NBC Laments 'Tea Party' Being 'Dug In' on Shutdown, Hopes for GOP 'Dropping the Health Care Thing'

On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wrung his hands over Congress, particularly Republicans, not yet reaching a budget deal to end the government shutdown: "...the Tea Party seems very much dug in here. Both sides seem dug in." Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd responded by removing the criticism of "both sides": "You're right, the Tea Party side of this is dug in."

Despite them being so "dug in," Todd hoped for "good news" of Republican surrender: "House Republicans, they seem to be dropping the health care thing. The question is whether the Tea Party folks will be okay with that. I don't think they will, but it does feel like the leadership of the Republican Party is trying to get away from it. And if they do, then we'll actually see an end game here."

That sentiment echoed Todd's remarks on the September 30 Today, the day before the shutdown began: "...you got to assume at some point Boehner's gonna blink. Is it today or does he allow the government to shut down for two or three days and then blink."

At the end of Wednesday's exchange, Lauer turned to President Obama's nominee to be the next Federal Reserve chairman: "...the President expected to announce the nomination of Janet Yellen today to replace Ben Bernanke at the Fed. Do you expect smooth sailing for her in terms of confirmation?"

Again, Todd painted the Tea Party as the villain: "I think given how the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party feels about the Federal Reserve, I think you will see Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, guys like that, make her confirmation hearing a fairly rough ride. She'll make it, but I don't think it's gonna be easy."

Here is a full transcript of the October 9 segment:

7:04AM ET

MATT LAUER: Chuck Todd is NBC's white – chief White House correspondent and political director. Chuck, good morning to you.

CHUCK TODD: Good morning, Matt.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Shutdown Shame; Political Fallout Over Military Death Benefits]

LAUER: So we're hearing a little shift in tone here, Chuck. We're hearing lawmakers use words like "embarrassment" and "shame" over these emergency death benefits. Is it possible that embarrassment and shame might force real action, real compromise on the shutdown?

TODD: While I'd like to think that it would actually force a resolution on the larger issues, I think what's more likely is what Andrea [Mitchell] outlined. You'll see the House today will act on this bill. The one thing the Senate and the White House have done – while they've rejected the idea of little bills like this to reopen parts of the government – anything that has had to do with the military and anybody fighting overseas, that the President has done. He signed the paycheck law. I would be shocked if this didn't just immediately get to the President's desk, perhaps before the close of business.

LAUER: Alright, let's look at the bigger picture. For weeks now we've been talking about defunding or delaying ObamaCare. We're segueing right into a heated debate over raising the debt ceiling and the Tea Party seems very much dug in here. Both sides seem dug in. Yet John McCain had this to say on Tuesday. Let me play it for you.

JOHN MCCAIN: How is this going to end? We know how it's gonna end. We know how it's gonna end. Sooner or later the government will resume it's function. Sooner or later we will raise the debt limit. The question is, is how do we get there?

LAUER: That's a very realistic comment from a guy who has seen his share of battles. Can that mindset prevail?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: D.C. Dysfunction; Obama, GOP Still at Odds Over Deal]

TODD: I don't know. And if John McCain could bring any other Republicans with him, beyond a handful, then maybe there'd be a resolution or we wouldn't have even been in this place here in the first place. But that's not where the Republican Party is today. You're right, the Tea Party side of this is dug in.

Now, there was a lot of heated rhetoric yesterday, but behind the scenes you see shifts. John Boehner is no longer talking about health care, the issue's not there. Paul Ryan, who was of course the Republican vice presidential candidate, the House Republicans' chief budget guy, he's got an op-ed today in The Wall Street Journal that outlines a solution that barely touches health care.

So if you look and wonder is there quote, unquote "good news" to find out what the end game is, there is. House Republicans, they seem to be dropping the health care thing. The question is whether the Tea Party folks will be okay with that. I don't think they will, but it does feel like the leadership of the Republican Party is trying to get away from it. And if they do, then we'll actually see an end game here.

LAUER: Real quickly before I let you go, the President expected to announce the nomination of Janet Yellen today to replace Ben Bernanke at the Fed. Do you expect smooth sailing for her in terms of confirmation?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: New Face of The Fed; Obama Set to Nominate Yellen]

TODD: You know what, I don't. I think given how the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party feels about the Federal Reserve, I think you will see Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, guys like that, make her confirmation hearing a fairly rough ride. She'll make it, but I don't think it's gonna be easy.

LAUER: Alright, Chuck Todd at the White House this morning. Chuck, thank you.

TODD: You got it.

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