While NBC political director Chuck Todd appeared on Thursday's Today to report on President Obama's approval rating hitting a "record low" in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll following the failed ObamaCare rollout, he made sure to wrap up the segment by touting disaster for the GOP: "Things are so bad for them....Once again in our poll, the Republican Party had a new low in their personal rating, their brand rating. They had another low in their approval rating on Capitol Hill....As bad as things are for the President, they're still worse for the Republicans." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer teed up Todd to tear down them down: "...see how Republicans are faring in this latest poll. They're the ones who shut down the government." Todd agreed with that assertion: "They are."
ABC and NBC journalists on Wednesday and Thursday hailed Kathleen Sebelius as "falling on her sword" and "taking responsibility" for the ObamaCare website debacle. On World News, reporter Jim Avila complained about the Sebelius grilling as a "rude grandstand" and a "three hour circus of a congressional hearing." He dismissed it as "official finger pointing day on Capitol Hill."
Yet, on Thursday, Avila sympathized with the Democratic Health and Human Services secretary, praising, "...The woman in charge of the Affordable Care Act fell on her sword with her first full-throated apology." The Obama official "was reluctant to pass the buck, even when pressed." Over on NBC's Today, host Matt Lauer gushed, "Kathleen Sebelius went before Congress yesterday and she did something you don't see happen in Washington very often, she took the blame." [Video of both morning shows below. MP3 audio here.]
During an interview with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie marking the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer seized the opportunity to tout Christie slamming fellow Republicans over federal relief efforts: "You said, quote, 'There's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims, the House majority and their Speaker, John Boehner.' You said, 'They used the citizens of this country like pawns on a chess board, placed politics above the oaths to our citizens.' Some of the other terms, 'callous indifference,' 'selfishness,' 'duplicity.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer then used Christie's past criticism to scold the House GOP over the government shutdown: "You just made the rounds in Congress during the government shutdown. After a year, do you think that same group has learned lessons or is it the status quo?"
As the government shutdown was nearing it's end Wednesday evening, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams conducted a live interview with John McCain, urging the Arizona Senator to slam fellow Republicans over the budget showdown: "Senator, let's talk about the damage in order, to the country, to your party, your profession, and how much of this do you lay at the feet of Senator Cruz from Texas?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
McCain began by noting political damage for both parties in the wake of the stalemate but then quickly obliged Williams, launching into an rant against conservatives in Congress: "The problem with their strategy was that it was a fool's errand. We were not going to de-fund ObamaCare. That's why we had an election in 2012. That's part of what that was all about. So it was a terrific mistake. We inflicted pain on the American people that was totally unnecessary....We Republicans have a hole that we've got to come out of."
Touting the results of an NBC News/Esquire magazine survey on Tuesday's NBC Today of the supposed political center in America, fill-in co-host Tamron Hall proclaimed: "Interesting note, we asked the middle who they trust, guys, the most. And the answer is President Obama, Oprah Winfrey. The most trusted people according to those who fall in the middle." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In response to the finding, co-host Matt Lauer turned to his fellow co-hosts and remarked: "Sorry about that, guys." Savannah Guthrie replied: "Oh, what, you thought we were in the running?" That prompted laughter from the group of journalists. Weatherman Al Roker added: "Yeah, I didn't think that was coming up." He then joked that Obama could run for a third term with Oprah as his running mate: "There's the ticket for 2016."
On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wrung his hands over Congress, particularly Republicans, not yet reaching a budget deal to end the government shutdown: "...the Tea Party seems very much dug in here. Both sides seem dug in." Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd responded by removing the criticism of "both sides": "You're right, the Tea Party side of this is dug in." [Watch the video after the jump]
Despite them being so "dug in," Todd hoped for "good news" of Republican surrender: "House Republicans, they seem to be dropping the health care thing. The question is whether the Tea Party folks will be okay with that. I don't think they will, but it does feel like the leadership of the Republican Party is trying to get away from it. And if they do, then we'll actually see an end game here."
