On Tuesday, both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning interviewed White House chief of staff Denis McDonough about President Obama's upcoming State of the Union address and fretted over the commander-in-chief failing to push his liberal agenda in 2013. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Today co-host Savannah Guthrie pressed: "I looked at last year's State of the Union. He called for a hike in the minimum wage, for immigration reform, for gun laws to be revamped. By the way, he also said the government shouldn't shut down. None of that happened. So when he calls for those things tonight, how can the American people believe that they really will come to pass?"
In a live interview with former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie grilled him on his interactions with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: "...you see the bridge scandal and other allegations have come forward. And they all seem to have a theme, which is that he uses, allegedly, hardball, sometimes bullying tactics against people who cross him. Have you never experienced that side of him?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Romney dismissed the notion: "No, Chris and I get along very well. We're close friends."
On Tuesday, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts all hyped the White House's announcement that President Obama's would meet with Pope Francis in March, and emphasized their apparent agreement on economic issues. On CBS This Morning, Bill Plante touted the "chance for him [Obama] to align himself with the agenda of the very popular new pope, at a time when the President's own popularity here at home is at a low point."
ABC's Robin Roberts even asserted on Good Morning America that the two world leaders are "very similar." However, none of these morning shows reported that just a week earlier, the Pope's secretary of state "expressed [his] concern...for the healthcare reforms in relation to the guarantee of religious freedom and conscientious objection" during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. [MP3 audio available here; video clips below the jump]
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today to provide his New Year political predictions for 2014, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd assured co-host Savannah Guthrie that despite the ObamaCare disaster, Republicans would be "in just as bad of a place, if not worse than they were." He explained: "It just doesn't look like it right now because of health care." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd's wishful thinking was prompted by Guthrie observing: "[Republicans] were widely blamed for the government shutdown. I think they were, in some ways, rescued by the debacle with the ObamaCare rollout because the heat was off them." Todd pushed back: "...they haven't fixed their structural problems....it's a false sense of security....they threw out this whole, 'Okay, we've got to get better with minorities and get better with technology and get better with various issues, not look like we're so anti-woman.' They've made no – they've made no accomplishments on that front. None of it."
ABC, CBS, and NBC all devoted air time to the Obama administration's latest "fix for the botched health care rollout"on their Friday morning newscasts, but failed to include any conservative or Republican reaction to this development. Good Morning America minimized their coverage, airing just two news briefs on "the White House offering relief now for people who lost their health insurance because it didn't meet standards required by the...health care law."
Today and CBS This Morning both spotlighted the insurance industry's worries over this change, but didn't get around to the possible political fallout over the White House announcement. Guthrie only vaguely asserted how the "fix" might be "more ammunition for the critics of the law."
An NBC producer is sure going to have some splainin’ to do after the production gaffe that occurred during Thursday’s coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
With Today cooking expert Sandra Lee on screen waving to the crowd aboard the Tom Turkey float, Matt Lauer said, “With its wings flappin', eyes rollin', and head bobbin', this old bird is grateful to be 'The one that got away'” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
After playing a clip of Saturday Night Live mocking President Obama's "embattled second term" on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie sympathetically observed: "I guess if you're at the White House you laugh so you don't cry." She then turned to Obama's former press secretary Robert Gibbs and wondered: "What do you think the President's state of mind is right now? I mean, have you ever seen him like this, saying – acknowledging, 'I have a credibility problem'?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gibbs responded by trying to insulate the President from any responsibility for the disastrous ObamaCare rollout: "I think he is obviously tremendously frustrated that no one told him the extent of this problem. I think that you, as the commander-in-chief and as the President of the United States, have to trust all of those around you to implement and I think there's no doubt a deficit of trust that's lead to that deficit of credibility."
On Friday, NBC's Today tried to cast President Obama's Thursday press conference about the ObamaCare disaster in the most sympathetic light possible, with co-host Savannah leading off the show by proclaiming: "The humble president....President Obama does damage control on the botched health care rollout with his legacy hanging in the balance." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the segment moments later, Guthrie claimed the President was "falling on the sword over this health care rollout disaster." In the report that followed, White House correspondent Peter Alexander emphasized Obama's supposedly humility: "The President the first to admit that he has a lot of work ahead of him to regain the confidence of the American people....[he] was strikingly contrite."
