NBC's Chuck Todd Denies GOP Wave; Changes Mind 45 Minutes Later

During NBC News’s 10:00 p.m. Eastern midterms elections coverage, NBC News political director and Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd emphasized that the 2014 midterms were not a Republican wave, but changed his mind within the hour to stating the possibility that it may indeed be a GOP wave.

At 10:04 p.m., Todd told Brian Williams in response to his request to walk through “how the Republican plot line” for the evening has unfolded thus far: “What I would say is that everybody is holding serve. Ok? It's a good Republican night, but it's not a wave.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]

Then, at 10:49 p.m., Todd said this about the current state of affairs of the midterm elections: “I think we're bordering on calling this a wave election. You have an historic number in the House of Representatives.”

After being asked to elaborate by Williams and in disagreeing with former Obama adviser David Axelrod and liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, Todd explained: 

Scott Walker wins, Rick Scott wins in two swing states. If Thom Tillis pulls off the victory in North Carolina, three of the four presidential battleground states where they think they had Senate races to, I think it’s – I think we're – it's basically – it feels like how Democrats won in 2006. The close races went in one direction.

The relevant portions of the transcript from NBC News Decision 2014 Election Special can be found below.

NBC News Decision 2014 Election Special
November 4, 2014
10:04 p.m. Eastern

BRIAN WILLIAMS: As they say in television, you have control of the board. 

CHUCK TODD: I do. 

WILLIAMS: Show me how the Republican plot line going into tonight has either held true or been shaken a little bit.

CHUCK TODD: What I would say is that everybody is holding serve. Ok? It's a good Republican night, but it's not a wave. Why is it not a wave? Well, Jeanne Shaheen is still there. Kay Hagan, our models indicate that she could end up eking out. Of course the raw vote has Tillis ahead, but when you look here, the Republicans need four more. If you assume that Democrats hold serve here in North Carolina, they still feel good about where things are. If you assume that Northern Virginia vote comes over there, now you're looking at Republicans trying to find four more of six that are remaining here. Well, Colorado, they're leading there. Go ahead and give them that. Iowa, the polls have shown they're leading there. Give them that. So now they have got to find two more over here. Louisiana we already decided is a runoff. This Kansas race has been flipping back and forth all night. We're not 100 percent sure. Ditto here with Georgia. It could mean we don't know Senate control until we know Alaska. Alaska's polls of course haven't closed yet and it could take days to get the vote counted there. 

(....)

10:49 p.m. Eastern

DAVID AXELROD: Look, I think one of the things that -- the attention will be on the President and I understand that, but there's a great deal of jaundice about politics generally, about Washington generally. The republicans are feeling it. Their numbers are terrible. Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are heading into an election in 2016 where their map is just as hostile in terms of the territory in which they have to run as it was for the President in this election and you've got a presidential election. They understand they have to get some things done. I was encouraged by Senator McConnell's remarks. If I were the President I would test him and take him up on it very quickly and see what there is that they can do together. The country is clearly hungry for that. 

WILLIAMS: The country is clearly hungry. It's hard to manifest that. You're voting for a local and state election. If you want to send a message, touch to do with your vote. 

EUGENE ROBINSON: It is tough to do. We kinda have to distinguish – this wasn't a wave election. You know, the Republicans didn't sweep the board. So it wasn't a totally nationalized election. Some of these races were local and some of them really hinged on local issues, local bad campaigns, you know, why is Mark Warner in such trouble in Virginia. You know, I think you have to look at how that campaign was run. I mean it's a big surprise. That's one of the bigger surprises tonight. 

TODD: I think we're bordering on calling this a wave election. You have an historic number in the House of Representatives. 

WILLIAMS: Are you throwing down against him? 

TODD: No, no, no. I respect – I think we're close to it. Scott Walker wins, Rick Scott wins in two swing states. If Thom Tillis pulls off the victory in North Carolina, three of the four presidential battleground states where they think they had Senate races to, I think it’s – I think we're – it's basically – it feels like how Democrats won in 2006. The close races went in one direction.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center