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams sneered that the government shutdown was "being driven by a committed core of Republican members of Congress who are all but assured of re-election in their districts, and just can't be conservative enough for many of the folks back home." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd joined Williams in blaming the GOP for the budget showdown: "You know, these Tea Party conservatives helped propel Republicans to take control of the House in 2010. And these conservatives, they are the engine behind this current standoff now."
In an interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer urged Republicans to abandon their opposition to ObamaCare in order to avoid a government shutdown: "By the latest count, there have been something like 40 efforts in the House to either get rid of ObamaCare or defund it. And yet, as John McCain said last week...'We lost that fight.' The Supreme Court has upheld ObamaCare as constitutional. Do you think the Republicans should move on?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Reilly flatly rejected the idea: "No. It's a bad deal for the folks. That's absurd, why would they move on?" Lauer interjected: "It's law of the land, though." O'Reilly continued: "They can tweak it and make it better. Right now it's hurting the economy. Doctors say they're going to quit. Nobody knows what they're gonna pay."
On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie noted an offensive tweet by one Russian lawmaker reacting to Monday's Navy Yard shooting in Washington D.C.: "After those terrible shootings in Washington yesterday...he tweeted that the tragedy was, quote, 'A clear confirmation of American exceptionalism.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie explained the comment was a "not-so-subtle reference to Vladimir Putin's op-ed in TheNew York Times last week" and concluded: "Now this Russian lawmaker has followed up with a tweet that I really think is in some pretty poor taste." Fellow co-host Matt Lauer agreed: "You want to score political points, that's one thing. 12 people get killed, you shut up. You just shut up."
In an interview on Tuesday's NBC Today with Dr. Janis Orlowski, chief medical officer for Medstar Washington Hospital Center, co-host Matt Lauer seized on her call for an end to gun violence following Monday's Navy Yard shooting as a demand for gun restrictions: "You say you didn't want to wade into the issue of gun control and yet your comments are resonating with people..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Though Orlowski never specifically mentioned gun control, Lauer fretted: "...but we also heard emotional comments after Newtown and Aurora, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Are you worried that your comments will be soon forgotten, as it seems some of those other comments have been forgotten?"
NBC's Today behaved like the White House press office on Thursday as co-host Matt Lauer announced: "By the way, the White House is coming out with a brand new initiative today and the First Lady, Michelle Obama, sent us a special message about it. Take a look." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the White House-produced video that followed, the First Lady declared: "Hello Today show viewers....I'm working to inspire Americans from all across the country to drink more water. That's why I've stolen Matt and Savannah's mugs and exchanged them with water glasses. Water is the best and easiest choice we can make to feel energized, focused, healthy, and refreshed....So drink up."
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd engaged in a strategy session over how President Obama could minimize any political damage from Congress voting down a strike on Syria. Lauer fretted: "Is there an escape hatch for the President? Is there a way for him to save face politically if this vote goes against him?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer's concern was prompted by Todd observing: "[The White House is] very concerned, Matt, because it's not just that they believe they need Congress on this and they want to punish Assad and all of the Syria policy, but they realize a loss like this could be politically crippling to him [Obama] all over Washington on all the different battles that he's got coming in the next six months."
During a panel discussion on Thursday's NBC Today about comments from Pope Francis on homosexuality, co-host Matt Lauer asked the group of usual liberal pundits if the Pontiff's remarks were a "watershed moment for gays in the Church" or "just a very minor shift." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Advertising executive Donny Deutsch cheered: "I think it was a watershed moment. I think we're seeing a moment in time from the Catholic Church, all across what's happening in this country with laws being passed, that the gay lifestyle is finally becoming like, 'Yeah, so what?'"
ABC and NBC on Thursday continued to fret over the implications the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal will have on Hillary Clinton. Today's Matt Lauer worried, "By association, does this do damage to Hillary Clinton?" Over on Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton campaign operative, pointed out that Weiner refused to leave the race "even as another supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton come forward, urging him to drop out."
