David Gregory's Liberal Tenure at 'Meet the Press': More Mouthpiece Than Moderator

Filling in as host of NBC's August 17 Meet the Press, Andrea Mitchell looked back at departing moderator David Gregory's years anchoring the broadcast. The tribute followed Thursday's announcement that Gregory was being replaced by political director Chuck Todd and leaving the network. The switch marked the end of a tenure in which Gregory behaved more like a Democratic Party spokesman than an objective news anchor. Perhaps that contributed to the faltering ratings of the Sunday talk show on his watch.

Unlike his predecessor, the late Tim Russert, Gregory failed to be the tough-but-fair newsman who grilled all guests equally, no matter their party affiliation. Instead he played favorites, smearing Republicans like Paul Ryan as uncaring towards the poor while teeing up Democrats like Congressman John Lewis to attack conservatives as resentful racists. Here is a sampling of some of Gregory's most liberal quotes at the helm of Meet the Press:

Seeing 'Resentment and Fear' in 'Racially-Tinged' Opposition to Obama

"We've talked over the years, and you told me about a year and a half ago, in your view, a lot of people can't get comfortable with the idea of an African American President, even though what a testament to the progress and the dream that Dr. King had. And you even said during your speech yesterday, 'There are forces, there are people who want to take us back.' What specifically are you talking about?...Do you see some of the same trappings of resentment and fear in our modern-day politics? Is that what you're warning of when you see some of those forces coming back?"
– Moderator David Gregory to Democratic Congressman John Lewis on NBC's Meet the Press, August 25, 2013. [Listen to the audio. Read the original item]

Clip of Newt Gingrich: "You want to be a country that creates food stamps, in which case, frankly, Obama is an enormous success - the most successful food stamp President in American history. Or do you want to be a country that creates paychecks?"
David Gregory, to Gingrich: "First of all, you gave a speech in Georgia with language a lot of people think could be coded racially-tinged language, calling the President, the first black President, a 'food stamp President.'...What did you mean? What was the point?"
Meet the Press, May 15, 2011. [Read the original item]

"House Speaker Pelosi worried about the opposition, the tone of it, perhaps leading to violence as it did in the '70s. There's more recent examples of anti-government violence - occurring even in the mid-'90s. Do you worry about that?"
– Gregory to Obama on Meet the Press, September 20, 2009. [Read the original item]

 

'Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy' Now Going After Obama

David Gregory: "Your wife famously talked about the vast right-wing conspiracy targeting you. As you look at this opposition on the right to President Obama, is it still there?"
Former President Bill Clinton: "Oh, you bet. Sure it is."
Meet the Press, September 27, 2009. [Listen to the audio. Read the original item]

"We've talked before. I've asked you about the – the fact that Washington doesn't work very well right now, and hasn't for now a number of years that coincides with – Obama-Biden being in the White House. And you've been very critical of Republicans. Do you think that there is a modern right-wing conspiracy that has aligned against this President?"
– Gregory to Vice President Biden on Meet the Press, May 6, 2012. [Read the original item]

 

Pressuring GOP to Jettison Their 'Core Beliefs'

"Isn't this more than tone that's an issue? Isn't it more than re-branding? Isn't it some of the central beliefs of the Republican Party that have hurt it with the electorate?...There are core beliefs of the Republican Party that the polls show were rejected by a national electorate that you want to try to recapture some of, if you’re going to get to become a national party."
– Gregory to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Meet the Press, February 10, 2013. [Listen to the audio. Read the original item]

"The [Republican] party has got to find a way to reach out to Latinos, the fastest growing voting bloc, to become a more diverse party with the ability to shed some of the orthodoxy around taxes, around spending, over the role of government, and this process is going to begin this morning, the soul-searching and redefinition."
– Gregory talking about the election returns on Today, November 7, 2012. [Listen to the audio. Read the original item]

 

Would GOP Reject 'Liberal' Ronald Reagan?

"You're sitting at the Reagan Library as we talk today, and yet the President you speak of, and so many conservatives do, raised taxes, was for immigration reform, that a lot of modern-day conservatives would find quite distasteful. Could he exist? Could he get elected in today's Republican Party? Or would he be seen as a liberal?"
– Gregory to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush during an online "Press Pass" segment, March 10, 2013. [Listen to the audio. Read the original item]

 

Can't Fault Obama's 'Very Successful' Foreign Policy

"I don't think the Republican nominee for President really feels like that is the most vulnerable area for President Obama. His foreign policy by a lot of accounts has been very successful, particularly on the war on terror, and I think they want to focus on the economy."
– Gregory on Today, November 13, 2011. [Read the original item]

"This is a leadership moment for the President. And at a time when government can't do a lot about the economy, it's certainly a time when he's accomplishing a lot, the President is, in foreign policy....If you look at this Republican debate, and this series of debates, there has been the betrayal of a lack of understanding in foreign policy in some sections of these debates that is stunning to a lot of people...This is a President who has been tested now repeatedly in that arena, and I think it's something that he'll try to use as a club against Republicans in the debate."
– Gregory on Today, October 23, 2011. [Listen to the audio. Read the original item]

 

Where's Obama's Credit for "Rebounding" Economy?

