MSNBC's Chuck Todd Parrots Obama Talking Points: Will GOP 'Relitigate' Health Care?

Daily Rundown host Chuck Todd on Monday parroted Barack Obama's talking points and repeatedly wondered if the new GOP majority in the House will insist on 'relitigating health care." He began by lecturing, "Will the first month of a Republican-led House be known for relitigating the past, pushing for repeal of health care, focus on investigation?"

Compare that to President Obama during a November 3, post-midterm press conference: "We'd be misreading the election if we thought the American people want to see us for the next two years relitigate arguments that we had over the last two years." Todd on Monday mimicked, "Is that really the first impression the Republican Congress wants to leave with the American public or are they going to keep their focus on spending and the economy?"

During the piece, the MSNBC anchor talked to Republican strategist Kevin Madden and reiterated, "If you were still in your old job with John Boehner, do you want the headlines to be about investigations and relitigating health care or do you want them to be about spending and jobs and making government smaller?"

Not accepting the premise of the question, Madden, who worked on the Romney presidential campaign in 2008, retorted, "So, where you use the word investigations, I would use the word oversight. Where you would say they're looking into things that seem to be trivial, I think it's a new era of accountability."

Co-anchor Savannah Guthrie got into the act and asked of former Obama aide Anita Dunn: "So, Anita, what should the White House's response be? You could go relitigate the health care debate, if that's where Republicans want to take it or you could ignore the Republicans, say, it's the law of the land and focus on jobs and the economy."

At no time did Guthrie or Todd wonder about the fact that pledging to "relitigate" health care was instrumental in the Republican midterm wins.

A transcript of the January 3 segment can be found below:

9:00 tease

CHUCK TODD: The 112th Congress gets sworn in on Wednesday. Will the first month of a Republican-led House be known for relitigating the past, pushing for repeal of health care, focus on investigation? Is that really the first impression the Republican Congress wants to leave with the American public, or are they going to keep their focus on spending and the economy? Yesterday, with the Sunday shows, Savannah, it was interesting, the headlines seemed to be about the past.

9:13

CHUCK TODD: Meanwhile, the President returns tomorrow to that new political order. Battles ahead apparently over health care, more so than maybe he thought, spending and, of course, the debt limit. Republican strategist Republican strategist Kevin Madden is a former press secretary and incoming Speaker John Boehner and Anita Dunn was communications director in the Obama White House. Welcome to you both. Happy New Year. Happy New Year.

ANITA DUNN: Happy New Year.

KEVIN MADDEN: Happy New Year. Happy new year.

TODD: Kevin, let me start with you on the headlines that were generated off the Sunday shows yesterday. If you were still in your old job with John Boehner, do you want the headlines to be about investigations and relitigating health care, or do you want them to be about spending and jobs and making government smaller?

KEVIN MADDEN: The latter, but I do think you have to recognize that the public right now is very unhappy with the way Washington is working. So, where you use the word investigations, I would use the word oversight. Where you would say they're looking into things that seem to be trivial, I think it's a new era of accountability. And that's what people voted for when they voted for President Obama, but they were very unhappy with his performance. And now you have essentially a new Republican Congress that is bringing in an era of accountability and challenging the status quo. So, I think it's aligned with a lot of popular sentiment.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: So, Anita, what should the White House's response be? You could go relitigate the health care debate, if that's where Republicans want to take it or you could ignore the Republicans, say, it's the law of the land and focus on jobs and the economy. What do you think the White House will do?

ANITA DUNN: Well, Savannah, I think it's amusing that republicans having spent so much time in 2010 arguing that the Democrats should be spending more time on jobs and less time on health care, now spend time on health care, which is now something that's the law of the land. And they're talking about taking benefits away from people and I think that that's- you know starting the year taking benefits against people, taking protections that the insurance companies now have to give people. That people have fought for for years, right? Taking, you know, having a symbolic vote to take that away does set a tone here. I think that if, you know, the White House has the opportunities here, first of all, to define the health law in a way that it's never been defined before, because now we are talking about taking benefits away from people that they are enjoying. And so, that what the Republicans stand for. And more to the point, I think that the White House has the opportunity to really define the economic argument here, thanks to the Republicans deciding to go down the kind of investigations, take away benefits, and most importantly, abandoning the idea of pay-go for huge parts of the budget.

— Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

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