in both 2010 and a little bit in 2012."

While 2013 was littered Obama administration scandals and political setbacks for the Democratic Party, Guthrie began the segment by asserting: "I bet it's fair to say that both Republicans and Democrats are happy to see this year in their rear-view mirror."

Focusing on the President, she sympathetically wondered: "What does he have to do to turn it around and I guess in some sense salvage a second term?"

Todd responded: "It's a two-word answer, it's health care. He's got to fix this. Everything with him is through the prism of this. How he's got to fix it, it's got to work, the perception of it's got to work....He's not going to be able to get anything else done if he doesn't show the public that he's got his arms around this, it's working, and they feel better about it."

Near the end of the exchange, Todd reiterated the idea of Republicans being in just as bad a position as Democrats: "...the public thinks the Republicans don't want to govern and they think the Democrats can't govern....the public can't stand both parties right now. And that's – that's why I can't imagine they're gonna reward one over the other."


Here is a full transcript of the January 1 segment:

7:09AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: And now to politics in this new year. With the President's numbers down and Republicans in Congress fighting each other, it could make for an interesting year and the midterm elections are around the corner. Chuck Todd is our political director and chief White House correspondent. Good morning, Happy New Year to you.

CHUCK TODD: Happy New Year.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Politics and Predictions; Looking Ahead to 2014]

GUTHRIE: Well, I bet it's fair to say that both Republicans and Democrats are happy to see this year in their rear-view mirror.

TODD: Bad year.

GUTHRIE: Let's talk about the President. I mean, in your last poll, he had his highest disapproval rating ever. What does he have to do to turn it around and I guess in some sense salvage a second term?

TODD: It's a two-word answer, it's health care. He's got to fix this. Everything with him is through the prism of this. How he's got to fix it, it's got to work, the perception of it's got to work. You know, what's interesting is that there's every chance the economy is gonna get better and that it's gonna help – that it should help him. But what's interesting is even as people are feeling better about the economy, they're not attaching it to the President and it's all because right now health care dominates everything. He's not going to be able to get anything else done if he doesn't show the public that he's got his arms around this, it's working, and they feel better about it. Until that happens, nothing changes.

GUTHRIE: Let's talk about the Republicans. They were widely blamed for the government shutdown. I think they were, in some ways, rescued by the debacle with the ObamaCare rollout because the heat was off them. Do you think they end the year in a better position, though?

TODD: I don't, actually, because they haven't fixed their structural problems. All they have done is simply they're not the President when it comes to health care. And so, if they're not careful, it's a false sense of security. They may survive this year and then get shellacked again in 2016 if they're not careful. You remember the Republican Party did this whole like, "What happened?" and they threw out this whole, "Okay, we've got to get better with minorities and get better with technology and get better with various issues, not look like we're so anti-woman." They've made no – they've made no accomplishments on that front. None of it. No – so I think that they're in just as bad of a place, if not worse than they were. It just doesn't look like it right now because of health care.

GUTHRIE: Well, the first real test of this will be the congressional midterms. The President's party usually loses seats in an off year. Can the Republicans take back control of the Senate and how does the House look to you?

TODD: Well, first of all, Republicans have to deal with this – their split inside their own party. More than half of Senate Republicans running for re-election have a Tea Party challenger. So they have to get by that. That is what kept them from getting control of the Senate in both 2010 and a little bit in 2012. So this has been an issue for them and so they have to get their intra-party stuff behind them.

But I think the wildcard here is gonna be the economy. We know health care's a problem, we know this idea that the public thinks the Republicans don't want to govern and they think the Democrats can't govern. The question's gonna be, if the economy improves, what does that do? Does that help Democrats? I don't know, I certainly think it helps a whole bunch of governors, whether they're Democrat or Republican, it could help them. And I think that's the wildcard issue. Because the public can't stand both parties right now. And that's – that's why I can't imagine they're gonna reward one over the other.

GUTHRIE: Very quickly, I'm going to ask for a ten-second answer. Will we be talking about Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie as the front-runners for the presidential race this time next year?

TODD: Hillary Clinton, yes. I assume we'll have a new Republican front-runner. Remember, the beginning of last year, the hot name was a guy named Marco Rubio.

GUTHRIE: I remember that. Chuck Todd, thank you so much and Happy New Year.

TODD: Happy New Year.

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