NBC’s Chuck Todd is crying crocodile tears, while trying to walk back his claim that Alison Lundergan Grimes disqualified herself from office. Todd’s hit job on Grimes backfired, and now he is looking for a way out.
Chuck Todd sat down with Media Matters for an interview, and tried to backtrack off of his claim that Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes disqualified herself because she won’t say who she voted for in 2012.
Transcript from Media Matters:
TODD: It turned into a lively discussion. Look, I don’t like being part of a political campaign.
MEDIA MATTERS: Right, and then you were in the ad.
TODD: And I don’t like — you know, and it gives me heartburn. All right? It gives me — it makes me, you know, literally physically ill.
MEDIA MATTERS: What do you say — what do you think is the standard for saying someone’s disqualified? I mean, things like Mitch McConnell doesn’t believe in —
TODD: My point is, it’s up to a voter.
MEDIA MATTERS: — global warming or others —
TODD: My point is it’s up to the — the voters make that decision, not me.
MEDIA MATTERS: Right, but you’re the one who mentioned it.
TODD: And I understand. Like I said, I was shorthanding it, and I — what I — that, to me — I think a lot of voters are going to say that that was a — like, this is ridiculous, and now you’re just trying to pull the wool over my eyes. This is kind of silly. And to voters, that’s a — there’s different — look, voters disqualify candidates for various reasons. I was — you can accuse me of being sloppy, of putting the words in my mouth and I should have put the words in the — in how this will impact, impact voters and impact the race. And, you know, that’s where I was sloppy. I don’t take back the analysis. I mean, I think it’s — I think that — you know, I think it was — I think she had run — she’s been running a poor campaign. I don’t understand how she’s not made this about Mitch McConnell. Like, I’m still — for the life of me, I don’t get how this is not a referendum on him. Right? And you know, that’s — I mean, you know, that’s clearly what the voters wanted to make it. So I — you know, and, you know, so you critique the campaign, but I think this was a — you know, it’s one of those — campaigns have moments.
Chuck Todd thinks Alison Lundergan Grimes has run a terrible campaign, but in no way was he trying to help Mitch McConnell by claiming that Grimes had disqualified herself. The most exasperating element of Todd’s remarks is that Grimes has been making this election all about McConnell from the very beginning. She has been going after the incumbent’s record daily. Her campaign message can be summed up as fire Mitch McConnell, and elect a senator who will work for the people of Kentucky.
Grimes has not run a flawless campaign. At times, her campaign has gotten bogged down in a sort of negative tit for tat mudslinging that is McConnell’s only chance of winning. Her answer on the simple who did you vote for softball leaves much to be desired, but Todd’s criticism of her campaign is so far off base that it is obvious that he hasn’t been paying attention to what is happening in Kentucky.
Chuck Todd knew what he was doing when he claimed that Alison Lundergan Grimes disqualified herself. He knew that his comments would generate attention. He was counting on it. Todd’s takeover of Meet The Press has done nothing to halt the show’s slide into oblivion. Todd needed some headlines, so he cut loose on Grimes. What the Meet The Press moderator didn’t count on was the backlash that has followed his comments.
Todd made comments that influenced a campaign, but now he wants to leave it up to the voters. Chuck Todd deserves credit for sitting down for an interview with Media Matters. This is something that David Gregory would never have done, but Todd was more than sloppy, he influenced a campaign.
Todd’s attack backfired. Meet The Press is still wallowing in third place, and the Kentucky Senate race is tied. Chuck Todd can’t have it both ways. He is the one who stuck his big toe in the electoral politics poll. He no right to complain that the water is wet.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association