NBC: 'Historic Upset' in MA 'Political Crisis' for Obama
Published: 1/18/2010 6:15 AM ET
On Saturday's Today show on NBC, anchor Amy Robach brought aboard MSNBC's Joe Scarbarough to talk about President Obama's handling of the relief effort in Haiti, and the President's efforts to prevent Republican takeover of the Massachusetts Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy. Robach introduced the segment referring to the possibility of a Democratic loss of the seat from Obama's point-of-view of being a "potential political crisis here at home."
After Scarborough answered her first question about relief aid in Haiti - at one point complaining about "carping from the far right" - Robach segued from the Haiti earthquake by referring to the Senate race as a "potential crisis looming here at home" which could result from a "historic upset" in Massachusetts. Robach:
We want to talk about a crisis potentially looming here at home. Massachusetts, the President is making a last-minute trip to Boston tomorrow to campaign for Democrat Martha Coakley. She had been way ahead in the polls. Now it looks like, a new poll showing she is trailing her Republican challenger, Scott Brown, for Ted Kennedy's seat. This could have some major implications politically. What are your sources telling you about the possibility of a historic upset Tuesday?Scarborough later contended that ObamaCare is unpopular even in Massachusetts:
His biggest problem is he's still very well liked in Massachusetts, but his policies aren't. Believe it or not, health care reform more unpopular up there than popular. So this just may end up being one more protest against this health care reform bill, which is turning into a political nightmare for Democrats.Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Saturday, January 16, Today show on NBC:
AMY ROBACH: And more now on President Obama's response to the earthquake and to a potential political crisis here at home. Joe Scarborough is the host of Morning Joe on MSNBC. Joe, good morning.-Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Good morning, Amy.
ROBACH: And let's start with the federal government's response to the situation in Haiti. Obviously, this is the first time President Obama has had to deal with an international natural disaster, and oftentimes presidents have, there are political implications for presidents on how they handle these types of situations. That said, how would you rate the White House's response?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, they've moved very quickly. They've done everything that they could do so far. There's been some carping on the right, on the far right, people suggesting that the President was going to use this for political gain, as if this were some easy operation to do. It's not. In fact, over the next 24 to 48 hours, we're going to see how critical the situation becomes. It could, it could spiral out of control very quickly. So the President's been aggressive. He may have to get more aggressive. We may need to send more troops to maintain order just to make sure that we can get the supplies, we can get the water, the food, the medicine and even the diapers to help these people who are in such a desperate position.
ROBACH: All right, well, we want to talk about a crisis potentially looming here at home. Massachusetts, the President is making a last-minute trip to Boston tomorrow to campaign for Democrat Martha Coakley. She had been way ahead in the polls. Now it looks like, a new poll showing she is trailing her Republican challenger, Scott Brown, for Ted Kennedy's seat. This could have some major implications politically. What are your sources telling you about the possibility of a historic upset Tuesday?
SCARBOROUGH: I don't talk to Republicans in times like this. I talk to Democrats up in, up in Massachusetts, and specifically in Boston, they're shocked. They can't believe two things. First of all, that they could lose Ted Kennedy's seat. They have just, you know, over the past two, three days, they've started to say, `It looks like we could lose this thing.' But also they're very angry at Martha Coakley, who's run one of the worst campaigns in recent political history, certainly in that state. This is a woman that suspended her campaign for a month or two. She doesn't like going out and doing public events. They had to fight her to do one debate, and then she made the mistake yesterday of identifying Curt Schilling as a New York Yankees fan.
SCARBOROUGH: That would be the equivalent of somebody trying to win votes in Queens walking around in a Boston Red Sox cap. You just don't do it. She's out of touch.
ROBACH: How risky is this, then, for the President to go in there and lobby? From, -obviously he feels like he has to, health care hanging in the balance. They've got a timeline to try to get in a vote before a potentially a Republican would take office if she were to lose.
ROBACH: Where does Obama stand on this?
SCARBOROUGH: He's got to do what he's got to do. His problem, of course, is you go back and look at Jon Corzine. He went in there several times. We have behind-the-scenes stories of him complaining having to go campaign for Corzine, but he did it the Sunday before the Tuesday election. Corzine still lost there. He campaigned in Virginia to no effect. In off-year elections, and especially in special elections, presidents even as popular as Barack Obama don't have coat tails. His biggest problem is he's still very well liked in Massachusetts, but his policies aren't. Believe it or not, health care reform more unpopular up there than popular. So this just may end up being one more protest against this health care reform bill, which is turning into a political nightmare for Democrats.
ROBACH: All right. Joe Scarborough, thank you, as always.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you, Amy.