NBC Touts Democratic Strategy to 'Paint Republicans as the Party of the Rich'

In a report for Sunday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Kristen Welker eagerly promoted efforts by President Obama to use class warfare against Republicans leading up to the 2014 midterm elections: "President Obama will aim to reboot his presidency this year after a rocky 2013. The first item on the agenda will be extending unemployment insurance benefits....In his weekly media message, Mr. Obama blamed Republicans for leaving those benefits out of last month's budget deal." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

A clip played of Obama ranting: "And denying families that security is just plain cruel. We're a better country than that." Moments later, Welker proclaimed: "The President will also renew his call for an increase in the minimum wage in his State of the Union address. Another piece of a Democratic strategy designed to paint Republicans as the party of the rich ahead of the fall elections."

Welker only briefly explained the GOP position: "Many Republicans say they will only support it if the $6.5 billion price tag is offset by spending cuts." A sound bite followed of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul noting: "I've always said that I'm not opposed to unemployment insurance. I am opposed to having it without paying for it."

Near the end of the report, Welker predicted that Obama's "biggest political priority will be to shift the narrative on health care." Despite all the political damage the President has suffered from the ObamaCare failures, she asserted that the "administration has recovered after an initial rocky rollout."

Welker then remarked: "Republicans see nagging problems with the Affordable Care Act as their winning campaign issue."

"Nagging problems" like millions losing their health insurance?


Here is a full transcript of the January 5 report:

6:41PM ET

CARL QUINTANILLA: President Obama is back at the White House this evening following his 15-day vacation in Hawaii and he has a long list of priorities as Congress also returns this week. Our Kristen Welker joins us from the White House. Kristen, what's at the top of the President's to-do list?

KRISTEN WELKER: Well, Carl, President Obama will aim to reboot his presidency this year after a rocky 2013. The first item on the agenda will be extending unemployment insurance benefits and election year politics will play a big role in almost every fight this year.

Back from sunny Hawaii, President Obama returned to a much colder and less friendly Washington, D.C. this morning. A fitting backdrop as he gears up for the first fight of 2014, extending unemployment benefits which expired in December for 1.3 million Americans who have been out of work for six months or longer. In his weekly media message, Mr. Obama blamed Republicans for leaving those benefits out of last month's budget deal.

BARACK OBAMA: And denying families that security is just plain cruel. We're a better country than that.

WELKER: On Monday, the Senate will vote on a proposal to extend the benefits for three months. Many Republicans say they will only support it if the $6.5 billion price tag is offset by spending cuts.

SEN. RAND PAUL [R-KY]: I've always said that I'm not opposed to unemployment insurance. I am opposed to having it without paying for it.

WELKER: The President will also renew his call for an increase in the minimum wage in his State of the Union address. Another piece of a Democratic strategy designed to paint Republicans as the party of the rich ahead of the fall elections.

GENE SPERLING [NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL]: We do want to make sure that this recovery leaves no one behind, that we deal with economic inequality.

WELKER: And while the President will also continue pushing for immigration reform, his biggest political priority will be to shift the narrative on health care. The administration has recovered after an initial rocky rollout, but Republicans see nagging problems with the Affordable Care Act as their winning campaign issue.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER [R-WI]: Where people thought government had gone too big, too expansive, too a part of our lives, ObamaCare was kind of the last straw.

WELKER: There is some cautious optimism growing out of last month's budget deal that Democrats and Republicans will be able to find some common ground in 2014. One possible sign? House Speaker John Boehner has expressed a willingness to work on immigration reform. Carl.

QUINTANILLA: Kristen Welker in Washington tonight. Kristen, thanks.

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