NBC's Todd Proclaims: 'Certainly Some Fodder' For Democrats in Romney Tax Returns

After eagerly awaiting the release of Mitt Romney's tax returns, on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer immediately wondered how the new information could hurt the Republican presidential candidate, asking chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd: "Do you see any surprises in here, anything that will give his rivals more ammunition?"

Todd wasted no time in reciting liberal talking points bashing Romney: "I think there is certainly some fodder for some of his Democratic opponents. Things like having a Swiss bank account. You know, that's not something a lot of ordinary Americans have....it certainly paints a picture of something that a lot of Americans cannot connect to."

Continuing to outline supposed problems for Romney, Todd simultaneously promoted President Obama's class warfare argument: "But it's the timing of this release, Matt, that I think is probably the most difficult thing for the Romney campaign to handle. The President tonight is giving a State of the Union, the theme is this issue of fairness, a little bit of income inequality, and here is the potential Republican nominee who we noted that it's 40 million-plus in income over two years..."

<<Like this post? Help us take on media bias by donating to NewsBusters (there's also a PayPal option on that page). Without the support of our readers, NewsBusters would not be possible.>>

At the top of the broadcast, co-host Ann Curry touted the release as "breaking news" and declared: "Mitt Romney releases his tax returns, revealing he paid a 14% rate on nearly $22 million in income in 2010....does all this give his opponents more ammunition or does it end the issue all together?"


Here is a full transcript of Lauer's January 24 exchange with Todd:

7:06AM ET

MATT LAUER: Chuck Todd is NBC's political director and chief White House correspondent. Chuck, good morning to you. So after weeks of questions we finally get a look at this 2010 tax report or return from Mitt Romney. Do you see any surprises in here, anything that will give his rivals more ammunition?

CHUCK TODD: Well, I think there is certainly some fodder for some of his Democratic opponents. Things like having a Swiss bank account. You know, that's not something a lot of ordinary Americans have. But it's the timing of this release, Matt, that I think is probably the most difficult thing for the Romney campaign to handle. The President tonight is giving a State of the Union, the theme is this issue of fairness, a little bit of income inequality, and here is the potential Republican nominee who we noted that it's 40 million-plus in income over two years, but he wasn't working. He was running for president. So he was essentially – this was all interest and dividend income. It's the type of thing, it certainly paints a picture of something that a lot of Americans cannot connect to.

LAUER: Let's go to the debate last night. Mike Murphy on Meet the Press on Sunday, the Republican strategist, said that Mitt Romney was wounded after South Carolina. He was now in a corner with a broken bottle and he had to decide whether he was going to fight with it. It appears he decided to fight with it.

TODD: He did all day yesterday. It started with that ad that Peter mentioned in his report. Last night his strategy seemed to be to go after Gingrich and then hope Gingrich would respond. But that was the odd thing about last night, is Gingrich made the decision, "No, no, no, I'm going to be above the fray, I want to act like the frontrunner. I want to put a smile on my face a little bit." And you could tell was Romney was trying, spent 30 minutes to try to draw him out. Didn't successfully do it. And then he backed off a little bit because I think he realized he didn't want to look a little shrill.

LAUER: Alright, Chuck Todd in Washington this morning. Chuck, thank you very much.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC