In a softball interview with Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie recited Democratic attack lines against Mitt Romney perfectly: "You have made a career of railing against Wall Street....Is it your job here, as you understand it, to argue that Mitt Romney is the personification of that Wall Street greed and excess?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After Warren gushed about being "delighted" to have prime speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention and ranted about the middle class getting "hammered," Guthrie again urged her to bash Romney: "Do you think Romney's Wall Street background disqualifies him from caring about the middle class or knowing what to do about the middle class?"
Warren happily took the bait:
I just look at the facts. And that is, what is the plan that they're putting forward? When Romney says his plan is to cut taxes for the rich and increase them for the middle class, you better believe I got a problem with that. America's middle class can't stand that anymore. America's middle class has been hammered, squeezed, and chipped at for a generation now. It's got to stop.
Compare how Guthrie helpfully teed up Warren, with how fellow co-host Matt Lauer interrogated Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan only moments earlier, claiming the Wisconsin Congressman "played fast and loose with the truth."
Meanwhile, all three network morning shows on Tuesday allowed Warren to falsely attack Romney's economic plan without challenge.
Here is a full transcript of Guthrie's September 4 interview with Warren:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: One of the nation's most hotly contested Senate races is in Massachusetts, where Elizabeth Warren is challenging Republican incumbent Scott Brown. And Warren will speak here at the convention tomorrow night. Ms. Warren, good morning, it's good to see you.
ELIZABETH WARREN: Good morning.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Today at the DNC; Are Everyday Americans Really Better Off Now?]
GUTHRIE: As you know, the dust-up in the campaign over the last couple days has to do with Ronald Reagan's famous question, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Is it telling that initially Democrats seemed to have such a hard time answering that question?
WARREN: Well, I think the important thing about this question is you have to remember exactly where we were four years ago. You know, the markets were crashing. The financial system was in threat of seizing up entirely. And economists were talking about a worldwide depression. The recklessness on Wall Street cost trillions of dollars in pension money, it cost trillions of dollars in values of people's homes, and it cost millions of jobs. In other words, it was a very long fall. And it's – it's working its way back, but it's slow.
GUTHRIE: For the campaign to say, "Okay, now absolutely you're better off," does it all risk a perception that the President is out of touch? As a Romney spokesperson said, it is the message, "You're doing well, you just don't know it."
WARREN: No, I think what happens here is we all understand there are a lot of people unemployed, way too many. And that's very, very painful. It's painful to families, it's painful to the larger economy. The real question is, so what's the vision going forward? Who's trying to fix this and how do they plan to fix it? Mitt Romney says the way to fix this is cut taxes for the richest Americans and for the biggest corporations, increase taxes for the middle class, and stop making the investments in the future, in education, roads, and bridges. The President just reverses that. And he says make the top pay a fair share, don't increase taxes on the middle class, and make the investments in the future.
GUTHRIE: You have made a career of railing against Wall Street. One of your famous quotes is, "The people of Wall Street broke this country." You have prime real estate at this convention, you're getting a big speaking role. Is it your job here, as you understand it, to argue that Mitt Romney is the personification of that Wall Street greed and excess?
WARREN: You know, I am so delighted to be here. I'm delighted to be here representing Massachusetts. What I'm going to do is I'm going to talk about what I've been working on for a very long time, many years. And that is how America's middle class, America's working families, are getting hammered.
GUTHRIE: Do you think Romney's Wall Street background disqualifies him from caring about the middle class or knowing what to do about the middle class?
WARREN: Look, I'm – the way I look at this is I just look at the facts. And that is, what is the plan that they're putting forward? When Romney says his plan is to cut taxes for the rich and increase them for the middle class, you better believe I got a problem with that. America's middle class can't stand that anymore. America's middle class has been hammered, squeezed, and chipped at for a generation now. It's got to stop.
GUTHRIE: Elizabeth Warren, we appreciate your time and we'll see you on the convention floor tomorrow night.
WARREN: See you then.
GUTHRIE: And NBC News will have complete coverage of the Democratic National Convention, starting tonight at 10 Eastern and 7 Pacific, right here on NBC.