At least for Thursday, the network morning shows admitted that ObamaCare is an "embarrassing," "botched" failure that has landed with a "resounding thud." ABC, NBC and CBS offered blunt, stark descriptions of the health care law's low enrollment rates and the disastrous implementation. Good Morning America reporter Jim Avila explained, "The President's signature achievement, health care for everyone, officially got off to a resounding thud." He added that Republicans are "seizing on the botched rollout."
Over on NBC's Today, Savannah Guthrie unloaded on the President: "A new poll that has the President's approval rating hitting an all-time low as the administration is forced to acknowledge health care enrollment numbers that are embarrassingly low." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Correspondent Peter Alexander marveled, "For a better sense of just how few Americans signed up for ObamaCare in the first month – 106,000 total – consider that's barely enough to fill a large football stadium and only one-fifth of what government officials had projected."
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today to hawk his new book, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough – whose own radio show was cancelled after a brief run in 2010 – proceeded to slam conservative talk radio hosts: "They make millions and millions of dollars....they start pushing their world view on Republicans across the country and start saying, 'You either have to run up to the barricades and fight to the death every single time or you're not sufficiently conservative' and you actually have politicians listening to that and not understanding that's a profit motive." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
He added: "...we've got to stop feeding every single little resentment if we want to get back into the White House."
On Tuesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd eagerly forecasted Republican defeat in the Virginia governor's race and that all the blame for the loss would be ascribed to conservatives: "There are a lot of anti-Tea Party Republicans who think the Tea Party has done damage to the Republican Party who are going....'You've got a Tea Party that took over the Virginia Republican Party and look at how that's going.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Touting the possibility that the Virginia GOP "could be swept this year" in all statewide offices, Todd concluded: "I think there's going to be a lot of 'I told you sos' on where the internal split of the Republican Party is. Virginia could be Tea Party losses. New Jersey, moderate Republicans winning."
Promoting his new book about the 2012 election, Double Down, with co-author Mark Halperin on Monday's NBC Today, New York Magazine national affairs editor John Heilemann offered Obama campaign spin to excuse the President's disastrous performance in the first debate against Mitt Romney: "...[Obama's] disdain for Romney, his contempt for Romney, he couldn't figure out how to deal with that. He would say, 'What am I supposed to do when he starts spewing his BS?'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Heilemann laughably added that Obama also had "contempt for the theatricality of politics," which, "all got mixed up together and he gave this horrible practice session performance that left them totally stymied about how they were going to fix it" before the second debate with Romney.
ObamaCare is falling apart. The National Security Agency has been accused of spying on our closest allies. So what does NBC Today show host Savannah Guthrie think is the biggest story in politics right now?
As told to NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno Tuesday, whether or not Hillary Clinton is going to run for president in 2016 (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
In part two of an interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday's NBC Today, focused on his new book about his struggle with heart disease, co-host Savannah Guthrie couldn't resist the chance use Cheney's health problems to promote big government: "...some of this technology that ultimately lead to the pump that kept you alive before you could have the [heart] transplant started in 1964 with government funding. So you can look at it as you're a living, breathing example of government investment." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In an interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed a "civil war" in the Republican Party and persistently urged him to blame it on the Tea Party. Instead, Cheney began the exchange by explaining: "I think the most radical operator in Washington today is the President. I think he's trying to take the country in a direction that is fundamentally different than anything we've seen before." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie was undeterred and continued to stoke GOP division: "And you would think that might be a unifying moment for the party but instead you have Senator Lindsey Graham this weekend calling the shutdown 'a political gift to Democrats'....Mitch McConnell said, 'I think we fully acquainted our new members with what a losing strategy is.' That suggests there is a real rift."
