NBC's Lauer Revels in Christie Bashing GOP and Praising Obama Over Sandy Relief

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?"

At no point did Lauer explain that congressional Republicans objected to the relief bill because of the amount of wasteful pork barrel spending shoved into it that had nothing to do with aiding victims of Sandy.

After detailing Christie's lambasting of the GOP, Lauer gushed over the Governor's praise for Obama:

And yet, you have gone out of your way to praise the President. I mean, the enduring image of you two touring the devastation together. You said you talked to him every day for ten days after the storm and that when you called him with a problem, it usually got fixed in an hour. You went on to say that he seemed emotionally impacted by what he saw and he would call you just to see how you were doing. Contrast to what – that to what you have also said about members of your own party in Congress. Why the difference?

Christie proclaimed:

Well, you know, I think sometimes these kind of crises bring out the best in an executive and I think that may be what happened with the President at that time. But you know, the fact is, you know me, Matt, I call them as I see them. And when people ask me questions, I tell them the truth as I see it. And back a year ago, the President kept his word to the people of New Jersey. And if I was asked about it, I was going to say that regardless of the politics. And be critical of my own party when they were coming up short for the people of New Jersey.

The segment began with Lauer pressing Christie on the thousands still waiting for aid a year after the storm: "They are saying that they're drowning in red tape at the town level, the city level, the state level, the federal level, from their insurance companies....and some people, to be honest, pointed a finger of blame at you and said you deserve some of that blame. Do you?...Whose heads need to be banged together to get that money to the people who still desperately need it?"

Christie blamed bureaucracy in Washington: "Well, we're banging heads, Matt, at the federal level....there is enormous amounts of red tape that we call the Katrina hangover. Because of some of the waste and abuse, there's a lot more federal regulation that folks are having to deal with. And we're continuing to push back on that."

Despite that assessment, President Obama remained blameless throughout the entire exchange.

In January, NBC similarly shielded the President from criticism while going after Republicans.


Here is a portion of Lauer's October 29 interview with Christie:

7:17AM ET

(...)

LAUER: And you talk about that delay in getting funds to the people who desperately needed it. Boy, were you vocal about it at the time. 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." 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?

CHRISTIE: Well, Matt, I hope everybody down in Washington is starting to learn lessons, although I have to tell you the truth, you look at some of the stuff down there and you think maybe they haven't. But I think both parties have to get back to work and start talking to each other and working with each other like we do here in New Jersey. You know, I have a Democratic legislature, but we've accomplished a lot here. Because yeah we yell and scream at each other at times, but then we sit down around a table and we get things done for the people who elected us. And I think there's too little of that spirit in Washington D.C. even today.

LAUER: And yet, you have gone out of your way to praise the President. I mean, the enduring image of you two touring the devastation together. You said you talked to him every day for ten days after the storm and that when you called him with a problem, it usually got fixed in an hour. You went on to say that he seemed emotionally impacted by what he saw and he would call you just to see how you were doing. Contrast to what – that to what you have also said about members of your own party in Congress. Why the difference?

CHRISTIE: Well, you know, I think sometimes these kind of crises bring out the best in an executive and I think that may be what happened with the President at that time. But you know, the fact is, you know me, Matt, I call them as I see them. And when people ask me questions, I tell them the truth as I see it. And back a year ago, the President kept his word to the people of New Jersey. And if I was asked about it, I was going to say that regardless of the politics. And be critical of my own party when they were coming up short for the people of New Jersey. The bottom line is, my job is to stand up for the people of New Jersey and fight for them and that's what I'm gonna do regardless of the politics.

(...)

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