At the top of Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer gushed over Vice President Biden doing a series of photo-ops while swearing in newly elected senators on Thursday: "Joe Biden welcomes lawmakers and their families to Washington like only he can." In a later report, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell glossed over several awkward moments caused by Biden: "There was certainly a lot of charm being poured on by the Vice President." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A few minutes later, fill-in news reader Willie Geist played a brief montage of some of the especially odd comments by Biden, including the Vice President telling the husband of one senator, "Spread your legs; you're going to be frisked," and declaring after looking a woman up and down, "holy mackerel."
Despite John Boehner receiving overwhelming support from the Republican caucus to be reelected as Speaker of the House, NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell hyped dissension in the ranks on Friday's NBC Today: "After a turbulent few weeks of setbacks that had cast doubt on his power and influence, a dozen rebellious conservatives turned against him, but Boehner had enough votes."
On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, O'Donnell proclaimed: "John Boehner's path to a second term as Speaker of the House has been rocky. But there was no challenge, only a handful of conservatives voted against him." That morning, Today co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed a "civil war" among Republicans over a Hurricane Sandy relief bill.
In a pair of back-to-back stories leading off Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, House Republicans were painted as villains for briefly delaying a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief. First, Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "Stunned Democrats and Republicans could not believe that their hometown suffering could be ignored."
In the next report, correspondent Anne Thompson decried the move: "Where the reminders of Sandy are still all too vivid, today frustration turned to fury....the House of Representatives' failure to vote is just one more body blow."
At the top of Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer teased an upcoming interview with New York Congressman Peter King by seizing on House GOP disagreement over when to schedule a vote on a Hurricane Sandy relief bill: "...fresh off the fiscal cliff fight, the Republican Party appears in the throes of a civil war. This morning, we'll talk to an outspoken GOP congressman who urged voters in his district not contribute to Republican campaigns." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the exchange that followed, Lauer eagerly quoted King: "You said that Speaker Boehner had a, quote, 'Dismissive and cavalier attitude toward New York and New Jersey.' And you went further, you said, 'Republicans have no trouble finding New York when it comes to raising money. And I would just say to anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to Congressional Republicans after this should have their head examined.'"
After worrying on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News about possible House GOP "shenanigans" preventing a fiscal cliff deal, on Monday's Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd breathed a sign of relief: "...this 112th Congress does leave us today, and some people say finally leaves us today....it began with a threat of a government shutdown just two months into this congress. And then, of course, we had the debt ceiling showdown. Then it culminated with this fiscal cliff..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Picking up on Todd's rant against Congress, co-host Matt Lauer eagerly quoted New York Times columnist David Brooks: "If Congress couldn't make a single tough decision under these circumstances, why should we think it'll make any further down the road? More likely, there will just be more squabbling and brinkmanship, more posturing and punting, which could not only poison future budget talks, but also prospects for immigration reform, tax reform, gun control and many other projects."
Neither Todd nor Lauer laid any blame on President Obama for the contentious atmosphere in Washington.
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, hours before the House of Representatives approved a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd wrung his hands over Republican opposition to the lopsided legislation that increased taxes and offered no spending cuts: "I think we're in the last throes of sort of the typical theatrics that have become the norm for Washington over the last couple of years. And there is going to be a few more shenanigans before the night is over." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That was in response to fill-in anchor Kate Snow observing: "There are some voices out there saying, 'Good for the House Republicans, they're standing on their principles.' But there are also a lot of voices saying, 'How much longer is this going to take?'" Todd lamented: "Well, it may be a new year but old habits are dying hard with this congress." He reiterated: "It could be a real mess. But I do think we're in the last throes of sort of the Washington shenanigans."
During a segment on Monday's NBC Nightly News supposedly devoted to tackling the issue of mental health in the wake of the Newtown school shooting, NBC chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman instead used the opportunity to tout more anti-gun rhetoric: "One person who we spoke with....and I'm going to quote him, he says, 'It's easier to get an assault rifle today in the United States than it is to get adequate mental health care, and that's wrong.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Snyderman followed the provocative statement by declaring: "And I think, speaking on behalf of parents like you and me and American citizens, you cannot disagree with that statement, Brian." Anchor Brian Williams replied: "That's a heck of a powerful quote."
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams was eager to seize on any perceived momentum for greater gun control in the wake of Friday's school shooting: "The President said he would use the power of his office to prevent more gun tragedies, and tonight he is being joined by a growing number of prominent voices."
