On Wednesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd promoted the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, declaring that when it came to raising the nation's debt ceiling, "...it was a landslide as far as what the public preferred. 58% preferring the President's vision on that front versus 36% [for the Republican proposal]."
Todd went on to conclude that "most of this poll shows that the middle of the country and a majority of Americans basically don't like the Republican position on this debt plan." He blamed conservatives for GOP stubbornness: "But who does like the Republican position right now on all of these fronts and, you know, sticking to their guns on taxes? Tea Party supporters. And that is why you're seeing Republicans, they're caught between their Tea Party supporters who want them to do one thing and frankly independents who want them to do another."
On Monday, Todd had announced that the Republican 'Cut, Cap and Balance' Plan had "no chance of passage." On Tuesday, co-host Ann Curry dismissed the plan as "just show." In addition, NBC reporters have been constant in their demand that Republicans give in on raising taxes, as co-host Matt Lauer did when interviewing Laura Ingraham on July 12.
Reporting on the poll on Tuesday's Nightly News, Todd highlighted public opinion now being in favor of Republicans compromising: "...a large majority of the country is telling Republicans get off the no-new-taxes pledge and compromise, 62%." But not Democrats: "As for Democrats and entitlement reform, look at this one. A majority, 52% of everybody we tested, said to Democrats, 'Stick to your guns and don't allow cuts in Medicare and Social Security for deficit reduction.'"
Todd observed: "...it's a mixed political bag for both parties. But particularly for Republicans."
Here is a full transcript of Todd's July 20 report on Today:
ANN CURRY: Now to Washington and that fierce fight over raising the debt ceiling. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? NBC's political director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd has the latest on the deal-making and the results of a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Chuck, good morning.
CHUCK TODD: Good morning, Ann.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Ceiling the Deal? Obama Endorses Bipartisan Plan on the Debt]
CURRY: Well, the President, as you know, is endorsing this emerging bipartisan so-called 'Gang of Six' plan. Promising?
TODD: Well, it's promising in this respect, is that it's clearly a vehicle to do a big deal on deficit reduction at some point this year. But this is not going to be the piece of legislation that raises the debt ceiling. Time is running out on that front. Even the President yesterday, when he came out and endorsed it, hinted at that, which is why this backdoor legislative gymnastic deal that Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid are coming up with is still going to be the thing that raises the debt ceiling.
But this – you know, one of the reasons the President endorsed this, conservative Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn came out and endorsed it in the morning. Two hours later, the President did. The closest friend in the Republican Party the President has is Tom Coburn, Ann.
CURRY: Alright, okay. Now, at the same time, according to this new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, while 55% of Americans believe not raising the debt ceiling would be a, quote, 'Real and serious problem,' there doesn't seem to be a consensus on just exactly what Washington should do, Chuck.
TODD: Well, there isn't. Now, when we presented them the two options that were being debated last week, the President's idea of this 4 trillion – which is actually very similar to Gang of Six – a $4 trillion mix of some tax hikes plus some cuts and reforms to entitlements like Medicare and Social Security versus a cuts-only approach that House Republicans were pitching, it was a landslide as far as what the public preferred. 58% preferring the President's vision on that front versus 36% on theirs. So this is a case where the President and the White House, they're seeing the same numbers. And that's why they jumped so quickly and so fast on this Gang of Six proposal.
CURRY: Okay. But it's interesting because there's so much riding on this in terms of, you know, when you polled and you asked people who gets the blame if there isn't a deal, if, in fact there is – the debt ceiling is not raised. Let's take a look at the numbers.
TODD: It is. And that's a mixed bag. 35% would blame the President and Democrats. 39% would blame Republicans. But, you know, here's the thing here, most of this poll shows that the middle of the country and a majority of Americans basically don't like the Republican position on this debt plan. But who does like the Republican position right now on all of these fronts and, you know, sticking to their guns on taxes? Tea Party supporters. And that is why you're seeing Republicans, they're caught between their Tea Party supporters who want them to do one thing and frankly independents who want them to do another. In 2010, Ann, independents and Tea Party supporters were on the same page. They were all angry at the President and Democrats. They're not on the same page right now on this debt plan.
CURRY: Okay, well I think those are very true words. Chuck Todd, thanks so much.