Reporting on the Supreme Court taking up the issue of gay marriage for the first time, on Friday's NBC Nightly News, justice correspondent Pete Williams proclaimed: "The fact that the Court has agreed to take up both cases could mean that the Justices are prepared to get to the heart of the same-sex marriage issue, and that could result in what would essentially be the Roe v. Wade of gay rights." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
At the top of the broadcast, anchor Brian Williams billed the upcoming report as "big news...that could change everything." Introducing a repeat of the story on Saturday's Today, co-host Lester Holt announced: "Game changer? The U.S. Supreme Court plans to tackle two cases involving same-sex marriage. So will this become the law of the land?"
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich on Sunday gave Lawrence O'Donnell a much-needed education on the economic impact of the Bill Clinton tax hikes in the '90s.
As O'Donnell precipitated the exchange, he perfectly demonstrated why MSNBC commentators are far too liberally biased to be invited on NBC's Meet the Press (video follows with transcript and commentary):
During the panel discussion on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer launched an assault against Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist for holding Republicans to a pledge not to raise taxes: "What this is about is avoiding a recession which is going to happen....You're going to sacrifice that on the cross of two percent. Is that what you want?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Norquist, a fellow panelist, shot back: "I'm supportive of the Republican position, which is we need to have economic growth, not higher taxes. If we grew at four percent a year instead of two percent a year, Reagan levels instead of Obama levels, for one decade we'd net five trillion in additional revenue. That would pay down the debt that Obama has run up with the Solyndra stimulus stuff."
Reviewing several dispatches from the past couple of days, the latest news out of Egypt is that Egyptian "President" Mohammed Morsi "is not backing down in the showdown over decrees granting him near-absolute powers," that "clashes between the two camps (Morsi's Islamist supporters and secular opponents) ... left two dead and hundreds injured," and that the country's Muslim Brotherhood-dominated assembly "pushed through the 234-article draft (constitution) in just 21 hours from Thursday into Friday ... (after) Coptic Christians and liberals earlier had walked out."
The draft constitution includes several articles "that rights activists, liberals and Christians fear will lead to restrictions on the rights of women and minorities," and omits "bans on slavery or promises to adhere to international rights treaties." Oh, and I almost forgot: "The Obama administration is declining to criticize Egypt's draft constitution." It's worth identifying at this point several (but by no means all; what follows is surely a small sample) of those who in 2011 reassured the world that Egyptians had nothing to fear if the Brotherhood and Islamists became dominant.
During a discussion of the new film Lincoln on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, documentary film maker Ken Burns ranted about one of the supposed lessons he took away from the movie: "Race is always there in America....Do you think we'd have a secession movement in Texas and the other places, faddish secession movement, if this president wasn't African-American? Do you think the vitriol that came out of some elements of the Tea Party would have been at the same level had this President not been Africa-American?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh responded on Monday to comments from Republican strategists Mike Murphy and Steve Schmidt, who have called on the party to “stray away from a vision” that is right out of the conservative commentator's “dream journal.”
The radio personality deflected the criticism, noting that the moderate GOP consultants got the candidate they wanted -- former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney -- and stated that strategists get rich regardless of who wins the elections.
In an interview with liberal historian Doris Kearns-Goodwin for NBC's Press Pass, Meet the Press moderator David Gregory invited her to draw parallels between President Obama and Abraham Lincoln: "It seems like it's so hard to put Lincoln in a modern political context...But there is a leadership lesson that you think is important now and is important for President Obama embarking on a second term, as he seeks to be what he's always wanted to be, which is not just a president, but a great president."
Kearns-Goodwin used the newly released film about Lincoln to make the point: "Absolutely. I mean I think the timing of it couldn't be better. And it's just coincidence that it really happened to be....there's this great scene, it's not just a scene, but Lincoln's actual words, 'I am clothed with immense power. You will get this vote.' So a president is clothed in immense power if they use the leadership skills to make it happen."
Appearing on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman worked to downplay the terrorist attack in Libya: "There are diplomats that go to dangerous places, and sometimes...they get killed. It is a tragedy. To me, Libya is not a scandal, it's a tragedy."
While the murder of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans was indeed a tragedy, Friedman has insisted on protecting the Obama administration from criticism over the attack. On the October 21 Meet the Press, he declared of the growing scandal: "To me, this is an utterly contrived story in the sense that 'this is the end of,' you know, 'Obama's foreign policy.'"
Last week it was Republican strategist Steve Schmidt blaming Mitt Romney's loss on conservative "loons and wackos," this week on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, fellow Republican strategist Mike Murphy joined the media chorus demanding the GOP move left: "...if we don't modernize conservatism, we can go extinct....we've got to get kind of a party view of America that's not right out of Rush Limbaugh's dream journal." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Murphy explained how to "modernize" the party: "We alienate young voters because of gay marriage, we have a policy problem. We alienate Latinos – the fastest growing voter group in the country, because of our fetish on so-called amnesty....It's a fundamental rethink that begins with policy..." Moments later, he asserted: "...the biggest problem Mitt Romney had was the Republican primary. That's what's driving the Republican brand right now to a disaster."
During an exchange on NBC's Press Pass on Sunday, Meet the Press moderator David Gregory and BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith wrung their hands over political divisiveness on social media sites like Twitter, but only managed to cite a list of Obama critics as the worst offenders.
Gregory lamented: "We talk about how polarized the country is....we see this reflected in particularly nasty ways....Donald Trump on election night tweeting....Jack Welch talking about a jobless report....Tone, tenor, and message, really polarizing on Twitter." Smith added: "We did a post on election night of people, you know, demanding Obama's assassination....We got a lot of emails from folks on that list saying, 'Hey, could you please take me off that, I certainly didn't really mean to say that in public.'"
CNBC’s Jim Cramer predicted a possible recession by Christmas if lawmakers didn’t step up and make some sort of deal in regards to the looming fiscal cliff. His prediction came during an Nov. 11 appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“We can gift wrap a recession by Christmas. We can set it right into place without some agreement,” Cramer told “Meet the Press” host David Gregory. He attributed that week’s stock market drop to that same lack of certainty.
Appearing on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, liberal historian Doris Kearns-Goodwin pleaded for the American people to excuse extramarital affairs of public figures like David Petraeus: "What would we have done if FDR had not been our leader because he had an affair with Lucy Mercer? Think of the productive years that Clinton could have had if Monica Lewinsky hadn't derailed them. We've got to figure out a way that we give a private sphere for our public leaders. We're not gonna get the best people in public life if we don't do that." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Sounding more like a Democratic strategist on Sunday's Meet the Press than NBC's political director, Chuck Todd urged President Obama to force congressional Republicans into a corner on the fiscal cliff: "...go do it with 65-70 members of the Senate, cut the deal, bring it over to the House....box Boehner in....did the President learn anything from his first term about how to deal with congressional Republicans? Which is don't do it through the leadership."
Moments later, liberal pundit and historian Doris Kearns-Goodwin described how Obama could "build his mandate": "...he has to mobilize that base. That base was energized on election nigh....It's there to bring pressure on obstructionists if they don't get a deal done from the outside in....The Tea Party pressured everybody that summer, why can't his coalition, which is bigger, pressure people from the outside in?"
Sunday’s Meet the Press featured a panel of five, none of them conservative (Congressman-elect Joaquín Castro, Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, author Doris Kearns Goodwin, the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and NBC’s Chuck Todd), to assess why Mitt Romney lost and “the future of the GOP.” And they agreed conservatives are the problem.
Todd, NBC’s political director, decided the GOP has become “a coalition of special interest forces” and fretted “the leaders in Washington can’t control the special interest groups” as Republicans, like Democrats in the past, “succumbed to their base.”
In an interview with senior Romney advisor Ed Gillespie on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer ripped into an ads run by the Governor's campaign in Ohio about the auto industry: "The reaction was swift and unanimous, Ed. They were painted as misleading by independent fact-checkers. Ohio newspapers said they were an exercise in deception, a masterpiece of misdirection, and Chrysler and GM called them inaccurate and campaign politics at its cynical worst." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer jabbed: "How could this happen to the guy who is the son of a car-maker and the guy who is supposed to have the business resume?" Gillespie defended the ad regarding Chrysler expanding Jeep production in China: "...the ad is accurate. The head of Fiat came out and said that they were going to open production in China for Jeep. That's what the ad says, and that's accurate."
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory urged both Obama campaign advisor David Plouffe and Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to agree that Hurricane Sandy provided a boost to the President: "The indelible images of this week had to do with Hurricane Sandy and an impact on this race because of the President's time and the images that we saw..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gregory added: "Governor Christie in New Jersey, who as we heard gave him [Obama] such high marks...was this the October surprise, these political foes, together in leadership, and Christie giving the President such high marks?"
