With NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd set to “moderate” the second Virginia gubernatorial debate between Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe Tuesday night, it’s a good time to remember how much Democratic Party spin the anchor has spewed over the past several months while covering the hotly contested race. Todd spent the spring and summer repeatedly predicting electoral doom for the GOP and plotting strategy for Democrats.
After Youngkin won the Republican nomination back in May, here’s how Todd reported the news on MSNBC’s MTP Daily: “Just look at what happened with Republicans in Virginia, where an exceedingly bizarre and Trump-infused convention ended up having to choose a gubernatorial nominee in Glenn Youngkin, who found himself campaigning on the issue of election integrity.” He then argued that talking about such topics was too radical and “already may be too much to win in Virginia.”
NBC News political editor Mark Murray promptly agreed: “Yeah, Chuck, it’s going to be quite a tight rope for Glenn Youngkin...”
A couple days later, on May 13, Todd again took to his cable show to proclaim:
Democrats are already hitting Glenn Youngkin for saying election integrity is somehow the number one issue. Now, he’s trying to distance himself from Trump now, right, as soon as he’s got the nomination....Is he speaking out against Donald Trump enough or is he winking and nodding too much to the base?
In sharp contrast, beginning a softball interview with McAuliffe in June – just after the former governor won the Democratic Party nomination – Todd swooned: “And in Virginia, Democrats went with the more moderate, experienced candidate, choosing former Governor Terry McAuliffe over a slate of younger progressive candidates. What was astounding was McAuliffe’s winning percentage, he got 62% of the vote.”
“Do you believe you won because you were perceived as the least progressive candidate, the most moderate, the one that was the most appealing to sort of disaffected Virginia Republicans?,” Todd eagerly asked the liberal Democrat.
The host went on to offer McAuliffe advice on how best to attack his Republican opponent:
I want to ask you about Glenn Youngkin, because look, on paper he doesn’t look like [former Virginia GOP gubernatorial nominee and Trump administration official] Ken Cuccinelli. Ken Cuccinelli, you had – would sometimes perhaps help you create a caricature of him....So do you believe this is your one path to defeat Youngkin, that you have to turn him into a Donald Trump, Ken Cuccinelli clone?
On July 9, Todd was back to targeting Youngkin: “Glenn Youngkin is the Republican nominee, he’s been blasting the air waves with ads that don’t say the word ‘Republican’....He’s desperately trying to shake the Republican and Trump label.”
Just on Sunday, Todd was already planning for how he would cover a McAuliffe win in the Commonwealth, despite a very tight race: “But Donald Trump, by dividing his party the way he’s done, look, it’ll be the singular reason why, if Terry McAuliffe wins in Virginia, in this political environment, he will have Donald Trump to thank.”
In addition to his blatantly lopsided coverage, Todd also has a glaring conflict of interest in that his wife has been a longtime Democratic operative in Virginia politics.
After making it quite clear that he’s rooting for McAuliffe, Todd was the “journalist” chosen to oversee a debate between the Virginia candidates for governor.
Here is a transcript of Todd’s questions to McAuliffe during a June 9 interview:
1:56 PM ET
CHUCK TODD: And in Virginia, Democrats went with the more moderate, experienced candidate, choosing former Governor Terry McAuliffe over a slate of younger progressive candidates. What was astounding was McAuliffe’s winning percentage, he got 62% of the vote. His closest competitor, former State Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, got just under 20%. McAuliffe will face Trump-backed businessman Glenn Youngkin in November.
And Terry McAuliffe joins me now. Governor McAuliffe thanks for being here. So I have to say, 60-plus percent in a highly – in what was perceived to be a highly competitive primary. You had at least two well-funded opponents. What would be your message to the national Democratic Party? What should they take away from what you pulled off here? Is there some lessons to be pulled out of here for national Democrats?
TODD: Do you believe you won because you were perceived as the least progressive candidate, the most moderate, the one that was the most appealing to sort of disaffected Virginia Republicans? Do you believe that’s why you won? Because some progressives are not happy that the least Progressive guy here won.
TODD: I want to go back to this. So look, a lot of us see what you did here. We see what Joe Biden did in the Democratic primary in 2020, and it looks awfully familiar. The activist base, some of the media, “Oh, Terry McAuliffe and Joe Biden, they’re a couple of has-beens. And you know, it’s time for new leadership. It’s time for a fresh face.” Is there a disconnect between sort of the progressive Democratic chattering class and actual rank and file Democratic primary voters?
TODD: I want to ask you about Glenn Youngkin, because look, on paper he doesn’t look like Ken Cuccinelli. Ken Cuccinelli, you had – would sometimes perhaps help you create a caricature of him – or not you – or his political opponents. You know, it doesn’t look like Glenn Youngkin looks like Ken Cuccinelli. And by the way, it was a close race with Ken Cuccinelli. So do you believe this is your one path to defeat Youngkin, that you have to turn him into a Donald Trump, Ken Cuccinelli clone?
TODD: Alright, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe hoping to become the next Virginia governor, Democrat from Virginia, thanks for coming on. Congrats on your primary victory. And we should note – what’s that, sir?
MCAULIFFE: You are a Virginia resident.
TODD: Yes, I am. Yes, I am. And we should note – you got it – we have reached out to Glenn Youngkin, the Republican nominee for governor, and we’re hoping to have him on the show soon as well.