NBC's Gregory: 'Universal Feeling' GOP 'Will Feel Most of the Heat' in Government Shutdown

Appearing on Thursday's NBC Today, Meet the Press moderator David Gregory was already predicting the GOP would get the blame for a government shutdown: "Washington loves to engage in the same kind of destructive behavior every couple years, whether it needs to or not....There's a universal feeling that the party that's more divided, that's Republicans, will feel most of the heat on this from the public..." [Listen to the audio]

Referring to the fast-approaching debt ceiling, co-host Savannah Guthrie fretted: "...we now have a date on the real doomsday...we will reach the borrowing limit in this country no later than October 17." Gregory warned: "Well, I think it is a real crisis point because we know the kind of economic shock that the world, and certainly the U.S. economy, could feel if they were to take that step. That's why nobody messes with this and they always end up raising the debt ceiling, whether they want to or not."

In a prior report, White House correspondent Peter Alexander engaged in similar fearmongering:

A shutdown could mean furloughs and tens of thousands of government and military workers would have to settle for IOUs instead of paychecks. That's not all. Want to get away? Not so fast. National parks and museums, even the National Zoo, all closed. Bad news for tourists, but also for hotels, restaurants, and travel companies that serve them. If you're heading overseas, better already have your passport. Those applications will stall.

At no point in either segment was the nearly $17 trillion national debt mentioned, nor were Republican calls to reduce government spending.

In addition to portraying Republicans as the villains in a possible government shutdown scenario, Gregory also dismissed their efforts to defund or at least delay the implementation of ObamaCare:

The House then has to make a decision, do they want to have another fight over ObamaCare, over defunding this?...Here again, House Republicans, especially the leadership, thinks it's a more palatable fight to say, "Okay, we're not going to defund ObamaCare, but can we try to delay it? We've already delayed parts of it, the President has, so why not delay more of it?" My big question, what does that get you in the end? What's the real end game here? The law is still the law. It's been upheld by the Supreme Court. And it's going to have its effects, positive and negative, as we move forward over the next few years.

Alexander concluded his report by whining: "This really is a stalemate, it's a mess. Even if they narrowly avoid a shutdown, it would likely be by shifting the fight to another looming battle next month over raising the nation's borrowing limit. With Republicans...trying to delay the President's health care law."

Here is a full transcript of Gregory's September 26 exchange with Guthrie:

7:04AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Let's turn to David Gregory, he's moderator of Meet the Press. David, good morning to you.

DAVID GREGORY: Good morning, Savannah.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Dysfunction in D.C.; Can Dems, GOP Avoid Gov't Shutdown?]

GUTHRIE: I don't mean to be cynical, but stop me if you've heard this before. We're days away from a government shutdown, there appears to be no path out. But lawmakers always seem to avoid it at the eleventh hour. Do you think that will happen again? Or is the threat more real this time?

DAVID GREGORY: Washington loves to engage in the same kind of destructive behavior every couple years, whether it needs to or not. I think there are Republicans, particularly leadership, that don't want to do this, they don't want to shut the government down. There's a universal feeling that the party that's more divided, that's Republicans, will feel most of the heat is on this from the public and that's why they don't want to do it.

I still think it's possible that you could have a shutdown for couple of days, two, three days, depending upon when the Senate votes on their version of this bill to keep the government open. The House then has to make a decision, do they want to have another fight over ObamaCare, over defunding this or do they want to try to shift the fight, as Peter said, over to a separate matter? And that's whether or not they're gonna raise the debt ceiling. There, they may try to delay ObamaCare by a year.  

GUTHRIE: And let me ask you about that because it seems we now have a date on the real doomsday. The Treasury Secretary said yesterday that we will reach the borrowing limit in this country no later than October 17. In your mind, is that the real crisis point?

GREGORY: Well, I think it is a real crisis point because we know the kind of economic shock that the world, and certainly the U.S. economy, could feel if they were to take that step. That's why nobody messes with this and they always end up raising the debt ceiling, whether they want to or not. And most Americans don't support doing that. And the President says he won't even talk about any kind of negotiation over raising the debt ceiling because it's just Congress paying its bills that they've already appropriated.

Here again, House Republicans, especially the leadership, thinks it's a more palatable fight to say, "Okay, we're not going to defund ObamaCare, but can we try to delay it? We've already delayed parts of it, the President has, so why not delay more of it?" My big question, what does that get you in the end? What's the real end game here? The law is still the law. It's been upheld by the Supreme Court. And it's going to have its effects, positive and negative, as we move forward over the next few years.

GUTHRIE: Well, David Gregory, I know you'll have much more on Meet the Press. Thank you for that.

And we should let everybody know, we're going to be focusing a lot more on this new health care law, it's impact on you, all next week across the platforms of NBC News.

MATT LAUER: We certainly will be. 

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