When, ten minutes into the October 28 Meet the Press, guest panelist Carly Fiorina brought up Benghazi, host David Gregory cut her off, but promised: “We’ll get to Libya a little bit later.” The show proceeded for nearly another 50 minutes without another mention of Libya.
A full seven days later -- 168 hours to be precise -- Gregory made good on his belated pledge, raising Benghazi with Obama operative David Plouffe just over ten minutes into the November 4 Meet the Press, but only after trying to discredit administration critics: “A lot of misinformation about this and a politicization of this in the final days.”
Today Show host Savannah Guthrie made a statement about Hurricane Sandy on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday that is sure to raise a lot of eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
"Here was a moment handed to [Obama] seemingly from above where he could look like that strong, independent, steady in a storm, very appealing to the middle of the road voters, and I might add to unmarried women voters who are going to be very key in this election" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NBC’s David Gregory isn’t always a news reporter. As we're seeing with increasing frequency on that network, he's squashing stories. Call him an unreporter. On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” he showed the extent to which he'll vaporize any suggestion that Team Obama failed to offer adequate protection from terrorists at our consulate in Benghazi.
Businesswoman Carly Fiorina slammed Obama’s Libya response: “That attack went on for seven hours…[with the] Secretary of Defense saying he denied requests for help over that seven hours.” Gregory cut her off: “We’ll get to Libya a little bit later.” Surprise: It never came up again.
Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume upbraided the press for its lack of interest in pursuing the Obama administration’s misstatements and dissembling on what they knew before and after the Benghazi terrorist attacks, lamenting on Fox News Sunday that “one of the problems we’re having here is, that it has fallen to this news organization, Fox News and a couple others, to do all the heavy lifting on this story.”
A “couple of others” may be generous. CBS’s Sharyl Attkisson is about the only other major news outlet journalist showing any interest. “The mainstream organs of the media that would be after this like a pack of hounds, if this were a Republican President,” Hume observed, “have been remarkably reticent.”
Meet the Press viewers got to see a classic Left-Right debate Sunday.
In a discussion about which presidential candidate is the most trustworthy, New York Times columnist David Brooks surprisingly teamed up with former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina to school the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow (video follows with NBCNews.com transcript and commentary):
Appearing as a panelist on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, Republican strategist Mike Murphy called out journalists for refusing to provide balanced coverage of abortion: "It's always amazed me how the media assumes there's no such thing in the world as a pro-life woman, it's the most under-represented, you know, group in the world, we never talk about them." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Murphy's observation was prompted by former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers proclaiming that Romney has "been all over the map on every issue that's important to women in this election," meaning contraception and abortion. Her comments followed moderator David Gregory declaring: "...understanding women's choices today, pressures they face, about access to contraception, about abortion...the President wants to – to drive up that wedge and get women to vote for him."
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory grilled Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" comment: "Can you understand why some women have that reaction, that he seems sort of out of touch with what modern women are going through?"
Gregory also seized on Romney's support of flexible work schedules for women as more evidence of a supposed disconnect: "He talked about the – the importance of flexibility so that, you know, women could get home early to be with their kids and make dinner. And he's gotten some criticism for that because it seems that there's a narrow view of what women's view – roles are, both at home and in the workplace."
New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman, who three weeks ago derided Mitt Romney for how he “acts...as if he learned his foreign policy at the International House of Pancakes,” on Sunday’s Meet the Press dismissed concerns over how the Obama administration handled Benghazi before and after the attacks. “To me,” he declared, “this is an utterly contrived story in the sense that ‘this is the end of,’ you know, ‘Obama’s foreign policy.’”
Over on ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos ludicrously argued: “Hasn’t the White House been relatively transparent?”
President Obama got himself in trouble last week for saying that the death of four Americans in Libya "is not optimal."
On Sunday, New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper said on NBC's Meet the Press, "The death of four Americans, which is why while incredibly tragic, is something that I think is peripheral to what's going on right now" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In a rare moment of genuine criticism of President Obama's response to the Libya terrorist attack, on Friday's NBC Today, Meet the Press moderator David Gregory slammed government "confusion" after the event: "...the administration response on this was both sluggish, sloppy and incoherent at some times..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gregory's criticism was prompted by co-host Savannah Guthrie asking about Monday's upcoming foreign policy debate. While Gregory briefly noted "missteps" on the issue by Mitt Romney in the second debate, he quickly pointed to Obama's controversial comments about the attack during a Thursday Daily Show appearance: "The President's being criticized for his – his talking points on this, on Jon Stewart saying when four Americans are killed it's 'not optimal'..."