After Dems Blow Up Budget Deal, NBC's Guthrie Insists GOP Get Blame for Shutdown

In an interview with Republican Senator Bob Corker on Monday's NBC Today – after Democrats sabotaged a bipartisan Senate deal to raise the nation's debt limit over the weekend – co-host Savannah Guthrie was still determined to place all blame for the budget impasse on the GOP: "As you well know, the polls have been absolutely devastating to Republicans. Do you think that Republican Party deserves credit or blame, however you want to put it, for this shutdown and now this looming crisis with the debt ceiling?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

In part, Corker responded: "...in fairness, the other side of the aisle seeing what they thought was weakness, also moved to a place that was an overreach....I don't really focus on who gets blame, I was elected to try to solve problems and I think we're on the verge of possibly doing that today."

Guthrie prefaced her slanted question by inaccurately quoting Corker from earlier in the exchange: "You just mentioned that House Republicans, in your view, overreached with this entire exercise." In reality, here's what he actually told her mere moments before: "You know there's no question that House Republicans for a long time overreached regarding the health care bill. And for about, you know, 48 hours now, the Democrats have overreached by wanting to spend more, unbelievably."

Clearly Corker blamed both sides for making tough demands in the ongoing stalemate and never suggested Republicans were to blame for the "entire exercise" of the shutdown.  

In addition to Corker's reference to Democratic "overreach," White House correspondent Peter Alexander wrapped up a prior report by noting: "Some Republicans are accusing the Democrats of overreaching, basically trying to capitalize on the Republican Party's slipping poll numbers."

Beyond those mentions, none of the coverage on Monday's Today actually detailed how Democrats caused the collapse of budget negotiations on Sunday.


Here is a full transcript of Guthrie's October 14 interview with Corker:

7:04AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Let's bring in Senator Bob Corker, he's a Republican from Tennessee. Senator Corker, good morning to you.

SEN. BOB CORKER [R-TN]: Good morning, Savannah.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Let's Make A Deal; GOP Senator on Shutdown & Debt Deadline]

GUTHRIE: Well, here we are at the precipice. Are you willing to go out on a limb and say by Thursday this Congress will raise the debt ceiling, increasing the nation's borrowing limit and potentially warding off economic disaster?

CORKER: Well, Savannah, you know there's no question that House Republicans for a long time overreached regarding the health care bill. And for about, you know, 48 hours now, the Democrats have overreached by wanting to spend more, unbelievably. But I do sense that people are getting back on the right page here and I do hope that by the end of the day we'll have agreement that makes sense for our country.

GUTHRIE: Are you confident of that? Because you've got CEOs openly worrying, world leaders meeting this weekend, very, very worried about the impact, not just in this country, but across the world financial markets. I mean, can you confidently say, "Yes, Congress will take us off this cliff"?

CORKER: Savannah this environment is different than any that I've seen around an arrangement like this. So it's very difficult, I think, for any of us to say for sure this is gonna happen. I was with finance ministers from around the world on Saturday night. Typically I'm in Tennessee, obviously I was here this weekend. And you're right, there is a lot of concern about whether we're gonna meet this deadline. I think at the end of the day, we will.

But to do so, we really have to move ahead today with a Senate agreement, and then the House has got to be open to focusing on those things that make our country stronger, which is spending restraint. Hopefully everybody is now getting, as I mentioned earlier, on the right page, and that is focused on spending and reforms and the kind of things that make our country stronger. I think that is beginning to be the case and hopefully we'll move ahead today, Savannah.

GUTHRIE: You just mentioned that House Republicans, in your view, overreached with this entire exercise. As you well know, the polls have been absolutely devastating to Republicans. Do you think that Republican Party deserves credit or blame, however you want to put it, for this shutdown and now this looming crisis with the debt ceiling?

CORKER: Well, that effort obviously was not one that bore fruit and I knew that from day one, have been saying that. On the other hand, in fairness, the other side of the aisle seeing what they thought was weakness, also moved to a place that was an overreach. So look, I think we're finally, Savannah, in a place where, again, the right conversation is occurring.

I don't really focus on who gets blame, I was elected to try to solve problems and I think we're on the verge of possibly doing that today. So let's stay focused on that and move this behind us. And let's set up an arrangement where, in an orderly way, we can focus on those reforms that we all know as a country we need to have in place to make our nation stronger.

GUTHRIE: Well, we know people will be glad of that if it happens. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, good to have you with us, sir. Thank you.

CORKER: Thank you.

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