In the report that followed, correspondent Tom Costello listed some of those voices. While pro-gun Democratic senators like Joe Manchin and Mark Warner were noteworthy, Costello attempted to pad the list with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a longtime anti-gun activist. To create the appearance of bipartisanship, Costello even threw in MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who he pointed out was a "former Republican Congressman." On Thursday's Today, he went so far as to label Scarborough an "influential Republican."
The NBC, ABC, and CBS morning shows on Monday all touted President Obama seemingly calling for more gun control during a Sunday night vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. NBC's Today provided the most hype as correspondent Lester Holt proclaimed: "While he offered words of comfort, he also laid down a political gauntlet....sketching the outlines of what amounted to a policy statement on gun violence."
Holt acknowledged: "He did not utter the words 'gun control,' but his message could set the stage for such a debate." Speaking to co-host Savannah Guthrie later on the broadcast, Holt observed: "He didn't talk specifics, Savannah. But you got the sense that he was laying down a political gauntlet, saying perhaps it's time now to look at this issue of gun violence from all perspectives, political risks laid to the side." Guthrie replied: "Well, we'll see what happens when lawmakers get started in January with the new term."
In an exclusive interview on Thursday's NBC Rock Center with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice following her withdrawal of her name to be secretary of state, host Brian Williams worked to portray her as a victim of unwarranted political attacks: "She's been under withering attack for weeks....Were you set up? Were you a victim of circumstance? Bad data? Bad information?...Are you blameless in all this?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Referring to her Sunday show statements on the Benghazi attack, Rice responded: "I'm not a victim. I wasn't set up....I don't think anybody is ever wholly blameless, but I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't mislead. I didn't misrepresent. I did the best with the information the United States government had at the time."
Moments after news broke of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrawing her name from consideration to be secretary of state, NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd appeared on MSNBC's Martin Bashir to denounce those he deemed responsible: "It was all driven, in many cases, by some conservative outlets who were making her the center of the Benghazi story....[which] never made a lot of sense. She sort of became a victim of this." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Left-wing host Bashir teed up Todd by reciting Rice's resume and declaring her to be "amply qualified" for the cabinet post, but that "so much of the criticism of her seemed to suggest that she was not, and that was dressed up under the guise of these attacks following what happened in Benghazi" Todd lamented that Rice not having a "full PR team" meant she "was more susceptible to this type of where one story where she could become the victim of these attacks very quickly, it could take hold."
Following a report on Thursday's NBC Today in which political director Chuck Todd touted a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, co-host Matt Lauer tried to spin one finding: "...only 53% say they're optimistic about a second term for Obama and 47% say they are pessimistic. Is this really more pessimism about Washington in general?"
Todd accepted the characterization: "It is. You know, you see it in the poll....this is a much less naive public, maybe let's put it that way, after they've watched all of this in Washington. And a full 70% now think that the next year is going to be acrimonious." Todd then portrayed Republicans as embracing such acrimony: "...this is really dangerous in the talks, actually...I talked to one Republican who said, 'How low can we go? We don't have a lot to lose.' And I pointed out, 'But you would have a lot to gain, because the par's pretty low from the public's point of view.'"
During a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today about hiring people to do Christmas chores like decorating the tree or buying gifts, the network's chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman suddenly broke into an anti-religious rant: "I don't like the religion part. I think religion is what mucks the whole thing up....I think that's what makes the holidays so stressful." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Snyderman's take-the-Christ-out-of-Christmas commentary was prompted by fellow panelist Star Jones explaining: "I focus on, honestly, the religion part of it. I really and truly do. So I can't out-source that part of it. I can send you to get my tree, but I can't help – you can't help me pray." When Snyderman launched into her attack on faith, Jones countered: "That's the only reason for me to have the holiday....We wouldn't have the holiday if it wasn't for the religion part."
In an interview with actor Jamie Foxx on Wednesday's NBC Today about his upcoming movie Django Unchained, co-host Savannah Guthrie brought up offensive comments Foxx made while hosting Saturday Night Live: "You said your character gets to, quote, 'kill all the white people,' adding, 'how great is that?' I know you know about the criticism, do you think it was fair?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Rather than show any regret for the remark, Foxx simply replied: "I'm a comedian. So, I mean, I'm not a – I don't even know what to say." Instead of following up on that non-answer, Guthrie made the awkward transition: "Back to the movie..."
