Amidst all the talk of Robert Gibbs' imminent departure as White House press secretary, could Andrea Mitchell be gunning for the gig? NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent certainly gave a strong audition on today's Morning Joe, doing her best to paper over the latest stumbles by two gaffe-prone Obamaoids.
Mitchell first tried to paint an innocent gloss on Napolitano's curious boast that her homeland security minions are working "364 days a year" to keep the nation safe. Later, Mitchell spun with the best to explain away Biden's claim--at odds with official US policy--that the US will be "totally out" of Afghanistan by 2014, "come hell or high water."
Mitchell gave her game away with her facial expression at the very end of the video clip. After Joe Scarborough gives her a skeptical "come on" for her shilling, Andrea breaks into a wry smile. Cut me some slack, Scarborough, Andrea seems to be signaling. A gal's has got to give her best MSM try for the home team!
Watch Andrea play D for the Os. The show opened with the clip of Napolitano's calendar confusion . . .
JANET NAPOLITANO: What I say to the American people is that we are, and thousands of people are working 24/7, 364 days a year, to keep the American people safe.
Scarborough had the perfect line. And Andrea didn't have much material to work with--but did her best before packing in the cards.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Help us out here, Andrea. So, if Janet Napolitano says we're not going to have to worry about terrorism because we've got people working 364 days out of the year. Are they giving us a heads up to let us know the day they're all taking off so I can keep my family home?
ANDREA MITCHELL: One person takes off a different day: you see, that's the deal--they're covering for each other. I don't know. Maybe it's Christmas Day.
Later, after playing Biden's "completely out" of Afghanistan by 2014 claim, and Gibbs' strained explanation that Biden was only referring to combat operations, Andrea again went to work on behalf of her boys.
SCARBOROUGH: So who's telling the truth: Joe Biden or Robert Gibbs?
MITCHELL: I think the distinction is there will be a status of forces agreement, as there is in Iraq, where we are out of the combat role, and we are there --
SCARBOROUGH: But Joe Biden said we'd be completely out. And you know what that means. That means he was sending a signal to everybody: just relax, Americans are all going to be home in 2014, and the White House had to back off of it. That was not consistent with what they said in Portugal, just a few weeks ago.
MITCHELL: I think they're defining, he is really suggesting, that it is like the Iraq commitment, where we still have troops there in a training mode. We will still have Air Force people, helicopters --
SCARBOROUGH: Gibbs is saying that.
MITCHELL: That's what Gibbs is saying.
SCARBOROUGH: But that's not what Joe Biden is saying.
MITCHELL: It's not literally what he said: you're right.
Note how Mitchell reluctantly nodded her head and smiled wryly, like a defense attorney begrudgingly conceding a point.
SCARBOROUGH: He said we're going to be completely out. And Andrea's being very polite. And of course, and we thank you for that, because we have a No Criticize Joe Zone here. The Vice-President. [Here Joe addresses himself to conservative Matt Lewis of Politics Daily] You can't do it [criticize him]. Don't even think of it.
MITCHELL: I think the distinction is no one is saying and the Vice-President isn't saying that there will never be one single US service member --
SCARBOROUGH: Aw come one, come on.
Watch again as Andrea's body language gives up her game.