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NBC's Chuck Todd Uses Reported Qadhafi Death to Bash Bush on Iraq

Early on Thursday's The Daily Rundown on MSNBC, as news was breaking of the reported death of Libyan dictator Moammar Qadhafi, host Chuck Todd used the opportunity to declare: "...a trillion dollars and thousands of U.S. lives to topple a dictator in Iraq, it's a billion dollars and no U.S. lives to topple a dictator in Libya. That's a – that's a pretty stark contrast." [Audio available here]

Todd, NBC's chief White House correspondent, made the gratuitous shot at the Bush administration while talking to Robin Wright of the liberal Woodrow Wilson Center, who proclaimed: "...this is going to be an enormous success for the Obama administration in looking at how quickly it was done, with what international cooperation....it's one where the United States changes the narrative from what happened in Iraq."




Later on the show, Todd repeated his observation to retired general and NBC military analyst Barry McCaffrey: "...a trillion dollars, thousands of U.S. lives lost in toppling a dictator in Iraq. A billion dollars, no U.S. lives lost, toppling a dictator in Libya."

At one point, Todd interviewed Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley about Qadhafi's apparent death and remarked: "...there was a lot of hand-ringing on Capital Hill when President Obama unilaterally decided to do this [aid Libyan rebels]....should Congress have given the President more authority on this or frankly deferred to him rather than publicly creating little bit of a political issue about it?"

At the end of the show, Todd discussed the news with NBC foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell and asked about the U.S. role in Libya going forward. Mitchell decided to take a swipe at the Republican presidential candidates in her response: "Well, there's a financial role. And it was very interesting to watch the debate the other night because universally all of the Republican candidates were saying get rid of foreign aid....Rick Perry was saying let's get out of the United Nations and Mitt Romney as well. So there's a huge push against foreign aid....without it, they won't be able to survive."

Here are excerpts of Todd's October 20 coverage:

9:04AM ET

(...)

CHUCK TODD: If this is the case, it was a trillion dollars and thousands of U.S. lives to topple a dictator in Iraq, it's a billion dollars and no U.S. lives to topple a dictator in Libya. That's a – that's a pretty stark contrast.

ROBIN WRIGHT [WOODROW WILSON CENTER]: And which, according to one of the analysis that was done yesterday is basically three days of what Iraq cost at its height. So this is, you know, this is going to be an enormous success for the Obama administration in looking at how quickly it was done, with what international cooperation, collaboration and endorsement from the United Nations and the Arab world in general. And this is, in some ways, a model. Unfortunately, it's not one that's applicable to the other parts of the troubled Arab world, but it's one where the United States changes the narrative from what happened in Iraq.

(...)

9:34AM ET

TODD: Senator, there had – there was a lot of hand-ringing on Capital Hill when President Obama unilaterally decided to do this, not ask for congressional approval on this, but to participate in the NATO operation. Yet, in hindsight, should Congress have given the President more authority on this or frankly deferred to him rather than publicly creating little bit of a political issue about it?

CHUCK GRASSLEY: Well, you know, since the Korean War U.N. resolutions have had a lot to do with a lot of military action on the part of the United States and there was U.N. resolutions in this particular case. There was a decision by NATO to get involved and we are a signator and leading member of NATO. And also you have the War Powers Act, in which he informed Congress within the 48 hours of what he was going to do. Let me remind you, though, that most of the hand-ringing came from those of us that said we were getting involved about a month later than we should have and this probably would have been a shorter duration conflict if we'd been involved earlier on.

(...)

9:50AM ET

TODD: General McCaffrey, a trillion dollars, thousands of U.S. lives lost in toppling a dictator in Iraq. A billion dollars, no U.S. lives lost, toppling a dictator in Libya.

BARRY MCCAFFREY: Well, it's a good outcome. The Libyan people are very courageous. They rose up, thousands have been killed or injured. They destroyed a good bit of the country. They certainly blew down Qadhafi's hometown with NATO active support. So again, I think we ought to be happy for the Libyan people and concerned about the coming years of trying to build some operative state.

(...)

9:56AM ET

TODD: The importance, though, of what does come next and what does this mean – what role does the United States have to play going forward?

ANDREA MITCHELL: Well, there's a financial role. And it was very interesting to watch the debate the other night because universally all of the Republican candidates were saying get rid of foreign aid. Some were saying, you know-

TODD: Even Romney.

MITCHELL: Rick Perry was saying let's get out of the United Nations and Mitt Romney as well. So there's a huge push against foreign aid, and that is exactly what Hillary Clinton was delivering when she was in Tripoli, was the prospect of aid – significant aid for this interim government. And without it, they won't be able to survive.

(...)


- Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.