Eager to declare Republican defeat in the budget showdown on Wednesday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "As John McCain said, Republicans have to understand, 'We lost this battle.' Let's put this very simply, after a shutdown that lasted 16 days, a shutdown led by House Republicans who wanted to undermine the President's new health care law, by the end of today, those Republicans may leave with little to nothing...to show for it." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Co-host Savannah Guthrie used the same talking points in an interview with Republican senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Kelly Ayotte minutes later: "Some of your Republican colleagues over there [in the House] said you guys are the 'Senate surrender caucus.' Are you angry, embarrassed, frustrated?...Do they still need a reality check today? Do you agree with what Senator McCain said, which was essentially, 'This fight is lost, it's time to move on'?"
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."
After NBC spent weeks painting congressional Republicans as the villains who caused the government shutdown, on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams opened the broadcast by smugly announcing: "Who do the American people blame for the shutdown of their government? Tonight our new NBC News poll is out and the answer is clear." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Friday's Today, political director Chuck Todd melodramatically touted the polling data: "Look, the shutdown has been, there's no sugarcoating this, an unmitigated political disaster for the GOP. Here is who's to blame. Nearly 53% blame congressional Republicans for this. Just 31% blame President Obama....This is something unprecedented, even for shutdown politics."
In an effort to insulate President Obama from criticism during the government shutdown and focus all blame on members of Congress, NBC's Today created the Twitter topic #DearCongress to provide "a forum for you to vent." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After urging viewers on Tuesday to use the hastag in their anti-Congress tweets, on Wednesday, the hosts of the network morning touted the success of the effort. Co-host Savannah Guthrie announced "growing public outrage on day two of the government shutdown." In a report that followed, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "Across the country, a growing chorus of frustration....Americans stepping up to the mic under the #DearCongress, that launched...here on Today."
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today, MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews dismissed Republican attempts to delay ObamaCare as a futile effort: "The President was elected – reelected again. He won this fight over health care....the President will not give up his baby, and I think they know that. That's why this is a scary fight. They've gone to ask Obama to give them something he can't give them, which is his health care bill." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Matthews also ranted about Republican members of Congress having strong political support in their districts: "230 congressional districts are Republican. They voted against this President, they voted for a Republican congressmen. Those congress people, men and women, can't be defeated on this issue. They know they can fight to the death on this....[the President] can't stop those people because they're unbeatable in their districts."
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie acknowledged the liberal spin that congressional Republicans were punished electorally after the 1995 government shutdown was more a matter of faith than fact: "I mean, for 17 years it's been an article of faith that Republicans paid at the polls after the shutdown in the 90s. But these new House Republicans aren't so sure that's true." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
That observation was in response to chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd declaring: "...while there are that small band of loud conservatives who are wanting to, you know, not cave, not give in to anything, do whatever it takes to stop the health care law, there is a growing chorus of moderate Republicans who are telling Boehner, 'Don't do this. You remember how bad this was for the Republican Party 20 years ago. What are you doing? You're putting the majority at risk.'"
On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie noted an offensive tweet by one Russian lawmaker reacting to Monday's Navy Yard shooting in Washington D.C.: "After those terrible shootings in Washington yesterday...he tweeted that the tragedy was, quote, 'A clear confirmation of American exceptionalism.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie explained the comment was a "not-so-subtle reference to Vladimir Putin's op-ed in TheNew York Times last week" and concluded: "Now this Russian lawmaker has followed up with a tweet that I really think is in some pretty poor taste." Fellow co-host Matt Lauer agreed: "You want to score political points, that's one thing. 12 people get killed, you shut up. You just shut up."
NBC's Today behaved like the White House press office on Thursday as co-host Matt Lauer announced: "By the way, the White House is coming out with a brand new initiative today and the First Lady, Michelle Obama, sent us a special message about it. Take a look." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the White House-produced video that followed, the First Lady declared: "Hello Today show viewers....I'm working to inspire Americans from all across the country to drink more water. That's why I've stolen Matt and Savannah's mugs and exchanged them with water glasses. Water is the best and easiest choice we can make to feel energized, focused, healthy, and refreshed....So drink up."
Barack Obama appeared on all three networks (as well as CNN and PBS) Monday night to try and salvage support for his planned strike against Syria. But it was World News anchor Diane Sawyer who appeared ready to preemptively credit the President with possibly solving the unraveling issue.
