NBC: ‘Hard Line’ GOP Against Any Obama Court Pick ‘No Matter How Moderate’

Despite not even having a short list of President Obama’s nominees to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, on Tuesday’s NBC Today, correspondent Andrea Mitchell assured viewers it would be a “moderate” pick and slammed Republican opposition.

She led off her report by proclaiming: “The battle to replace Antonin Scalia is reshaping that 2016 campaign, with the Republican presidential candidates taking a hard line against confirming anyone that President Obama nominates, no matter how moderate.”

Mitchell lamented: “Within hours of the Justice's death, the battle lines were drawn. Republican Senate leaders saying they won't confirm any Obama nominee to the high court.”

She then excitedly touted how Democrats were “firing back,” featuring soundbites from Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy and White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz blasting the GOP for practicing  “unprecedented” “pure politics” that violated their “ironclad” Constitutional responsibilities. Mitchell failed to point out the irony of liberals suddenly believing the Constitution was “ironclad.”

Mitchell was most thrilled by Hillary Clinton’s predictable attacks: “And Hillary Clinton weighing in, unleashing a flurry of tweets overnight, aimed at GOP senators. Hillary tweeting, ‘Fill this vacancy. @POTUS will do his job. Do yours.’”

Tell the Truth 2016

In stark contrast to Mitchell’s one-sided report, CBS This Morning actually pointed out Clinton’s hypocrisy on the issue.

Wrapping up her Democratic talking points disguised as news coverage on Today, Mitchell again decried Republicans not supporting Obama’s unnamed, but supposedly moderate, nominee:

The President has a working list, including several candidates who have been supported unanimously for lower courts by Republicans. But if the Republicans refuse to even consider moderate choices, well, the President could then well decide to fire up his own Democratic base, nominating a minority candidate or another woman, a liberal, in a deliberate contrast to the majority of the Republicans who are opposing this in the Senate.

In other words, the mostly white Republicans would look sexist or racist for opposing the President’s nominee, so they better just cave in and support whoever who Obama puts forward.

The segment was so slanted that even the on-screen graphics became more biased as it continued. The headline at the beginning of the report read: “The Fight to Succeed Scalia; GOP Set to Face Off With President Over Nomination.” However, near the end, it changed to this: “The Fight for Justice; GOP Faces Off With Obama Over Scalia Successor.”  

On Monday’s NBC Nightly News, Mitchell was giddy over the possibility of Democrats winning back control of the Senate by exploiting the court fight.

On her MSNBC show earlier that day, she pushed the same wishful thinking and ranted: “The Court has been in balance now for more than forty years, five-four, a conservative majority....And so now this is the opportunity for an historic change and they want to deny that to Barack Obama.”

Here is a full transcript of Mitchell’s February 16 report:

7:16 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: And now to our nation's capital, where the heated debate rages on over who should replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell has more on that looming battle. Andrea, good morning.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Good morning, Savannah. The battle to replace Antonin Scalia is reshaping that 2016 campaign, with the Republican presidential candidates taking a hard line against confirming anyone that President Obama nominates, no matter how moderate.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The Fight to Succeed Scalia; GOP Set to Face Off With President Over Nomination]

It is the one issue on which all the Republican candidates agree – no one nominated by Barack Obama should be considered for the Supreme Court.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO [R-FL]: The balance of the Constitution is at stake.

DONALD TRUMP: Republicans should not allow it to happen.

SEN. TED CRUZ [R-TX]: We are one justice away from a radical five-justice, left-wing majority.

MITCHELL: For Ted Cruz, it's personal. He clerked for the high court, has argued before it, and knew Scalia well. Within hours of the Justice's death, the battle lines were drawn. Republican Senate leaders saying they won't confirm any Obama nominee to the high court. Democrats firing back.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY [D-VT]: It's unprecedented. It's pure politics. And the Supreme Court, of all places, should not be tied up in politics.

MITCHELL: The President in California, hosting an Asian summit, signaling through aides he is not backing down.

ERIC SCHULTZ [WHITE HOUSE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY]: Those responsibilities described in the Constitution are ironclad. There are no caveats. The Constitution does not include exemptions for election years or for the President's last term in office.

MITCHELL: And Hillary Clinton weighing in, unleashing a flurry of tweets overnight, aimed at GOP senators. Hillary tweeting, “Fill this vacancy. @POTUS will do his job. Do yours.” The Scalia succession fight now also a campaign issue for the Democrats.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The Fight for Justice; GOP Faces Off With Obama Over Scalia Successor]

HILLARY CLINTON: Now last time I looked, the Constitution did not have a parentheses. The President nominates (except in an election year). That's not the way our system works.

MITCHELL: The President has a working list, including several candidates who have been supported unanimously for lower courts by Republicans. But if the Republicans refuse to even consider moderate choices, well, the President could then well decide to fire up his own Democratic base, nominating a minority candidate or another woman, a liberal, in a deliberate contrast to the majority of the Republicans who are opposing this in the Senate. Savannah and Carson?  

GUTHRIE: A lot of political strategy going into this decision. Andrea, thank you very much.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is the Senior News Analyst for MRC