Who was the "supporter" that Stephanopoulos mentioned? The host's friend and fellow Clinton aide, James Carville. In a clip, Carville lectured, "If I were working [the Weiner] campaign, would I probably say, 'look, I just can't take this anymore and resign?' Yes." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The fact that Stephanopoulos and Carville defended Clinton through multiple sex scandals went unmentioned.
At the top of Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams seized on Pope Francis expressing compassion toward gay people of faith and framed the comments as a major shift for the Catholic Church: "Making history. We're on the Pope's plane as he makes some stunning comments that sure sounded revolutionary..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Later introducing a report on the topic, Williams proclaimed: "To the journalists sitting in the back of his plane flying him back to the Vatican from Rio, the Pope's words today during a surprise airborne news conference seemed, if not revolutionary, certainly newsworthy and historic in terms of the Catholic Church."
In a live interview with Trayvon Martin's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer urged them to condemn the justice system for the acquittal of their son's shooter George Zimmerman: "Do you think the legal system failed Trayvon?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer set up the question by quoting their attorney Benjamin Crump, also a guest on the program: "Here's something Mr. Crump said after the jury was selected, 'It's important that they know,' meaning the jurors, 'Trayvon Martin's parents have put their faith in the justice system. They're praying the justice system doesn't fail them. They want justice for their son.'"
Rather than update viewers on the latest details of the scandals plaguing the Obama administration, or the President's foreign policy failures in the Middle East, the hosts of NBC's Today devoted over a minute of air time Wednesday to discussing whether broccoli was really Obama's favorite food. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
News reader Natalie Morales sparked the exchange by proclaiming: "You know it's July in Washington when there's a broccoli brewhaha." She explained how President Obama told a kid reporter at a White House children's event that the vegetable was his favorite food, "with many greeting the President's claim with skepticism."
The hosts on Monday's NBC Today were all in agreement that New City Mayor Michael Bloomberg forcing all residents to sort out rotten food scraps from their garbage for composting – and to hold on to the refuse for days – was a "great idea" that would be "good for the environment." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Matt Lauer briefly explained the program: "[Bloomberg] wants you to take your food scraps, put them in a container about the size of a picnic basket in your home, hold them for a few days and then later put them in some larger...containers out on the sidewalk....This is going to be part of a voluntary program at first, which will then become a mandatory program." He added that "they've tried it with a few pilot programs here in New York and the participation was very high."
In an interview with Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer seemed perplexed by the Fox News host asserting that "the Obama administration doesn't tell us anything" about numerous government scandals: "So you think there's been less transparency under this administrations than there has been under past administrations?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
O'Reilly responded: "I don't know. I mean maybe, but I can't find out anything. Can you? I don't know what happened in Benghazi, I don't know what happened in the IRS, I don't know what happened with James Rosen....they won't tell us anything."
Following the death of New Jersey Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg on Monday, Tuesday's NBC Today immediately began speculating on his replacement and the potential fallout for Chris Christie, with co-host Matt Lauer announcing it to be a "dilemma" and "political hot potato" for the Republican governor. The headline on screen read: "Lautenberg Seat Poses Political Problem." [Watch the video after the jump]
Lauer proclaimed: "I think the New York Times summed it up pretty well...Normally a governor would love to have this opportunity...but there's a lot of personal political risk for Chris Christie." Political director Chuck Todd agreed: "There is...any time you introduce a new factor into all of this, is always unsettling. Chris Christie is on the verge of getting a whole bunch of bipartisan support, Democrats crossing the aisle...So this is now actually a lot trickier than it should be."
Talking to CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer on Wednesday's NBC Today about signs of improvement in the economy, co-host Matt Lauer wondered about past media fearmongering: "[What] we talked about over and over again over the last year was the sequester and whether it would pour a lot of cold water over our recovery here. Has that happened?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Cramer replied: "No, it didn't. It didn't even hurt the defense stocks, those are the hottest stocks there is. So the stock market is terrific, housing's good, spending is going to increase. Things are going to get better."
