MSNBC's Brzezinski Defends Gibbs' Gaffe

Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC's “Morning Joe”, showed her father's aptitude for foreign policy this morning. The daughter of one of the Carter administration's chief foreign policy wonks started by scolding Robert Gibbs' knee-capping response to former Vice President Dick Cheney's CNN interview, saying that:

BRZEZINSKI: I would have probably wanted to take that on in a big way because many would argue that Cheney made the country more dangerous. Cheney is the one who put us in the position we're in and now has al Qaeda reconstituting around the world. There's some good answers to what Cheney said.

Many would, and they would be proven wrong by that very statement. It was Cheney's policies that destroyed Al Qaeda to the point that they had to “reconstitute” at all. It was Cheney's policies that stopped a long string of al Qaeda attacks. It was indeed Cheney's policies that put us in the position we're in - winning, and safe at home. Apparently, Brzezinski's idea of a better response would have been to attack the policies that have made us safe in the first place.Following this ridiculous attack, Brzezinski proceeded to offer a round of Gibbs apologia [bracketed portions added for explanation]:

CHUCK TODD, NBC White House correspondent: On the one end they're saying there are some things that can get done, on the other hand if they could, [Robert Gibbs tiptoeing into the room, just behind Todd] we would already know they were doing it. Right now, they just say words like they're legally trying to do everything they can, [laughter from the room] I have a feeling – I have a feeling somebody is behind me. BRZEZINSKI: All right. See, he's fun. I think there is a little of the country has to get used to his approach, as opposed to what they've seen over the past eight years.

Really? Tony Snow, widely regarded as a fantastic press secretary, is thrown in with Scott McClellan? Ari Fleischer, who torched Chris Matthews on a wide range of issues (including massive personal bias) on his own show last week, wasn't a good press secretary? Dana Perino was never a Hall-of-Fame press secretary, but she had the misfortune of following the act of Tony Snow - who can blame her?Joe Scarborough, if he had been there, would most likely have made fun of Mika for working hard for White House access. One wonders just how hard you have to shill for access these days. Here's the full transcript:Morning Joe03/17/200907:04:21 AMWILLIE GEIST: Pat, I would be interested in your take as a guy who worked inside a White House controlling message. You saw the interview, we showed it yesterday from Sunday on CNN where Vice President Dick Cheney came out and basically said the Obama foreign policy is making the world more dangerous, putting us in harm's way, also criticized the economic approach, the expansion of government. Robert Gibbs was asked yesterday to respond to Vice President Dick Cheney. Here's what he said. REPORTER: How do you respond to those kinds of allegations from the former Vice President? ROBERT GIBBS (WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY): Well, I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy. So they trotted out the next most popular member of the Republican cabal. GEIST: The Republican cabal, Pat.PAT BUCHANAN: That's a big mistake, the Vice President of the United States made some severe criticisms and Gibbs should have been prepared to respond to him, he could've had stuff right up there on the podium, but to cut loose with a smart-aleck, sarcastic response that gets cynical laughter in there, one of the reporters called him on it, is this the way you respond to a former Vice President of the United States. I think Obama has done an outstanding job personally trying with the outrage, I think some of his aides are responsible, he's lost Republican support, this kind of thing will hurt him with moderates and independents who say that Obama has been above it, he's doing a great job, he's reaching out and then you get that from a guy -- MIKA BRZEZINSKI: He's genuinely a good guy, I believe. BUCHANAN: Sure, we have him on all the time. BRZEZINSKI: Willie, one of the reporters Pat talked about calling him out. GEIST: Let's listen to the follow-up Pat just referred to. REPORTER: You referred to the former Vice President, that was a really hard hitting kind of sarcastic response you had. That's a former Vice President of the United States. Is that the attitude, the sanctioned tone toward the former Vice President of the United States from this White House? GIBBS: Sometimes I ask forgiveness rather than for permission, Chip. But no, I hope my sarcasm didn't mask the seriousness of the answer with which I addressed Ed. BRZEZINSKI: You know, I believe him. We've worked with him, he's very good to work with. I guess what I wonder if it was the smartest thing. This is also in response to the Cramer-Jon. Stewart thing where he kind of had a smug response. Why? It's not necessary. BUCHANAN: They might be in campaign mode, but secondly it suggests that they're getting a little tired of the hits they've been taking. Maybe they're sitting around in an office as Nixon used to say rubbing their sores because everybody is attacking them and things. But when I first saw that, I was on Chris Matthews' show, I had not seen it before, and I was just jolted by this coming from the podium of the Press Secretary of the President of the United States. BRZEZINSKI: He definitely has a different approach, and I like a lot of it. I like that he engages and he will respond to what, you know, maybe someone who taps into the public feelings out there, a cable host will say or invite us to the White House even though we've been consistently pretty critical of the stimulus package. BUCHANAN: He's got good personality, lot of wit, he banters back and forth, but this type of thing hurts his president. BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, I think -- yeah. I'm not sure what to end, usually you wouldn't waste a response to something unless you were -- BUCHANAN: Quite frankly, I saw Cheney's interview, it's very serious, it's high tone. He said he made the country more dangerous, you've got to respond to that. But you don't respond like the Republican cabal. BRZEZINSKI: That's a really serious thing to say. BUCHANAN: Serious charge, yeah. BRZEZINSKI: The judgement that Cheney was making. I would have probably wanted to take that on in a big way because many would argue that Cheney made the country more dangerous. Cheney is the one who put us in the position we're in and now has Al Qaeda reconstituting around the world. There's some good answers to what Cheney said. GEIST: And Pat, you know this, over the course of day after day of responding to questions, you're going to let your guard down occasionally and let a joke slip out. BUCHANAN: A lot of things were said that probably should be withdrawn. GEIST: Sure. That's what I was getting at.GEIST: Let's just show one moment though. Robert Gibbs yesterday as our own Chuck Todd was doing his stand-up. Watch the background in the briefing room. CHUCK TODD: On the one end they're saying there are some things that can get done, on the other hand if they could, we would already know they were doing it. Right now, they just say words like they're legally trying to do everything they can, I have a feeling – I have a feeling somebody is behind me. BRZEZINSKI: All right. See, he's fun. I think there is a little of the country has to get used to his approach, as opposed to what they've seen over the past eight years.