It appears NBC's Matt Lauer is not happy about Barack Obama's failure to exploit the Tucson shooting to push for more gun control as on Wednesday's Today show, he seemingly expressed disappointment to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani that the President "missed" an "opportunity" to address it in his State of the Union speech.
Lauer's anti-gun question to Giuliani came on the heels of his pushing White House senior advisor, on yesterday's show, to reveal if Obama would join current NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg in making a push for more gun control. On this morning's Today show, Lauer went even further, as he, in addition to throwing Bloomberg's words in Giuliani's face, also read directly from a Brady Center press release, as seen in the following January 26 exchange:
(video, audio and transcript after the jump)
MATT LAUER: One of the things he did not mention was gun control. In the wake of the Tucson shootings a lot of people had wanted him to take a strong stand there. Mayor Bloomberg of New York said, he thinks it was a missed opportunity the President didn't mention it. The Brady Center for Prevention of Gun Violence released a statement saying, "How can President Obama tell us 'the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our children, and that all deserve the chance to be fulfilled,' without talking about the gun violence that destroyed those dreams." Did you think it was a missed opportunity?
RUDY GIULIANI: I thought, actually, that probably would have gotten him into a lot of bipartisan bickering. Even on his own side, there's a tremendous amount of opposition to that. The place where he missed the opportunity was - the big issue in this country is our debt and our deficit. And he showed no leadership on that. I think those are the first words of the USA Today editorial, and I kind of agree with that.
In the very next segment Lauer's co-anchor, Meredith Vieira, brought up the gun control subject with former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw, however Brokaw, demonstrating a little more political savvy than Lauer on the topic, noted that Obama was wise not to bring it up as the issue could hurt "rural Democrats."
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Given the fact that this speech was made against the, the, the backdrop of the Tucson shootings, as Matt pointed out to Rudy Giuliani, he could have addressed gun control. He chose not to. Was it a mistake or was he smart to avoid that kind of bipartisan bickering that Giuliani said would have been the result?
TOM BROKAW: Well I think the mayor was right. That would have given it a whole different political dimension. It is a very radioactive issue even among western and rural Democrats, obviously.
—Geoffrey Dickens is the Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here