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NBC: Christie in 'Battle' With 'Right Wing' After CPAC 'Snub,' Won't 'Kowtow' to 'Hardliners'

Reacting to Chris Christie not being invited to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), on Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer melodramatically announced: "...another battle for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today. But this time, he's at odds with the right wing of his own party." The headline on screen throughout the segment read: "Cold Shoulder for Christie; NJ Governor Snubbed By Conservative Conference." [Listen to the audio]

In the report that follow, correspondent Andrea Mitchell eagerly touted Christie's willingness to buck the GOP: "The latest sign that Chris Christie won't kowtow to Republican hardliners, his annual budget speech Tuesday, signing on to ObamaCare..." After describing the "very public snub" from CPAC, Mitchell declared: "...some Republicans see a bigger problem, the party's refusal to broaden its base." A sound bite followed of former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson hyperventilating: "If the Republican future does not include a place for people like Chris Christie, the Republican Party doesn't have a future."

Mitchell cheered President Obama supposedly stirring the pot: "And the White House isn't doing Christie any favors with Republican hardliners, seating him this week in the place of honor, next to the First Lady at the black tie dinner for governors."

She then observed: "Christie's breech with conservatives could actually help him with moderate voters." Politico's Jonathan Martin explained: "He is up for re-election this year in a Democratic-leaning state and the idea of national conservatives giving him a hard time doesn't hurt with moderate voters in New Jersey."

The only moment of balance in the piece was when Mitchell briefly noted Christie's past refusal to attend CPAC: "Turnabout may be fair play, Christie turned down the group's invitation two years ago."

Here is a full transcript of the February 27 segment:

7:13AM ET

MATT LAUER: Let's go to politics now and another battle for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today. But this time, he's at odds with the right wing of his own party. NBC's Andrea Mitchell is here to explain that. Andrea, good morning to you.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Good morning, Matt. Chris Christie is riding high, he has a 74% approval rating in New Jersey. That's the envy of his fellow governors. But that does not seem to matter to the Republican Party's conservative leaders.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Cold Shoulder for Christie; NJ Governor Snubbed By Conservative Conference]

The latest sign that Chris Christie won't kowtow to Republican hardliners, his annual budget speech Tuesday, signing on to ObamaCare, the eighth Republican governor to accept the White House plan.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: It's simple, we're putting people first. Which is why after considerable discussion and research I have decided to participate in Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

MITCHELL: That follows a very public embrace when the President pledged federal aid after Superstorm Sandy, the week before the election.

CHRISTIE: I cannot thank the President enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state.

MITCHELL: Romney supporters were furious. Later, Christie railed against House Republicans for shelving a Sandy disaster relief bill.

CHRISTIE: Shame on you. Shame on Congress.

MITCHELL: Now a very public snub from the Conservative Political Action Conference, inviting just about every national Republican to speak at next month's annual gathering, except the keynoter at the 2012 GOP convention, Chris Christie. Turnabout may be fair play, Christie turned down the group's invitation two years ago. But some Republicans see a bigger problem, the party's refusal to broaden its base.

MICHAEL GERSON [FORMER SPEECHWRITER FOR PRESIDENT BUSH]: If the Republican future does not include a place for people like Chris Christie, the Republican Party doesn't have a future.

MITCHELL: And the White House isn't doing Christie any favors with Republican hardliners, seating him this week in the place of honor, next to the First Lady at the black tie dinner for governors. Christie's breech with conservatives could actually help him with moderate voters.

JONATHAN MARTIN [POLITICO]: He is up for re-election this year in a Democratic-leaning state and the idea of national conservatives giving him a hard time doesn't hurt with moderate voters in New Jersey.

MITCHELL: But if Christie wants to run for president in 2016, he'll still have to figure out how to get through the primaries without making peace with his party's right wing. Natalie.

NATALIE MORALES: Andrea Mitchell, thanks.

-- Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter. - See more at: http://www.mrc.org/biasalerts/nbc-panelists-blame-american-public-and-republicans-sequester#sthash.97RijLHV.dpuf
-- Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter. - See more at: http://www.mrc.org/biasalerts/nbc-panelists-blame-american-public-and-republicans-sequester#sthash.97RijLHV.dpuf

-- Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow him on Twitter.