As first reported by NewsBusters, NBC's Chuck Todd told Brian Williams Tuesday that their network's pollsters were "concerned" about President Obama's recent poll numbers.
When this came up on radio's "Laura Ingraham Show" Thursday, the host said to Todd, "I don’t remember you saying that pollsters were concerned about Bush’s poll numbers dropping" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
LAURA INGRAHAM: Alright, we have a, a lot of people have emailed in to the website knowing that you were coming on, Chuck. You have so many fans in my listening audience. And, apparently you said something the other day about the polling and NBC because…
CHUCK TODD, NBC: Right.
INGRAHAM: …look, the President had his worst numbers, we found out yesterday…
INGRAHAM: …his worst August in the entire presidency so far with polls, various polls, confidence, approval, economy, all that. It’s the worst he’s ever done. This is what you said a couple of days ago. Let’s listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TODD: But a more important number that our pollsters say is in there is this idea that is this a long-term setback for him or a short-term one? 54 percent said long-term. Our pollsters are concerned that’s kind of numbers you have when the public starts to give up on a president as a problem solver.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: Okay, what do you mean your pollsters are concerned? They’re concerned that their guy is, is somehow not going to pull out the victory?
TODD: No, it’s not a concern in their guy. It’s a concern that the presidency, that, it, it, and, if you want me to fully clarify, the concern is that if you’re the president, you should be concerned when you hit that over 50 percent mark, that’s when voters are giving up on your presidency. That’s what happened to President Bush when it hit over 50 right after Katrina November ’05.
INGRAHAM: I don’t remember you saying that, that pollsters were concerned about Bush’s poll numbers dropping though.
Exactly. And that's indeed the point.
When George W. Bush was in office, folks like Todd and his colleagues were cheering and hyping every decline in the President's poll numbers.
Now, it's a source of concern.
Apparently feeling cornered, Todd stuttered and stammered his way through a clumsy response:
TODD: I, I, but, if you look at the trend line, this is just simply in the data. I, I, look, I am aware of, of how people are trying to interpret that line, and it’s like, come on guys, there is not hidden bias all over the place.
That's like the owner of a methamphetamine lab telling narcotics officers, "There aren't any drugs here."
On the other hand, maybe Todd's right. There isn't hidden bias all over the place.
It's all right out in the open plain as day for everyone to see.
I'm glad he cleared that up.