Woodward Gets Scarborough to Apologize for Misreporting McConnell's 'Make Obama One-Term President' Remark

For several years, the Obama-loving media have harped on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) October 2010 remark, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

On MSNBC's Morning Joe Monday, the Washington Post's Bob Woodward not only proved that the media have been misrepresenting this quote since it was made, host Joe Scarborough apologized to McConnell for being part of the echo chamber (video follows with transcript and commentary):

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: And Bob, you talk about this. And you see it time and time again in your book where Republicans give ideas, and every idea is rejected outright. I want to focus, though, on a quote. And I’ve got to admit, just by reading press reports, I didn't know the other side of the Mitch McConnell quote. And I think I, at least, owe him an apology here on the air because we've repeated it a thousand times where Mitch McConnell says, my one priority, my top priority is preventing a second Obama term. But you actually pull out what nobody in the media pulls out, and that's the rest of Mitch McConnell’s statement. What is it?

BOB WOODWARD: And where McConnell says, I don't want Obama to fail, I want him to change. And I agree with you. I think that that's significant. Now, there is a brazenness to the first part of the quote, and as you know, Mitch McConnell is...

JOE SCARBOROUGH: He's tough.

BOB WOODWARD: He’s a hard ass on these subjects, to say the least.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: But McConnell went on to say -- and it's just never been reported -- McConnell went on to say, but if he changes, I want to work with him, and basically that's the attitude of if the guy will meet us halfway -- and I see John Heilemann rolling his eyes around the set, but time and time and time again, republicans offered suggestions, and time and time and time again, the first two years, the president rejected them outright.

For those that have forgotten, McConnell first made these comments during an interview with the National Journal on October 23, 2010:

NATIONAL JOURNAL: You’ve been studying the history of presidents who lost part or all of Congress in their first term. Why?

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KENTUCKY): In the last 100 years, three presidents suffered big defeats in Congress in their first term and then won reelection: Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and the most recent example, Bill Clinton. I read a lot of history anyway, but I am trying to apply those lessons to current situations in hopes of not making the same mistakes.

NJ: What have you learned?

McConnell: After 1994, the public had the impression we Republicans overpromised and underdelivered. We suffered from some degree of hubris and acted as if the president was irrelevant and we would roll over him. By the summer of 1995, he was already on the way to being reelected, and we were hanging on for our lives.

NJ: What does this mean now?

McConnell: We need to be honest with the public. This election is about them, not us. And we need to treat this election as the first step in retaking the government. We need to say to everyone on Election Day, “Those of you who helped make this a good day, you need to go out and help us finish the job.”

NJ: What’s the job?

McConnell: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

NJ: Does that mean endless, or at least frequent, confrontation with the president?

McConnell: If President Obama does a Clintonian backflip, if he’s willing to meet us halfway on some of the biggest issues, it’s not inappropriate for us to do business with him.

NJ: What are the big issues?

McConnell: It is possible the president’s advisers will tell him he has to do something to get right with the public on his levels of spending and [on] lowering the national debt. If he were to heed that advice, he would, I image, [sic] find more support among our conference than he would among some in the Senate in his own party. I don’t want the president to fail; I want him to change. So, we’ll see. The next move is going to be up to him.


"I don’t want the president to fail; I want him to change. So, we’ll see. The next move is going to be up to him."

You didn't see that part of the interview included in the media's focus on it, did you?

Any question why that might be?

Maybe more importantly, now that Woodward has exposed the truth on this issue, will others in the media follow Scarborough's lead and apologize to McConnell for misreporting the quote?

Don't hold your breath.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.