MSNBC Asks Disgraced Dan Rather If Obama Video Smacks of GOP 'Desperation'

On Wednesday’s Jansing & Co., MSNBC anchor Chris Jansing tried to establish that there is one question “we can all anticipate and not be surprised by,” and that is a question to Mitt Romney about the 47 percent comments, because it had a “very negative effect” on voters. Jim Lehrer must repeat Obama's TV ads in a question?

But what about the “other race speech” video of Obama from 2007? In perfect formation with the DNC line, Jansing asked disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather if that smacked of Republican desperation: [ video below the break, audio here ]

JANSING: So, Dan, I guess, the question is there is no doubt about this fact that it [the Obama video] was covered. It was open to the public. It was talked about during that time. Is it smart of the Republican Party to bring this back up or does it smack of a little bit of desperation?

RATHER: I'm not sure. I’m a little surprised though they want to bring up the response or non response of the Bush Administration to Katrina in any context. Because there's a negative wake behind that, if you will, a negative aura.

Rather then said there was desperation on both sides, but broke out the folksiness: “I don't think this is going to amount to a lot. My only surprise is that Republicans want to talk about their lack, Bush's lack of response to Katrina at all in any context, in any perspective. I would think they'd want to be eight counties away from any discussion of that.”

Up next, Major Garrett of National Journal pleased Jansing by echoing Rather: “I do not expect this to be about a video from 2007. I think if Romney were to do that, it would be a strategic mistake.” Notice that no one expects that PBS veteran Jim Lehrer will bring it up.

Then Jansing brought in Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), a “Romney surrogate,” to ask him point blank about how Romney will deal with the damage caused by the secret tape, since his replies so far are not resonating, she said:

JANSING: I think if there is one question, Congressman, we can all anticipate and not be surprised by, is a question to Mitt Romney about the 47 percent. We saw in our "wall street journal" poll, talk about things that make people feel one way or another about the candidate. This has had a very negative effect. This video, this statement that Mitt Romney made on the voting public. So how does he answer that question about the 47 percent? Because to say that 'I want to be the president for the 100 percent' clearly has not resonated.

Chaffetz said Romney agreed that his statement that suggested some voters were hopeless was not eloquent, but they will judge for themselves when they see him speak. Jansing had to press him a second time:

JANSING It does seem, though, Congressman, that people at least based on the video and the video alone, they have made a decision about how they feel about it and what they think he feels about the 47 percent. So, what does he say to those people who have been affected negatively by it? How does he change their minds that it wasn't exactly what they thought it was?

CHAFFETZ: He looks them in the eye and explain what he wants to do....If Mitt is just Mitt, he’ll do just fine.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis