Andrea Mitchell Plots Dem Strategy: 'Many of Us in the Media' Touted More Spending

 

MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell on Friday openly plotted strategy with a senior Democratic adviser, complimenting him on successful efforts to convince Americans think that raising the debt ceiling wasn't "running up the credit card." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Mitchell talked to Doug Hattaway, a member of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. She praised, "You were one of the advisors to persuade the Democrats that for this round of the debt ceiling debate they had to re-frame it so that it wasn't the Democrats wanting to spend more money." Mitchell unselfconsciously continued, "As hard as many of us in the media tried to persuade people, this is money that's already been spent, we're just paying the bills."

Hattaway congratulated himself on changing the debate, noting, "Democrats in 2011 weren't even talking about default. They were saying raise the debt ceiling. The problem is when people hear that, it sounds like run up the credit card."

Mitchell then helpfully showcased a graph for Democrats. Under "don't say this" were words and phrases such as "debt ceiling" and "refuse to raise the debt ceiling." Under "say this" were examples including "default crisis" and "catastrophe."

As Mitchell looked on, Hattaway crowed about raising "awareness in people's minds" and that " now over half of voters polled say we should not default under any circumstances."

On September 27, 2013, Mitchell openly lobbied for scrapping the debt ceiling. Talking to liberal host Rachel Maddow, she lectured:

ANDREA MITCHELL: By the way, speaking of adult moments, you're an adult, and you’ve got a big platform. We should just join forces, all of us. There is no reason for the debt ceiling. It's not in the Constitution. This should not be happening all the time. We should figure this out.

A partial transcript of the February 21 Andrea Mitchell Reports segment is below:


1:37PM

ANDREA MITCHELL: Let's turn to words and how they matter. You were one of the advisors to persuade the Democrats that for this round of the debt ceiling debate they had to re-frame it so that it wasn't the Democrats wanting to spend more money. As hard as many of us in the media tried to persuade people, this is money that's already been spent, we're just paying the bills. You had them framing it, we saw that in those hearings where Harry Reid on the floor and Ron Wyden in the hearing, they were all talking with Jack Lew about default, default, default.

DOUG HATTAWAY [CEO, HATTAWAY COMMUNICATIONS]: Right. This story starts in 2011 when the Republicans first played the card. We did a linguistic analysis, we look at the dialogue about the – about any topic and we can see what words define it. And we found that Democrats in 2011 weren't even talking about default. They were saying raise the debt ceiling. The problem is when people hear that, it sounds like run up the credit card.

MITCHELL: And we're showing – we're showing the graphic of one of the Power Points that you probably presented to the caucuses at various times.

HATTAWAY: It was a simple turn of phrase, turn the tables on this issue. Stop talking about raise the debt ceiling, that's just playing into the Republicans' hands. Just use the simple word "default," that starts a whole new conversation. So you see, it wasn't lots of sound bites, it was literally just say "default" and start a new conversation.

And that really worked. When we started this in 2011, about half of voters polled didn't want to raise the debt ceiling and only about a third were concerned about default. When Democrats started talking about it, that raises awareness in people's minds. And now over half of voters polled say we should not default under any circumstances.

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