Some Obama Voters Didn't Care About Politics, But Today Show Won't Question Obama's 'Mandate'

Although Time magazine revealed that 15 percent of Obama voters didn't even care about politics, NBC's Today show still wouldn't challenge the President's supposed mandate from the public to raise taxes when Time's Richard Stengel was on Wednesday.

"And one of the things they found out is that there's about 15 percent of voters who actually don't care about politics," Stengel referred to Time's story on the matter. "These are the people we didn't know who were going to show up at the polls who actually like Barack Obama in the sense they feel like he's outside of politics."

"What about some people who push back on that this year, Rick, saying it was more about the lesser of evils in the course of the campaign?" NBC's David Gregory played devil's advocate. He still didn't question if voters really gave Obama a "mandate" to raise taxes given that a portion of them didn't even care about politics.

"A lot of circumstances that seemed to be bigger than the President compared to when he was first chosen," Gregory questioned the level of Obama's influence.

Stengel defended Time's choice by praising the achievements of President Obama. "He won re-election despite a higher unemployment rate than anybody's had to face in 70 years. He's the first Democrat to actually win two consecutive terms with over 50 percent of the vote."

Stengel added, "he's basically the beneficiary and the author of a kind of new America. A new demographic. A new cultural America that he is now the symbol of."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on Today on December 19 at 7:45 a.m. EST, is as follows:

[7:45]

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Alright, without further ado. Who is Time's Person of the Year?

RICHARD STENGEL: Without further ado, our Person of the Year for 2012 is President Barack Obama. He obviously won re-election. He won re-election despite a higher unemployment rate than anybody's had to face in 70 years. He's the first Democrat to actually win two consecutive terms with over 50 percent of the vote. That's something we haven't seen since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and he's basically the beneficiary and the author of a kind of new America. A new demographic. A new cultural America that he is now the symbol of.

GREGORY: What about some people who push back on that this year, Rick, saying it was more about the lesser of evils in the course of the campaign. A lot of circumstances that seemed to be bigger than the President compared to when he was first chosen.

STENGEL: It's funny. Our story Michael Scherer, our White House correspondent, really probes deeply into the data folks at the White House who really help make it happen. And one of the things they found out is that there's about 15 percent of voters who actually don't care about politics. These are the people we didn't know who were going to show up at the polls who actually like Barack Obama in the sense they feel like he's outside of politics. So I think using those people, using the coalition of the ascendant young voters, millenials, Hispanics, minorities, he's creating a new alignment and kind of a realignment like Ronald Reagan did 40 years ago.

GREGORY: Interesting.

GUTHRIE: Well, and you interviewed him. What did he say when you told him –

STENGEL: You know, it's interesting. I think there's a new attitude. He feels like he has this political capital now. He's speaking with more assertiveness about the things that he believes in and I think we will start to see him talking from the heart about things that he really cares about.

GREGORY: Some behind-the-scenes photos, too, that will be interesting to see when people get the issue. Rick Stengel, thank you very much for the big reveal.

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