MSNBC's Luke Russert Derides Republicans for Not Engaging in 'Elevated' Discussions With Obama

MSNBC’s Luke Russert on Wednesday chided Senate Republicans for meeting with Barack Obama and using language that wasn't "exactly the things that we’d necessarily see as elevated Presidential dialogue."

The network reporter highlighted the "tense" discussion between the President and the GOP members. "It was quite interesting to see some of these adjectives thrown about President Obama," Russert sniffed. He derided the GOP comments: "'Thin-skinned,' 'needs Valium,' 'testy'–not exactly the things that we’d necessarily see as elevated Presidential dialogue."

Host Alex Witt readily agreed, "Yeah, I’d say that wasn’t elevated much at all." However, Russert speculated nothing as to the President’s motives and tone and whether or not they contributed to the name-calling and bickering. But, this probably isn't surprising coming from the liberal cable network.

Senator Pat Roberts’ (R-Kan) remarked that President Obama "should take a Valium" before meeting with Republicans, saying that Obama was "thin-skinned."

"That’s right, Valium," Russert pointed out, "the popular anti-anxiety drug usually prescribed for people that don’t like to fly."

The senator "said President Obama just, quite frankly, does not like to be amongst Republicans," Russert continued.

Then Russert talked about Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), "who actively tried to take a bipartisan role in the Financial Regulatory Reform bill." Sen. Corker "questioned ‘the audacity’ of President Obama, a word that is often linked with him," Russert reported.

"So both sides will tell you that they went in there expecting nothing. They didn’t get anything," Russert concluded.

A transcript of the May 26 MSNBC segment, which aired at 10:49am EDT follows:

ALEX WITT, MSNBC ANCHOR: A testy meeting between President Obama and Senate Republicans yesterday on Capitol Hill. The President met with the Senate Republican Caucus for the first time in more than a year. It was rather lively, shall we say. NBC Congressional Correspondent Luke Russert has the very latest in today’s Hill-say.

So Luke, let’s split the difference between ‘testy’ and ‘lively’ here, and call it ‘tense.’ How tense? Gauge that, okay?

LUKE RUSSERT, NBC CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alex, it was quite tense. Sen. Pat Roberts from Kansas saying that President Obama should take a Valium, that’s right, Valium, the popular anti-anxiety drug usually prescribed for people that don’t like to fly, before he meets with Republicans. He also went on to call him ‘thin-skinned,’ and then said President Obama just, quite frankly, does not like to be amongst Republicans.

The meeting was really the first in over a year between the Senate GOP Conference and President Obama. The President went in there and told them that he is getting a lot of pressure from the Left to pass significant measures on immigration and climate change. He asked the GOP whether or not they would loosen-up some of the support from their right flank and try to move and become bi-partisan on a few issues.

There was not a lot of seeing eye-to-eye, shall we say, within this meeting, simply because both sides were deeply distrustful of one another. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, a Republican who actively tried to take a bipartisan role in the Financial Regulatory Reform bill, questioned ‘the audacity’ of President Obama, a word that is often linked with him, coming in and having this meeting with the Senate GOP just a week after the Senate Financial Regulatory Reform bill was passed with not much bipartisan support.

So both sides will tell you that they went in there expecting nothing. They didn’t get anything. But it was quite interesting to see some of these adjectives thrown about President Obama: ‘thin-skinned,’ ‘needs Valium,’ ‘testy’...not exactly the things that we’d necessarily see as elevated Presidential dialogue, Alex.

ALEX WITT: Yeah, I’d say that wasn’t elevated much at all.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014