Appearing on Wednesday's MSNBC Morning Joe, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was greeted with childish behavior by the show's panel of left-wing pundits, who were unable to conceal their disgust with the state's right-to-work legislation just signed into law by the Republican. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Contributor Richard Wolffe led off the disrespectful display when Snyder defended the new law: "I don't believe this is actually anti-union. If you look at it, I believe this is pro-worker." Wolffe started laughing and rudely interrupted: "Hang on a second. Are you really – are you serious? Are you serious? This is not anti-union? This actually, at its core, undermines the ability for unions to organize. So you can make many arguments you like, but saying it's not anti-union..."
Appearing on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on Tuesday, liberal Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus lashed out against passage of Michigan's right-to-work law: "Unions are reeling, and the more states that enact measures like this, the more unions will be reeling....unions aren't going to survive when people have a choice of whether to ante up the dues or to get the benefit of being free-riders." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Eager to insulate President Obama from controversy surrounding past anti-American comments by Korean pop star Psy, who performed at the annual Christmas in Washington charity concert attended by the First Family, on Tuesday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "And of course, the President had no say over who the private charity chose to invite." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Ignoring the fact that Obama could have refused to attend the event as long as Psy performed, Alexander explained: "...petitioners demanded President Obama...block the appearance of the rap sensation Psy, under fire for anti-American performances. But that petition was removed [from the White House website] because the rules say the petitions only apply to federal actions."
In a report for Tuesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd touted President Obama supposedly being nicer to the GOP while in pursuit of a fiscal cliff deal: "Mr. Obama was noticeably less confrontational toward Republicans....The President's softer tone came just a day after he sat down with House Speaker John Boehner..."
While Todd focused on Obama's "softer" side, Monday's New York Times reported on the President's team playing hardball: "The White House is also cranking up the machinery of the Obama campaign to help in the battle. On Monday, the campaign sent an e-mail to its entire mailing list from its deputy manager, Stephanie Cutter....'Who will decide if your taxes increase in just 22 days?' Ms. Cutter said. 'A few dozen members of the House of Representatives, that's who.'"
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory eagerly touted the approval rating of outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and gushed over the prospect of her running for president in 2016: "...her popularity has soared to an all-time high. According to a new Washington Post/ABC poll out this week, 66 percent view the country's top diplomat favorably..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gregory then teed up a fawning promotional video about Clinton: "A recent campaign-style tribute video that was played at the Saban Forum here in DC left the political world abuzz..." A clip of the Hillary propaganda film followed, with sound bites from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair predicting a Clinton political comeback.
Reporting on the Supreme Court taking up the issue of gay marriage for the first time, on Friday's NBC Nightly News, justice correspondent Pete Williams proclaimed: "The fact that the Court has agreed to take up both cases could mean that the Justices are prepared to get to the heart of the same-sex marriage issue, and that could result in what would essentially be the Roe v. Wade of gay rights." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of the broadcast, anchor Brian Williams billed the upcoming report as "big news...that could change everything." Introducing a repeat of the story on Saturday's Today, co-host Lester Holt announced: "Game changer? The U.S. Supreme Court plans to tackle two cases involving same-sex marriage. So will this become the law of the land?"
After gushing on Wednesday over left-wing actress Ashley Judd possibly running for Senate in Kentucky, on Friday's NBC Today, the cast applauded liberal comedian Stephen Colbert suggesting in jest that he might replace outgoing South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, with co-host Willie Geist proclaiming: "I can tell you, having done a show with him [Colbert] in Charleston, he is an absolute rock star in that state."
Geist added: "It doesn't mean he will be a senator, but he could probably pull it off." Fill-in news reader Erica Hill remarked: "Doesn't mean he...won't be either." Fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie chimed in: "He's already run for president. I mean, this is really a downgrade." Weatherman Al Roker quipped: "Comedy concert with him and [Minnesota Senator] Al Franken, that would be fantastic."
In an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook for Thursday's NBC Rock Center, host Brian Williams wondered why the tech giant couldn't be a "made-in-America company" and outlined a political scenario in which President Obama was all-powerful: "Let's say our Constitution was a little different and Barack Obama called you in tomorrow and said, 'Get everybody out of China and do whatever you have to do, make these, make everything you make in the United States.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In a panel discussion on Wednesday's NBC Today, the morning show cast excitedly touted the possibility of left-wing actress Ashley Judd running for senate against Mitch McConnell in 2014, with co-host Willie Geist declaring: "She was a delegate to the Democratic convention this summer, she's very involved in politics, she's outspoken." [Watch the video after the jump]
News reader Natalie Morales heaped praise on Judd: "She's a brilliant woman....Harvard, I think....she's a U.N. goodwill ambassador, speaks out on HIV/AIDS prevention. And also, you know, she's done so much good for public – public good and she's a great, very smart woman." Celebrity chef Paula Deen, a guest on the show, chimed in: "I've heard that she's an extremely bright woman." Morales added: "Very."
