Is David Gregory trying to raise his profile by becoming more overtly partisan? Gregory struck what at one point seemed to me a hostile tone in his questioning of conservative Sen. Tom Coburn on last week's Meet The Press. Then, on today's Morning Joe, Gregory went out of his way to defend Pres. Obama's history of being less-than-friendly to business. And the MTP host did it in a way that will warm White House hearts: by blaming George W. Bush.
The subject at hand was PBO's naming of GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt to replace Paul Volcker as a key economic advisor. The panel, and Chuck Todd in particular, were making the point that it signaled a significant shift from Obama's previous preference for academic types, to people with their feet on the economic ground. There was general consensus that PBO had earned the business community's suspicion, and that the president was now reaching out to reassure them.
That's when Gregory launched a defense that could just as easily have come from Robert Gibbs. View video after the jump.
Watch Gregory's W-made-him-do-it defense.
DAVID GREGORY: I just want to make a point. I think it's also, when we talk about this shift, we also do have to note something. You know, Pres. Obama did come in in very different circumstance. And where Pres. Bush left office, by the way, was not really as the major cheerleader for capitalism, OK? He was the one who did a big takedown on a lot of corporate America in terms of Wall Street and taking over Fannie and Freddie. So there was a logical extension for a new president to have to do some things that wouldn't exactly amount to a big bear-hug of business. I just think, I think contextually that's important [Ed.: good to know David thinks his point is important].
JOE SCARBOROUGH: David, I don't know though that he had to go to cap-and-trade, to a new entitlement system like health care.
GREGORY: No, I'm not saying that, I'm not saying that. But I think that in terms of big-government intervention in the economy, that started under Pres. Bush, it was never going to be an easy transition which is why I think part of it has taken as long as it has.