Reporting on Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News, NBC News political director and Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd hyped the size of the 2016 Republican presidential campaign with the rise in “vanity candidates” and wondered to GOP presidential candidate Lindsey Graham if “Hispanics are justified in believing the Republican Party doesn't care about them right now.”
In the only segment concerning the 2016 campaign on the Tuesday evening network newscasts, interim anchor Lester Holt introduced Todd’s report by explaining that the GOP candidates “know only one of them can win the nomination, but there are some big consolation prizes in the race for the White House.”
Todd spent much of the segment flipping between discussing the South Carolina Senator’s candidacy and the field as a whole, but first remarked that “[t]he challenge” going forward for Graham is simply being “number nine in a growing Republican field.”
At one point, Todd even asked Graham “[w]hy are there 15 [possible] candidates” that may end up running to which Graham noted that the presidency will be “an open seat” and that “[s]ome people are doing it to get their name out there to set themselves up for later.”
Later, Todd continued playing up the size of the field with the reality that many candidates are looking for “TV contracts, book deals, dollar lobbying jobs and speaker fees” in the event that they fail to capture the nomination.
In a line that few (if any) in the media would have said about the plethora of Democrats who ran against Hillary Clinton in 2008, Todd declared that “the surge of vanity candidates is only picking up steam.”
The Meet the Press moderator turned back to Graham and asked the “Gang of Eight” member if he “believe[s]” that “Hispanics are justified in believing the Republican Party doesn't care about them right now?”
Not surprisingly, Graham agreed by stating that: “Yes, to some extent, I do.”
Todd then concluded his report with some final remarks about the large GOP presidential field in that viewers should “[e]xpect the debate stage to be crowded” and while “[t]here's only going to be one nominee,” they can also count on “plenty of other candidates calculating they too can win even by losing.”
A partial transcript of the segment from June 2's NBC Nightly News is provided below.
NBC Nightly News
June 2, 2015
7:12 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Crowded Field]
LESTER HOLT: Turning now to the campaign trail and the ever growing number of Republicans running for president. They know only one of them can win the nomination, but there are some big consolation prizes in the race for the White House. NBC News political director and moderator of Meet the Press Chuck Todd explains.
CHUCK TODD: At Marianne's Diner in Lindsay, New Hampshire, Senator Lindsey Graham introduced himself.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE PATRON: I look at them all and I listen a lot and I think, I don't know. It’s just – there's just too many.
TODD: The challenge for Graham? He's number nine in a growing Republican field.
TODD: By the end of the week, ten candidates will be in the race. By mid-summer? More than 15. [TO GRAHAM] Why are there 15 candidates?
GRAHAM: Well, number one, it's an open seat. Some people are doing it to get their name out there to set themselves up for later.
TODD: Some think they're poised to be president. Others, like Graham, think it's the best way to draw attention to a favorite issue. For him, it’s Iraq. [TO GRAHAM] How do you get out?
GRAHAM: You don't get out. You don't get out.
TODD: Why else would candidates stuck in low single digits run if they have little chance of winning?
TODD: TV contracts, book deals, dollar lobbying jobs and speaker fees, the surge of vanity candidates is only picking up steam. Lindsey Graham, though, hopes a little truth telling will help him stand out. [TO GRAHAM] You believe Hispanics are justified in believing the Republican Party doesn't care about them right now?
GRAHAM: Yes, to some extent, I do.
TODD: Expect the debate stage to be crowded. Imagine adding seven more people to this picture. There's only going to be one nominee, but there are plenty of other candidates calculating they too can win even by losing.