MSNBC's Luke Russert Hypes Russ Feingold as a 'Fiscal Conservative,' Hits Angle for 'Absurd Comments'

MSNBC reporter Luke Russert on Tuesday lauded Democratic Senator Russ Feingold as a "fiscal conservative." During the same segment, he knocked Republican Sharron Angle for making "outlandish, absurd comments."

Russert asserted that Feingold is known for "independence during his Senate career, having a lot of moral victories" and for "being fiscally conservative." [MP3 audio here.] 

The National Taxpayers Union disagrees, awarding the Wisconsin politician three Ds and two Fs over the last five years. The American Conservative Union gave Feingold a lifetime score of 12.

In contrast, the 25-year-old reporter casually dismissed Angle: "However Sharron Angle, despite making a lot of outlandish, absurd comments felt by many people, including questioning the rationale of covering autism and health insurance, is still within striking distance."

Russert then cited liberal Democrat James Carville: "James Carville, a good friend of mine, told Politico, quote, 'She could be running the worst campaign in history but she still could be- She still could win.'"

One might point out that the Democratic Party's senatorial nominee in South Carolina, Alvin Greene, has been indicted for felony obscenity charges. So, it's hard to say that Sharron Angle is running the "worst campaign in history."

Russert also skipped any possible "outlandish" comments made by Angle's opponent, Harry Reid, such as referring to Delaware's Democratic nominee as "my pet."

Finally, although Russert did identify his personal relationship with Carville, he didn't note that the two hosted a radio show together.

A transcript of the September 28 segment, which aired at 10:52am EDT, follows:

RICHARD LIU : It is exactly five weeks until the midterm elections and some key Senate races are shaping to be barn burners. They certainly are. And joining me right now is NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Luke Russert. And, you know, when I ask you what the closest races are, Luke, there are many to watch.

LUKE RUSSERT: There are many to watch. Five that Politico has a real eye on are the following: In Illinois, Giannoulias versus Kirk. In Pennsylvania, Toomey versus Sestak. Colorado Buck versus Bennett. And also we have in Nevada Harry Reid versus Sharron Angle. In Wisconsin, Russ Feingold versus Ron Johnson. Let's talk about in Nevada, one that a lot of people here in Washington have a close eye on because it impacts the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, Harry Reid. New poll there showing him leading for the first time, 45-40. However Sharron Angle, despite making a lot of outlandish, absurd comments felt by many people, including questioning the rationale of covering autism and health insurance, is still within striking distance and showing that Harry Reid has a tough fight on his hands. James Carville, a good friend of mine, told Politico, quote, "She could be running the worst campaign in history but she still could be- She still could win." So, that's a very- yeah, it's amazing, amazing statistic there. That shows you how disenfranchised people are with Harry Reid in Nevada. But, on the other hand, Sharron Angle's policies might just be a little too extreme for independents in that state. However, that state has been hit by 14 percent unemployment. So, that will be a pivotal issue. Another one we have a lot of interest here in Washington: Wisconsin Russ Feingold, been in the Senate since 1990, in the fight of his life against unknown businessman Ron Johnson. Richard, this guy has never been in elected office, never held a political position. Simply a small businessman that has a lot of ideas about the economy. It seems to be resonating in Wisconsin. Very interesting, because Feingold has been able to hold, sort of, his independence during his Senate career, having a lot of moral victories, shall we say, being fiscally conservative in a lot of sense. This time it does not look like it will help him out in Wisconsin. So, if Russ Feingold goes down, that would be a big win for the GOP.

LIU: Yeah, I know. I think in the past you've said they haven't had a Republican senator there since the '80s or something?

RUSSERT: 1986. A long time without a GOP senator in Wisconsin.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org