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NBC's Gregory Gushes Over 'Indelible Images' of Obama During Sandy; Is it an 'October Surprise'?

On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory urged both Obama campaign advisor David Plouffe and Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to agree that Hurricane Sandy provided a boost to the President: "The indelible images of this week had to do with Hurricane Sandy and an impact on this race because of the President's time and the images that we saw..." [Listen to the audio]

Gregory added: "Governor Christie in New Jersey, who as we heard gave him [Obama] such high marks...was this the October surprise, these political foes, together in leadership, and Christie giving the President such high marks?"

Speaking to Cantor, Gregory resorted to using a Saturday Night Live skit to bolster his argument: "...sometimes satire can be stinging, this is how they – they show it, and I want to have you react to it." A clip played of SNL cast member Bobby Moynihan portraying Chris Christie and declaring:

Also I would like to give a sincere thanks to President Obama for how he handled the situation. On Election Day, I'm voting for Mitt Romney. But if I had to pick one guy to have my back in a crisis, it would be Barack Obama. He's been amazing, you know, so kind, such a leader, a true inspiration. Again, I'll be a good soldier, I'll vote for Romney. But I'm going to hate it. Do you hear me? I will hate it.

Gregory followed up: "It gets a laugh, Leader. But my question is, do you think in real life Governor Christie overdid it and gave an advantage to the President in this critical – critical final week?"

Prior to the interviews, NBC political director Chuck Todd touted poll numbers on Obama's response to the storm: "Look at this job approval on the handling of Sandy, 68 percent approve of how he did, 15 percent disapprove. David, we haven't seen numbers like this for a single event for the President in his handling of an event since Bin Laden."

During the panel segment of the show, Today co-host Savannah Guthrie went so far as to suggest divine intervention in favor of Obama: "...here was a moment handed to him seemingly from above where he could look like that strong, independent, steady in a storm..."

Here is a transcript of Gregory's November 4 questions to Plouffe and Cantor about Sandy:

10:32AM ET

(...)

DAVID GREGORY: David Plouffe, welcome back to Meet the Press.

DAVID PLOUFFE: Thanks for having me, David.

GREGORY: The indelible images of this week had to do with Hurricane Sandy and an impact on this race because of the President's time and the images that we saw, there meeting with Governor Christie in New Jersey, who as we heard gave him such high marks, touring the storm zone. And, of course, the images continue to be very, very difficult.  But as we look at Christie and the president together, was this the October surprise, these political foes, together in leadership, and Christie giving the President such high marks?

(...)

10:53AM ET

GREGORY: Joining me now from Richmond, Virginia, the House Majority Leader, Congressman of the battleground state of Virginia, Eric Cantor. Leader, welcome back to Meet the Press.

ERIC CANTOR: Good morning, David.

GREGORY: I want to start on the impact of Hurricane Sandy, what we've been talking about here. Our numbers this morning show 68 percent approval for the President's handling of the impact of that storm. Governor Christie, of course, Republican of New Jersey, a key surrogate for – for Governor Romney, leading the praise, in effect, for the President. Last night on Saturday Night Live, sometimes satire can be stinging, this is how they – they show it, and I want to have you react to it.

BOBBY MOYNIHAN [PLAYING CHRIS CHRISTIE]: Also I would like to give a sincere thanks to President Obama for how he handled the situation. On Election Day, I'm voting for Mitt Romney. But if I had to pick one guy to have my back in a crisis, it would be Barack Obama. He's been amazing, you know, so kind, such a leader, a true inspiration. Again, I’ll be a good soldier, I'll vote for Romney. But I'm going to hate it. Do you hear me? I will hate it.

GREGORY: It gets a laugh, Leader. But my question is, do you think in real life Governor Christie overdid it and gave an advantage to the President in this critical – critical final week?

(...)