On her 1 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Monday, host Andrea Mitchell warned that President Obama would endanger his reputation with left-wing environmentalists if he dared to approve the Keystone Pipeline: "It goes very much against the legacy, the climate change legacy of not only Barack Obama, but [Secretary of State] John Kerry has spent his whole life devoted to working on these environmental issues and all of his allies are really against this." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell began by observing that a new State Department report on the proposed oil pipeline "basically said there is going to be a bad effect on climate change whether they build this pipeline or not" and would give "some political cover to the President and Secretary Kerry if they want to go the route of building the pipeline."
On Friday's NBC Nightly News, Mitchell hyped environmentalist opposition to the project and efforts to discredit the newly-released study.
On Monday, Mitchell did acknowledge the political implications of the decision, noting that building the pipeline "would help [Senator Mark] Begich [D-AK], would help [Senator] Mary Landrieu [D-LA], at least two key states" in the 2014 elections.
Appearing on the show, The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza sympathized with the President: "And it's legacy versus sort of pure politics...Because the reality of Keystone for someone like Mary Landrieu for example, or Mark Begich, jobs. That's sort of the bottom line, that it equals jobs....So legacy versus another kind of legacy, which is the House and Senate control and what President Obama did for the down-ballot races, it's obviously not an easy decision."
Before ending the segment, Mitchell made sure to dismiss the notion that the pipeline would create jobs: "By the way, that report also says that only fifty permanent jobs. 3,900 temporary construction jobs, fifty permanent jobs. So this is gonna be debated."