"The issue of the economy is a big one. Do you ever wonder why the President doesn't get more credit for an economy that is rebounding? Is there – what's the disconnect there?"
– Gregory to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on Meet the Press, February 2, 2014. [Read the original item]

Anchor Brian Williams: "How much longer do we put up with, you know, a decade of pessimism about our direction? What's going to happen?"
David Gregory: "Well, and it's so interesting because, look, the economy's getting better. That's what this President had to do. He had to make the economy better. And, yet he's not getting a lot of credit for it."
– During live coverage of the State of the Union, January 28. [Listen to the audio. Read the original item]

 

Uncaring Paul Ryan Lacks 'Sympathy' for the Poor

David Gregory: "Let's talk about your own attitudes about people who are poor and their views on government. You were on this program in January of last year and you said the following:"
Clip of Paul Ryan from January 27, 2013: "We don't want a dependency culture. Our concern in this country is with the idea that more and more able-bodied people are becoming dependent on the government than upon themselves for their livelihoods."
Gregory: "It doesn't sound like there's a lot of sympathy for people you think need the government's help."
– Setting up a question to Ryan on Meet the Press, July 27, 2014. [Read the original item]

 

It's a 'Falsehood' that Tax Hikes Hurt Economic Growth?

"The notion that tax cuts or tax increases somehow impact economic growth, we know historically that's simply not the case. President Clinton raised taxes during boom times. President Bush lowered taxes, did not spur great job creation. Isn't that one of the falsehoods that's peddled in Washington?"
– Gregory to Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist on Meet the Press, November 27, 2011. [Listen to the audio. Read the original item]

 

In NBC's World, It's Controversial to Be Pro-Constitution

Dr. Ben Carson: "I think government in the right way, when it understands what it's supposed to do, is excellent. I would love to have a government that placed the Constitution of the United States at the highest level. And-"
David Gregory: "But how does it – there are some people who say that. That's a very highly charged thing to say. Where is the Constitution not placed in the right level today?"
– Exchange on post-Meet the Press Web-based "Press Pass" segment, June 1, 2014. [Listen to the audio. Read the original item]

 

Agitating for Romney to 'Infuriate Conservatives'

"Are you prepared to cut a deal with Democrats that would cause conservatives to revolt? Is it that important to get a deal to get us away from this fiscal cliff?...But are you going to, will you cut a deal to compromise even if it risks a conservative revolt?"
– Gregory to Mitt Romney on Meet the Press, September 9, 2012. [Listen to the audio. Read the original item]

"He [Mitt Romney] knows he's going to have to make tough choices if he becomes President, that he would indeed have to infuriate conservatives on some of these budget deals."
– Gregory on Today, September 10, 2012.

 

Pushing the Liberal Talking Points Obama Forgot

"I mean, the President made a decision not to get in Romney's face a little bit more. Stop him, disagree with him. He didn't bring up the 47 percent! He had a whole, you know, area to discuss the role of government and he didn't talk about a philosophical divide!"
– Gregory during post-debate coverage, October 3, 2012. [Read the original item]

 

Bristling at Accurate Account of Obama's Record

Representative Michele Bachmann: "It's absolutely irresponsible what President Obama is doing to get behind measures to, to increase spending to such a level that we're going into debt $1.5 trillion every year. This compares to President George Bush. Back in 2007, our debt for the entire year was $160 billion."
David Gregory: "Congresswoman, that just misstates the record."
Bachmann: "Well, we topped that just in the month of November alone."
Gregory: "I mean, the Bush presidency, the-"
Bachmann: "There's no comparison. We're talking-"
Gregory: "-the, the debt — wait a minute, Congresswoman."
Bachmann: "David, let me just finish."
Gregory: "No, wait a minute. I just want to stop you for accuracy."
Bachmann: "Let me just finish. We're talking-"
Gregory: "For accuracy, Congresswoman."
Bachmann: "-we're talking 10 times."
Gregory: "For accuracy, the debt exploded under the Bush administration."
Meet the Press, December 18, 2011. In fact, the federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2007 was $162.8 billion; the annual deficit for the just-completed fiscal year 2011 was $1.299 trillion, an eight-fold increase over four years. [Listen to the audio. Read the original item]

 

Five-to-Four ObamaCare Supreme Court Decision: 'Nightmare Scenario' or 'Big Step'?

"What happens if it is struck down in part or in whole by a 5-to-4 decision? Would that not underscore how dysfunctional our government is, the major institutions of our government are? That is a real nightmare scenario, I think, for the political class in this country."
– Gregory on Today, June 28, 2012, hours before the ObamaCare Supreme Court ruling.

                                                                                                   vs.

"[John Roberts] has spoken publicly about how on big controversial decisions, he thinks a 5-4 majority on the Court, over time, undermines the Supreme Court and only fuels the view that our major political institutions are too polarized. He's taken a big step here. He's going to be cheered for that by some on the Right and the Left, criticized I'm sure, as well, by some on Right."
– Gregory during live coverage later that morning, after the Chief Justice led a 5-4 majority to uphold ObamaCare. [Listen to the audio. Read the original item]

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