At the top of Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer seized on Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's decision not to seek re-election in 2014: "Breaking news. A bombshell announcement from Michele Bachmann. The Tea Party favorite says she won't seek another term in Congress....But with a swirl of controversy surrounding her, will that future include politics?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos responded to the news by fretting that Bachmann not being in Congress "takes away a big target for Democrats." Correspondent Jon Karl agreed: "Oh, that's right, George. For some Democrats, Michele Bachmann was, really, target number one. She was the most high-profile and controversial leader of the Tea Party in the Congress."
In an interview with Chris Christie on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer grilled the New Jersey Governor on his skepticism that man-made climate change caused Superstorm Sandy: "You said you don't think there's been any proof thus far that Sandy was caused by climate change. Several experts I've heard from say the destruction, though, from Sandy, was probably more severe because of elements of climate change, including rising sea levels." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer began to ask: "Are you not willing to say that's from-" Christie cut him off: "No, I'm not....this is their business, they study it, and they say, 'probably,' 'maybe.' All I said was, I haven't been shown any definitive proof yet that that's what caused it. And this is just – listen, this is distraction. I've got a place to rebuild here and people want to talk to me about esoteric theories."
In an interview with Congressman Tom Cole on Wednesday's NBC Today about the tornado that devastated his hometown of Moore, Oklahoma, co-host Matt Lauer saw an opportunity to hit congressional Republicans for daring to oppose pork barrel spending shoved into the Hurricane Sandy relief bill: "Back in January, you did something that a lot of your Republican colleagues did not do. You supported that bill for federal assistance, money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an interview with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer tried to dismiss the growing Benghazi scandal: "Do you think that the administration has answered enough questions on it? Do you think it's possible that some Republicans are trying to use this to discredit Hillary Clinton in case she decides to run for president in 2016?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Rumsfeld replied: "No. I think that's a side – that's the sideshow, is the Hillary Clinton piece of it. No, the first problem was if you're going to put people at risk, you have to try to protect them....And the Americans were left in and they weren't provided the kind of security that they needed, obviously, because they're dead."
Teasing an upcoming panel discussion on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: "Today's Professionals are going to weigh in on what could be a game changer in the gun debate, a plastic pistol undetectable by most security systems that almost anyone can make at home using some modern technology." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Fretting over details being released on how to construct the weapon using a 3D printer, Lauer posed this questions to the usual group of liberal pundits: "What do we do about it?" Attorney Star Jones admitted that there wasn't much that could be done under existing law, "other than really step up our efforts at gun control....if you make the behavior, the penalty for the behavior, the possession of a gun, no matter how it's manufactured, much more stringent."
Appearing for his regular "Miller Time" segment on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor on Tuesday, comedian Dennis Miller denounced former Vice President Al Gore as a "detestable cat" and "a phony," as he recommended that "everybody should shun Al Gore" after he sold Current TV to Al-Jazeera.
After host Bill O'Reilly joked that Gore was a "personal friend' of Miller's, the comedian made a point of denying any friendship with the former Vice President as he began his response:
Amid the celebration on Tuesday's NBC Today over the "groundbreaking" "game changer" announcement by NBA player Jason Collins that he is gay, co-host Matt Lauer brought on liberal New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, who ranted: "I hope that the league of old men and women on the Supreme Court are paying attention to this....Because same-sex marriage and the constitutionality is now going to be heard....This is a human rights issue, it's not a civil rights issue." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, after Lauer wondered about the possibility of other players coming out, Lupica proclaimed: "Women have been doing this in sports for a long time. And women have been more accepting about this. And it just kind of verifies that women are a lot smarter and cooler about this stuff and I'm hoping that that transfers now to guys."
At the beginning of a live interview with former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wondered about the motivation behind Bush's presidential library: "So many difficult moments, so many controversial decisions you made. Some of them cost you dearly in terms of popularity. Is one of the ideas here...to force your critics to take a second look?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
As the three of them toured the museum, Lauer highlighted an exhibit on the war on terror and noted how "it includes what was perhaps the most controversial decision of your presidency, invading Iraq." Lauer wondered: "Do you want people to look at some of the information you had, and do you think you'll convince the people who thought that was an unjust war, the wrong war at the wrong time, that perhaps you were right?"