Just prior to President Obama's Thursday press conference on Iraq, NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd was caught on an open mic joking that Republican Senator John McCain "must have had heart palpitations" after former general and CIA director David Petraeus seemed to back up President Obama's inaction during the crisis. Todd quipped: "Did anybody check John McCain? Is he okay now that David Petraeus came out against doing anything?"
In a statement to Business Insider on Friday, McCain communications director Brian Rodgers hit back at Todd: "It's not like further evidence was needed to prove the liberal bias at MSNBC and in the mainstream media, but Chuck Todd's 'hot mic' comments...show just how quickly the media will try and discredit Senator McCain and anyone who questions President Obama."
In addition to the open mic remarks, Todd also spoke to MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell minutes before the President's Thursday press appearance. The two liberal journalists eagerly hyped the Petraeus comments and hoped Obama critics would be silenced. [Listen to the audio]:
CHUCK TODD: And I have to say, politically, Andrea, there may not be a more important voice that was uttered today, if you're the White House, than what David Petraeus said in a speech in London earlier, essentially backing up the President's position here, which is, "You know what? I'm not doing anything here until that political process – until Maliki sort of straightens out this political process."
ANDREA MITCHELL: And that should certainly at least give some pause to the Republican critics and many of the people on the Hill and elsewhere – Dick Cheney, who embraced David Petraeus and believed that he has a great deal of wisdom here – but have been very eager to see the President make some other choices on air strikes.
TODD: Well, I'll tell you this Andrea, it makes them look like they're just trying to be against the President because, "Oh, he's for something, we have to be against it." And I think Petraeus really did buy some political time and space for the President.
MITCHELL: Very interesting play there. As people are lining up on all sides of this it does seem as though we're reliving the Iraq debate. Chuck Todd, thank you.