Just moments after Mitt Romney finished his acceptance speech, NBC’s Tom Brokaw and Chuck Todd painted the GOP nominee as a backwards-looking candidate who was going back to the GOP’s “extreme” and less “inclusive” past.
On NBC’s live coverage of Thursday’s Republican National Convention, Brokaw recalled covering Romney’s father and observed that while George Romney “fought” to make the GOP “more moderate,” “less extreme” and “more inclusive” his son was becoming “much more conservative.” For his part, Todd thought Romney’s speech was full of “optimistic nostalgia” and “return to” phrases that reminded him of failed ‘96 GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole’s acceptance speech that looked “backwards.” Todd added: “I think the Obama folks are gonna be responsive to that.”
Brokaw also played the role of Obama campaign surrogate when he suggested Romney’s praise of the space program undercut his attacks on the President’s “You didn’t build that!” insult against businesses.
“The other thing that was quite striking to me tonight. The centerpiece of what’s possible for this country - this putting a man on the moon. There have been fewer, larger government projects than that. And it did spin off a lot of private enterprise. But it was an enormous public, government investment that made that extraordinary achievement possible. And then, as I said earlier, it also spawned lots of scientific achievement across this country that was transferred to the private sector.”
For the record, Brokaw like some elements of the evening as he praised the “powerful testimonials” for Romney from Mormon families (that were aired before NBC’s 10pm EDT broadcast.) However, the former Nightly News anchor, did go on to say they were undercut by Clint Eastwood’s “rambling appearance.”
The following are the relevant exchanges aired on NBC’s August 30 coverage of the Republican National Convention:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Mitt Romney is the nominee of the Republican Party going forward. Tom Brokaw what did you make of the speech?
TOM BROKAW: Well what I thought was, Brian, that it was more of a checklist than I expected. I thought maybe we would have a more eloquent statement tonight, kind of thematic about who he is. But obviously they were concerned about women. There were lots of references to women. He raised the idea of taxes again. Medicare. He obviously thinks that Congressman [Paul] Ryan is a big asset for him. It came up repeatedly and there they are on the stage.
I did think, from a staging point of view, that we had those powerful testimonials from the Mormon families earlier in the evening. And then they were followed by Clint Eastwood, in what can only be described as a rambling appearance, which is getting a lot of attention. And I think it took something away from the message that Mitt Romney wanted to make tonight: “I can take care of your family.” The best line, I think in the speech, was the one in which he said: “President Obama wants to slow the growth of the oceans, I want to help you and your family.” That pretty much summarized what he hoped to get across.
BROKAW: I happened to have spent some time covering his father [Gov. George Romney] and he was a remarkable man of great integrity who fought within this party to make it more moderate and make it less extreme and to make it more inclusive. And the evolution of Mitt Romney, the son, has been to go from being a moderate to be much more conservative.
The other thing that was quite striking to me tonight. The centerpiece of what’s possible for this country - this putting a man on the moon. There have been fewer, larger government projects than that. And it did spin off a lot of private enterprise. But it was an enormous public, government investment that made that extraordinary achievement possible. And then, as I said earlier, it also spawned lots of scientific achievement across this country that was transferred to the private sector.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Chuck Todd, down on the floor. Chuck?
CHUCK TODD: Well I have to tell ya, I keep coming up with a two-word theme to this speech. I call it optimistic nostalgia. I was struck by the number of times you heard phrases that began with “return to” or “restore.” And it actually reminded me, a lot, of [Bob] Dole’s ‘96 speech which was well-received and then the [Bill] Clinton folks were able to turn it on a dime and say, “Look they’re going backwards, we’re going forward.” I think the Obama folks are gonna be responsive to that.
-- Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center. Click here  to follow Geoffrey Dickens on Twitter.