NBC's Meredith Vieira on Thursday conducted a defensive interview with Fox News contributor Dick Morris, at one point skeptically wondering if "the Republican tactic from this point on" would be "to sit and watch Obama fail." Later, when Morris pointed out the problems with the Canadian health care system, the Today host retorted, "But, the President clearly has said that's not the road he's headed down."
On one level, NBC should be commended for actually featuring Morris to talk about "Catastrophe," his new anti-Obama book. But, the interview didn't air until 8:51am, long after many Americans had left for work. Co-host Matt Lauer dominated most of the program's first two hours, reporting live from the late Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch.
This led Morris to make a dig at the show's excessive coverage. Speaking of Canada's government-run health care, he quipped, "So in Canada, there's a 16 percent higher death rate from cancer than in the United States. And that's not Neverland, that's U.S."
After Vieira read aloud the lengthy subtitle of Morris' book, which accuses Obama of making the recession worse, the journalist fretted, "What an indictment of the administration. Where do you come up with that?" She responded to a litany of the author's complaints about economic policy by insisting, "But, then why, Dick, do you think a majority of Americans, 56 percent by our latest poll, think he is doing a good job?"
The NBC co-anchor recited a comment from the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, Senator John Cornyn, in which he asserted that now that the Democrats have Al Franken seated and 60 votes, the "era of excuses" is over. Misrepresenting what Cornyn said, Vieira spun, "Is that essentially going to be the Republican tactic from this point on, to sit and watch Obama fail?"
A transcript of the July 2 segment, which aired at 8:51am, follows:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Dick Morris is a veteran political strategist and co-author of the new book "Catastrophe: How Obama, Congress and the Special Interests are Transforming a Slump Into a Crash, Freedom Into Socialism and a Disaster Into a Catastrophe and How to Fight Back." Dick Morris, good morning.
DICK MORRIS: Well, is the segment over after you read the title?
VIEIRA: What an indictment of the administration. Where do you come up with that?
MORRIS: Well, he inherited a disaster that was the recession. And the first thing he did was to spend over a trillion dollars in stimulus and supplemental appropriation and it has done no good. In August [sic], the American people got $50 billion of stimulus money. Their income rose $121 billion but the savings rose $131 billion. They saved it all. Nobody spent it and now Obama has doubled interest rates, mortgage rates are up by a point in the last six weeks, entirely to fund the stimulus package that's not stimulating.
VIEIRA: But, then why, Dick, do you think a majority of Americans, 56 percent by our latest poll, think he is doing a good job?
MORRIS: Well, because we- it takes awhile for us to adjust to the idea that the recession began under Bush is basically winding down, and the recession that's being caused by Obama's policies is revving up. In fact, I believe that not only will this- look, I used to work for Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton balanced the budget, eliminated the deficit and cut capital gains, lowered interest rates. Obama-
VIEIRA: But, he didn't inherit the mess that Obama inherited.
MORRIS: Obama- Obama raised interest rates, doubled the deficit and is raising taxes. Clinton inherited quite a mess and the idea that you solve that problem by increasing the deficit and elbowing everyone aside at the loan window to get in there first is just wrong. So, I think that he's giving us several more years of recession, followed by inflation. The money supply has tripled since October.
VIEIRA: Meanwhile the super majority in the Senate, now that Al Franken has won his seat. Texas Senator John Cornyn chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee had this to say. He said, "With that super majority, the era of excuses and finger pointing is now over." Is that essentially going to be the Republican tactic from this point on, to sit and watch Obama fail?
MORRIS: Well, it will be, hopefully, to save the country's health care system. I mean, the big stakes that are up this summer is health care and it completely stands to reason that you cannot take the same number of doctors that treat 250 million covered Americans and ask them to treat 300 million without creating some scarcity. Now, obviously, that new 50 million has got to be covered, but the right thing to do is to expand the number of doctors and then expand the number of patients so you don't have shortfalls. My wife, Eileen McGann and I, who wrote this book together, rushed the book into print. We finished it on May 6. It was in stores six weeks later, because we wanted to get the facts of the Canadian health care system out.
VIEIRA: But, the President clearly has said that's not the road he's headed down.
MORRIS: It's the road he's headed down because what he's going to do is ask fewer doctors to cover more patients, and that's going to cause rationing and government-managed care. So in Canada, there's a 16 percent higher death rate from cancer than in the United States. And that's not Neverland, that's U.S.
VIEIRA: All right. Dick Morris, thanks so much. That's U.S., according to Dick Morris. We'll be back after your local news.