NBC News political director and Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd lamented in the final moments before President Obama’s final State of the Union Tuesday night that the “timing” of Iran’s seizure of 10 Sailors from the U.S. Navy “couldn't be worse for the President” as he went onto tout the Iran nuclear deal in his address.
After colleague Andrea Mitchell again pouted (as she did on NBC Nightly News) about the situation, Todd followed with a similar sentiment: “[T]iming couldn't be worse for the President. I mean, Iran was one of the examples he wants to set of sort of some things he feels are big accomplishments in his administration.”
Todd added that he was “curious to see how the room reacts to” the part of his speech on the Iran deal since “there are a lot of skeptics to that deal in that room” on both sides of the aisle that made for a setting that was “uncomfortable politically.”
Seconds before the President entered the House chamber, NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O’Donnell took notice of how there were “head scarves of many Americans who are Muslims who were invited by their lawmakers, mostly Democrats” because they wanted to “counter some of the harsh rhetoric on the campaign trail” from Republicans.
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The relevant portions of the transcript from NBC’s coverage of the State of the Union 2016 on January 12 can be found below.
NBC’s State of the Union 2016
January 12, 2016
9:02 p.m. Eastern
LESTER HOLT: Chuck, and this will tee up once again the trust argument with Iran.
MEET THE PRESS MODERATOR CHUCK TODD: Yeah, timing couldn't be worse for the President. I mean, Iran was one of the examples he wants to set of sort of some things he feels are big accomplishments in his administration, so — but I'll tell you this could be — I'll be curious to see how the room reacts to this because there are — look, there are a lot of skeptics to that deal in that room. They're not all sitting on the Republican side. There's skeptics how we deal with Iran on the Democratic side as well, so I think this couldn't be more uncomfortable politically.
9:05 p.m. Eastern
KELLY O’DONNELL: Part of this night is also about how the outside issues find their way into the chamber through the guests that are here. I spotted a woman who made a lot of news earlier this year the Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, is a guest tonight of an Ohio lawmaker who is the head of the Freedom Caucus, which used to be the tea party group in the House. She had been controversial earlier this year over gay marriage. Also tonight, we see the head scarves of many Americans who are Muslims who were invited by their lawmakers, mostly Democrats making that gesture to try to counter some of the harsh rhetoric on the campaign trail and we've seen members of the congressional black caucus take their seats along the aisle to wait for this moment, when the president arrives.