On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer played the part of Obama campaign stooge when he promoted the President deflecting Libya criticism by slamming Mitt Romney: "...[He] firmly and pointedly chastised Governor Romney for politicizing a tragedy like this, a national tragedy. The father of Ambassador Stevens said, quote, 'It would be really abhorrent to make this into a campaign issue.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Lauer then turned to Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and sanctimoniously demanded: "So I want your response, not to the President, but to the father of Ambassador Stevens." Ryan responded: "What we owe Chris Stevens, what we owe these Americans who gave their lives, are to make sure that we get to the bottom of this so we can prevent something like this from happening again."
After Ryan pushed back, Lauer pressed him to agree that both presidential campaigns had poor responses: "Weren't both sides, Congressman, guilty of a rush to judgment on this story?...weren't both sides guilty of a rush to judgment in the immediate aftermath of that attack?"
Ryan picked apart the Obama administration's reaction point by point:
Well, I don't think that they should have sent their U.N. ambassador out five days later to say that this was from a spontaneous mob reacting to a YouTube video. I don't think the President should have gone to the U.N. and mentioned the YouTube video six times and take two weeks before acknowledging this was a terrorist attack. Even the State Department said that they weren't backing up that story.
Adding to Lauer's sleazy attempt to advance Obama's attack on Romney, was fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie refusing to be equally harsh on Vice President Joe Biden only minutes earlier, with her sole question on Libya: "The President was asked who it was that denied secure – requests for additional security to the consulate in Benghazi and why. The President did not directly answer that question, so I'll put it to you."
When Biden brought up his own misleading statements from the vice presidential debate, Guthrie failed to press him on the issue. Biden remarked: "I answered the question in my debate, were the President and I were aware of the request, and I honestly said no, we were not. Secretary Clinton confirmed that that never got to us..."
Demonstrating how closely Lauer followed Democratic talking points, Biden told Guthrie: "...when Governor Romney kept trying to politicize this thing, he made it clear that the President has even a keener interest than anyone else."
The double standard between Guthrie's interview with Biden and Lauer's interview with Ryan was on display in nearly every question asked to both men.