Following a segment that aired during Sunday night’s NBC Nightly News on President Obama’s unpopularity ahead of the midterm elections, the evening news program ran two more midterm election segments on Tuesday.
Both segments, however, were not without liberal bias, as one segment promoted the “close” Kentucky Senate race and the other discussed three Senate races to watch that present “big hurdles” for a Republican Senate majority. [MP3 audio here; Video below]
The first segment, which was done by NBC News senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing, profiled the Senate race in Kentucky between the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, and Democrat Alison Lundergan-Grimes.
While McConnell currently holds a three-point lead in the latest Real Clear Politics polling average, anchor Brian Williams described it as “one of the biggest and most closely watched contests” and Jansing called it a “close” race.
This was despite Jansing pointing out in the same report that “the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, which has put $2 million into the race, seems to be giving up on her” as Grimes has come under fire for refusing to admit whether she voted for President Obama in 2008 or 2012.
Next, the story pointed out how a number of Democrats are running away from the President and speaking out against him in their own ads. Jansing joined her colleague Kristen Welker in pointing out the myriad of private fundraisers that Obama has attended (as opposed to campaigning due to his unpopularity).
Immediately following Jansing’s report, Williams turned to NBC News political director and moderator of Meet the Press Chuck Todd for three Senate races to watch with the elections three weeks from Tuesday.
Instead of listing close races such as in Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, or North Carolina, Todd went with three other races that present “big hurdles” for Republicans in Iowa, Kansas, and South Dakota.
Todd said that the toss-up Iowa race, between Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst, presents a problem for a Republicans because “[n]o state's more emblematic of the Democratic Party organizational advantage than Iowa” and predicted that as that race “goes, I think so goes control of the United States Senate.”
While Iowa has long been considered a close race by all sides, a consensus agreement cannot be said for the for the other two races. In those,Todd hyped that “[i]ndependent candidates are surging” in two red states that present situations where Kansas independent Greg Orman (whose having liberal billionaire George Soros’s son hold a fundraiser for him) and former Republican Larry Pressler in South Dakota could alter the results and “basically steal what were Republican sure bets for the U.S. Senate.”
Todd concluded by remarking that the races with "independent" candidates "are actually more emblematic of where the country is. They're ticked off at both parties and they want to figure out how to punish both parties and Kansas and South Dakotans have the vehicle to do it."
The complete transcript of the two segments that discussed the upcoming midterm elections on NBC Nightly News on October 14 can be found below.
NBC Nightly News
October 14, 2014
7:10 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Battle Lines]
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Just three weeks from tonight, we could witness a dramatic shift of power in this country. Control of the U.S. Senate is up for grabs, and even if there isn't a Senate race where you live, these midterm elections could affect everything from national security to health care to how much we pay in taxes. One of the biggest and most closely watched contests is in Kentucky. Our senior White House correspondent Chris Jansing has our report.
FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Do the smart thing and send Alison to the Senate. Thank you. God bless.
JANSING: From the start of her campaign, Democrats thought Alison Lundergan-Grimes was a strong bet to beat the top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell. Then this.
LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: Did you vote for President Obama?
ALISON LUNDERGAN-GRIMES: This election isn't about the President.
LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: Did you vote for him?
LUNDERGAN-GRIMES: I respect the sanctity of the ballot box.
LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: So, you’re not going to answer?
LUNDERGAN-GRIMES: Again, I don't think the President is on the ballot.
JANSING: Seven times in seven days she refused to say if she voted for the President, including last night during the only debate of this close race.
KY SENATE DEBATE MODERATOR BILL GOODMAN: You won't answer that question tonight?
LUNDERGAN-GRIMES: Every Kentuckian has the right for privacy at the ballot box.
JANSING: When the White House tried to make light of it all.
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST: I'll tell you that I voted for the President.
JANSING: But the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, which has put $2 million into the race, seems to be giving up on her. They stopped paying for ads and other Democrats are using their own air time to distance themselves from the president.
DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN PETE GALLEGO: I told the President no to special treatment for Congress.
NARRATOR OF AD FOR DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN JOE GARCIA: He took the White House to task for the disastrous health care website.
WV DEMOCRATIC SENATE CANDIDATE NATALIE TENNANT: I'll make sure President Obama gets the message.
JANSING: So while Obama has raised millions at more than 50 fund-raisers this year, they're behind closed doors. Most candidates don't want a photo op with an unpopular President.
DAVID AXELROD: He's going to have to pick his spots where he can make a difference and he's going to have to tolerate some of these indignities along the way.
JANSING: Supporters of Alison Lundergan-Grimes point out that the President's approval rating in Kentucky is just 31%. They think her refusal to answer is smart and the President does have some campaign appearances coming up starting tomorrow in Connecticut. Brian.
WILLIAMS: Chris Jansing at the White House for us. Chris, thanks. Which brings us to Chuck Todd, our political director, moderator of Meet the Press with us in the studio. Chuck, let's put it this way, three weeks to go, give us three races to watch.
CHUCK TODD: Well, normally the President's unpopularity should be enough for Republicans to get control of the Senate, but three races I'm watching that are the big hurdles. One of their hurdles is organization. No state's more emblematic of the Democratic Party organizational advantage than Iowa. There's a very close race. The Democrat Bruce Braley, the Republican Joni Ernst. As Iowa Senate goes, I think so goes control of the United States Senate. It's negative, it's nasty, like every other race. Then there are two other races that present another unique hurdle for the Republicans and that's Kansas and South Dakota. Independent candidates are surging, they’re in Kansas, it’s a man by the name of Greg Orman. In South Dakota, it's a former Republican Senator turned independent Larry Pressler. Both of them could basically steal what were Republican sure bets for the U.S. Senate, complicates the math and in many ways, Brian, these independent races are actually more emblematic of where the country is. They're ticked off at both parties and they want to figure out how to punish both parties and Kansas and South Dakotans have the vehicle to do it. I think that's what to watch.
WILLIAMS: Chuck Todd, we'll see you, of course, three weeks from now, but a lot between now and then.
TODD: Yes, sir.