The host began the program by touting, "And moments ago, I sat down with President Obama who seemed to be signaling the tough stand by the U.S. may have caused a dictator to back down." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Sawyer added, "If Bashar al-Assad yields control of his chemical weapons to international authority, are we back from the brink?" Both CBS and NBC offered tougher questions to the President, pressing Obama on lack of support from the American people.
In an exclusive interview with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie attempted to blame the Bush administration for President Obama's difficulty in garnering support for military action against Syria: "Looming over this debate time and time again has been the specter of Iraq. Most recently, the U.K. Parliament, many members cited the failure of intelligence leading up to Iraq as the reason that they won't take action now in Syria..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Turning to Rumsfeld, Guthrie wondered: "Do you personally take any responsibility for that? Or feel any responsibility for that?" Rumsfeld reminded Guthrie of the lengthy process that led up to the Iraq War: "President Bush went to the congress, got the support of the congress. Went to the U.N., got the support of the U.N. And fashioned a very large coalition. So it seems to me that all the appropriate steps were taken and the congress, a Democratic congress, voted for regime change in Iraq."
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie conducted a cooking segment with White House chef Sam Kass to promote First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign and wondered: "So do you feel like the program is having the intended effect? Do you think people are thinking differently about food, now?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Kass, boyfriend of MSNBC host Alex Wagner, declared: "Oh, absolutely. I think we're seeing the country unite around our kid's health....last year the new school lunch standards were put in place. School chefs are cooking much healthier food, and that's going to happen gain this year." However, on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported: "After just one year, some schools around the country are dropping out of the healthier new federal lunch program..."
In an exclusive interview with Bradley Manning's attorney David Coombs on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie read a "bombshell announcement" from the convicted military leaker: "I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female." After referring to Manning as "he" throughout the segment, Guthrie immediately switched pronouns: "Why did she choose this moment to announce this?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Guthrie then fretted: "She wants hormone therapy. Fort Leavenworth does not provide that. Are you going to sue to try to force the government to give her hormone therapy, and perhaps a sex-reassignment surgery?" Coombs replied: "...as far as the hormone therapy, yes. I'm hoping Fort Leavenworth would do the right thing and provide that. If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that they are forced to do so."
In an impressive display of journalistic gymnastics on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie and Meet the Press moderator David Gregory managed to have an entire discussion about U.S. policy in Egypt without mentioning President Obama by name. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Plenty of vague substitutions were used, including "the President" "the White House" "the administration" and most popularly, "the U.S." Anything to avoid actually holding Barack Obama accountable for the internal strife plaguing a key ally in the Middle East. Even the headline on screen during the morning show segment read: "Chaos in Egypt; What Options Does U.S. Have?" They at least briefly showed Obama on screen during the segment.
Setting up an interview on Tuesday's NBC Today with author Christopher Andersen about his new book on President Kennedy's final days, co-host Savannah Guthrie began with a gauzy introduction: "As we approach November's 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, the facts and folklore surrounding his life and family are still captivating the world....the images of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his young family continue to inspire nostalgia for a bygone era filled with hope and promise." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After labeling him and Jackie Kennedy "one of the original power couples," Guthrie noted: "But plagued by personal tragedy and allegations of infidelity, the veil over Camelot has long since been lifted." Turning to Andersen, Guthrie observed: "You write about the alleged infidelities of the former president." Andersen had to correct her: "Yes. Well, not alleged. Established."
On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie seized on Hillary Clinton having lunch with President Obama to promote NBC's upcoming four-part miniseries on the former secretary of state and first lady: "[She] has been traveling around the country giving speeches as you know, as she considers whether to get into the 2016 presidential campaign. Well, whether she runs or whether she doesn't, NBC says it will move forward with a new miniseries about her life." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
As the headline on screen blared, "Hillary Goes Hollywood," Guthrie touted the casting for Clinton: "This is slated to be a four-part movie starring Oscar nominee Diane Lane, and it will recount Clinton's final years as first lady up to the present. No word yet on who would play other characters, such as Bill Clinton, perhaps Monica Lewinsky."