‘Meet The Press’ Panel Hits GOP Over Iowa ‘Freedom Summit’

Following Congressman Steve King’s (R-IA) Iowa Freedom Summit, which hosted several potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates, the panel on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday morning happily scolded the GOPers for attending the prominent conservative gathering. 

During the discussion, Helene Cooper, correspondent for The New York Times, argued that Republicans “in many, many ways are their own worst enemies. They go so far to the right in order to out-conservative everybody else.” 

The segment began with former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw pushing the liberal line that “Republicans got a real problem when it comes to the Hispanic vote” before touting President Obama’s talking points surrounding the 2016 elections: 

The president the other night, in a very candidly political speech in my judgment about, you're going to come against me, you’re going to come against the middle class, come against the Hispanics, the two big voting blocs, it will be so important to them in two years. So they’re trying to find their way through all this.

Moderator Chuck Todd then brought up Donald Trump’s appearance at the Iowa Freedom Summit and used it as an opportunity to open up a discussion about how “far to the right” the GOP is. The GOP-lecturing segment concluded with Helene Cooper maintaining that the GOP does everything it can to turn off American voters, especially Hispanics:

They go so far to the right in order to out-conservative everybody else. You heard Ted Cruz talking about that in Iowa yesterday, that they come out of these, they arrive at the general election completely battered. 

That’s where you saw Mitt Romney, you know, talking about, immigrants, illegal aliens should self-deport. And by the time they come up and they’re trying to woo these Hispanic voters again, they're completely viewed by these people as out of touch.

Cooper's insistence that the Iowa Freedom Summit exposes how the GOP goes “so far to the right in order to out-conservative everybody else” were similar to comments made by NPR's Cokie Roberts, who, during an appearance on ABC’s This Week, suggested that the GOP should “stay out of Iowa altogether.”

See relevant transcript below. 

NBC’s Meet the Press

January 25, 2015

CHUCK TODD: Tom, that's what I notice on the immigration issue. It's like he [Mike Huckabee] wants -- he sort was was trying to have it both ways on the children issue. 

TOM BROKAW: Well, I think Republicans got a real problem when it comes to the Hispanic vote and the president the other night, in a very candidly political speech in my judgment about, you're going to come against me, you’re going to come against the middle class, come against the Hispanics, the two big voting blocs, it will be so important to them in two years.

So they’re trying to find their way through all this. What I was really struck by with Huckabee was when he talked about same-sex marriage, it was all procedural. It wasn't about whether or not it's appropriate. It has to go to the legislature. He didn't come out and say, “look, I will lead the fight to make sure that we don't have same-sex marriage" because this is a train that seems to be moving toward legality across the country. 

TODD: No, there was some other interviews. I want to quickly get to Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush a minute. First, I should play that Kelly O’Donnell was referring to Donald Trump and his little laugh line, or whatever you want to call it. Let me play it really fast. 

DONALD TRUMP: It can't be Mitt because Mitt ran and failed. He failed. The last thing we need is another Bush. He's totally in favor of Common Core. He's very, very weak on immigration.

TODD: Helene, No one is going to mistake Donald Trump for a presidential candidate, I don't think, other than Donald Trump these days but the fact Mitt Romney and Bush were essentially a punch line. 

HELENE COOPER: And the also were not there, which I think was very interesting. Didn't Jeb Bush say something at some point ago about you got to sort of lose the Republican primary in order to win the general elections. 

TODD: And he was almost specifically referring to Iowa. 

COOPER: Yeah, no he absolutely was. And I think that's where you -- the Republicans keep -- in many, many ways are their own worst enemies. They go so far to the right in order to out-conservative everybody else. You heard Ted Cruz talking about that in Iowa yesterday, that they come out of these, they arrive at the general election completely battered.

That’s where you saw Mitt Romney, you know, talking about, immigrants, illegal aliens should self-deport. And by the time they come up and they’re trying to woo these Hispanic voters again, they're completely viewed by these people as out of touch. 

Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential NBC Meet the Press Helene Cooper Tom Brokaw Chuck Todd

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