NBC’s Chuck Todd mocks Obama for relating to the lives of the American people: “This is very, shall we say, populist of the president.”




NBC’s First Read is on a roll today — a bitchy roll.

Chuck Todd, who I used to admire as NBC’s political guru, is now reading tea leaves over at the White House as NBC’s correspondent. One thing is clear, Todd, like many of his colleagues, really doesn’t grasp the economic realities of the country and how people in America are struggling — and juggling multiple issues. When Obama says that, Todd writes that it’s some new kind of populist strategy (as if there is something wrong with being a populist):

Has the White House tweaked their defense against the “biting off too much” attack again? It appears so. Check this out from President Obama this morning at his event with the two Congressional Budget committee chairs, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.):

“I know that there are some on Wall Street and in Washington who’ve said that we should only focus on the banking crisis and one problem at a time. Well, we’re spending a lot of time focusing on this banking crisis, and we will continue to do so because until we get liquidity flowing again, we will not fully recover. But the American people don’t have the luxury of just focusing on Wall Street. They don’t have the luxury of choosing to pay either their mortgage or their medical bills. They don’t get to pick between paying for their kids’ college tuition and saving enough money for retirement. They have to do all these things. They have to confront all these problems. And as a consequence, so do we.”

It’s the president attempting to connect himself to the rest of America, trying to turn the criticism into a badge of honor. This is very, shall we say, populist of the president.

Maybe the president is actually relating to the lives of the American people, something the elite in DC can’t do. Elitists disdain populism. Imagine the little people having a point of view.

Obama had more to say than the lines Todd excerpted:

Now, there are those who say the plans in this budget are too ambitious to enact; to say that — they say that in the face of challenges that we face, we should be trying to do less, than more. What I say is that the challenges we face are too large to ignore. The cost of our health care is too high to ignore. The dependence on oil is too dangerous to ignore. Our education deficit is growing too wide to ignore. To kick these problems down the road for another four years or another eight years would be to continue the same irresponsibility that led us to this point. That’s not why I ran for this office. I didn’t come here to pass on our problems to the next President or the next generation — I came here to solve them.

The last President, with the help of the traditional media passed on the myriad of problems that Obama has to solve. We’re in a crisis, although that seems almost academic to the D.C. pundits, but they don’t live like the rest of us do.

Obama also had another great line, for which he’ll probably face another round of criticism:

“Just say no” is the right advice to give your teenagers about drugs. It is not an acceptable response to whatever economic policy is proposed by the other party.

That’s going to be viewed by the D.C. press elites as being mean to the Republicans, who are proudly doing nothing and just saying no.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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