During a segment on Thursday's NBC Today on the upcoming film about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty, co-host Matt Lauer wondered if scenes depicting "brutal interrogations" of terror suspects would make movie-goers feel guilty: "It's inevitable people are going to sit in the movie theater...and when they see the scenes of torture, they're going to ask themselves if they think it was justified, if the ends justified the means." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Turning to director Kathryn Bigelow, Lauer pressed: "Do you want to make a political statement with this movie?" Bigelow replied: "Well, I think the film doesn't have an agenda. I think it just shows the story as – you know, the story of the greatest man hunt in history. And that's part of that history." Lauer urged: "But do you want people to discuss that topic more? Whether these kind of enhanced interrogation techniques are justified?"
Employing sanctimonious rhetoric to paint Senate Republicans as cruel and heartless for opposing a U.N. treaty on disabled rights completely redundant to the Americans With Disabilities Act, on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams lectured: "If you want to know how broken, how partisan our Congress and our government has become, all you need to look at is this one day in Washington....Senator John Kerry called this one of the saddest days he's seen in close to three decades in the U.S. Senate." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell pointed to the GOP as the source of the sorrow: "For those looking for cooperation tonight, only disappointment, even real sadness over what happened with this treaty intended to help the disabled....Five Republican votes short of the 66 needed....it's unusual to see tears shed in the Senate chamber, I witnessed that today....I saw a woman in a wheelchair, leaving with tears rolling down her face."
After the cast of NBC's Today gushed on Tuesday over President Obama's "very fashionable decision" to possibly appoint Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour as an ambassador, on Wednesday, regular panelists Donny Deutsch and Star Jones scoffed at the idea, with Deutsch declaring: "I'm not quite sure somebody who edits a fashion magazine is qualified to be a liaison to one of our biggest allies." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While the morning show's supposed journalists touted the news and made a joke out of ambassadorships being handed out to big Obama campaign donors, Deutsch and Jones, reliable fans of the President, spoke out against the notion. Deutsch took the cronyism to task:
On Wednesday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd proclaimed that despite fiscal cliff negotiations being "in such a bad state," one bit of "good news" was that House Republicans "realize they don't have much leverage right now" and predicted they would eventually sign on to tax hikes proposed by President Obama. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, co-host Savannah Guthrie declared: "Speaker John Boehner is probably in the most unenviable position because he has to get the deal, he has to sell it to the far right of his caucus in the House. Can he get that deal?"
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie cheered the news that President Obama may make one of his major campaign donors, Anna Wintour, an ambassador: "Going Vogue? A report this morning that the President could appoint Vogue's famed editor-in-chief Anna Wintour to be his next ambassador to England or France. More on what could be a very fashionable decision." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
During a panel discussion later in the show, fellow co-host Willie Geist excused the obvious patronage job: "This is not unusual...I think something like 30% of appointees to ambassadorships are political, as a reward for people who raise a lot of money." That prompted a round of jokes about giving money to Obama to get an appointment. Fill-in news reader Tamron remarked: "[Wintour] raised more than $500,000 for his campaign, so we need to get on the ball....We need to get it going..."
During the panel discussion on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer launched an assault against Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist for holding Republicans to a pledge not to raise taxes: "What this is about is avoiding a recession which is going to happen....You're going to sacrifice that on the cross of two percent. Is that what you want?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Norquist, a fellow panelist, shot back: "I'm supportive of the Republican position, which is we need to have economic growth, not higher taxes. If we grew at four percent a year instead of two percent a year, Reagan levels instead of Obama levels, for one decade we'd net five trillion in additional revenue. That would pay down the debt that Obama has run up with the Solyndra stimulus stuff."
Appearing on Monday's MSNBC Morning Joe, NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd shared some inside information: "So I threw the Lincoln analogy at a close aide to the President last week, and he said, 'You know, with this Republican – with the way politics of Washington are today, there'd still be slavery.' That Lincoln wouldn't have been able to navigate the polarization..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Rather than dismiss such a nasty partisan attack, Todd observed: "It was an interesting and depressing observation from this very smart White House aide."