MSNBC's Chuck Todd on Thursday echoed a liberal columnist and mocked the idea of blaming Barack Obama for sequester spending cuts, even though it was the President's idea. On Thursday's Daily Rundown, Todd sneered, "Of all the dumb things Washington does, this 'who started it' argument has proven to be one of the dumber ones, especially since we're so close to the actual cuts going into place." [MP3 audio here.]
Todd's talking points sound very similar to assertions made by liberal Newsweek/Daily Beast writer Michael Tomasky. On Tuesday, he admitted that Obama came up with the plan, but wondered why it matters. The sub-headline offered this Daily Beast article proclaimed, "Conservatives keep reminding everyone that the sequester was Obama’s idea. But, says Michael Tomasky, that doesn’t mean he’s to blame for the current crisis."
Tomasky began his piece by complaining, "Whose 'idea' was the sequester, and why should it matter?" He grudgingly admitted, "Let's grant that [Obama's responsibility] is true." Tomasky added, "But it’s true only because the Republicans were holding a gun to the administration’s head—and besides, the Republicans immediately voted for it."
The Newsweek columnist went on to insist:
So fine, the White House proposed it. It did so only after months of Republicans publicly demanding huge spending cuts and refusing to consider any revenues and acting as if they were prepared to send the nation into default over spending. In other words, this was the administration’s idea in much the way that it’s a parent’s "idea" to pay ransom to a person who has taken his child hostage. There was a gun to the White House’s head, which was the possibility of the country going into default.
Apparently, even when something is President Obama's idea, he's not responsible.
Todd and Tomasky are also echoing the network newscasts. NBC, CBS and ABC have all been pushing White House talking points and downplaying the fact that sequester cuts were Obama's conception. Surely, if the situation was reversed and a Republican was President, they wouldn't be so charitable.
A transcript of the February 21 Daily Rundown exchange can be bound below:
CHUCK TODD: So, Republicans, they spent the day yesterday passing around this video of a Montana Democratic senator, Max Baucus, by the way who's up for reelection in 2014, who was saying this about the sequester.
SEN MAX BAUCUS (D-Montana): The President is a part of this. The White House recommended it, frankly, back in August of 2011. And, so, now we're feeling the effect of it.
CHUCK TODD: Of all the dumb things Washington does, this "who started it" argument has proven to be one of the dumber ones, especially since we're so close to the actual cuts going into place.
-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.