MSNBC's Thomas Roberts: Panetta Criticizing Obama For Bucks and Hillary Brownie Points

October 9th, 2014 8:08 AM

Elite Dems across America might be scuttling away from Barack Obama.  But the president can count on at least one man to stand by him: MSNBC's Thomas Roberts.  On today's Morning Joe, Roberts accused Leon Panetta of criticizing President Obama for base motives: "getting paid" off his book, and currying close ties with Hillary Clinton.

Roberts' lame attempt to undermine Panetta came after Joe Scarborough and Mark Halperin [citing Ron Fournier] said Panetta's criticism of Obama echoes what elite Dems from Washington to Hollywood are saying in private—but are afraid to express in public.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Republicans in 2006 all would come to me in green rooms and talk about how absolutely horrific George W. Bush was in the White House, what a terrible leader he was and then the red light would come on and they wouldn't say anything. Of course, I would so I was hated. I was a disloyal Benedict Arnold Republican for saying on air what what they would never say on air. It is such a carbon copy of that now, where Democratic senators, senior Democratic senators trashing Barack Obama up and down when the red light's not on. Red light comes on, they're muted. The only difference between Leon Panetta and about 80% of Democrats in Washington that I've talked to is Leon Panetta's actually saying it while the camera light's on. What are your experiences on this?

MARK HALPERIN: Well Ron Fournier is exactly right. What Panetta is saying is what you hear not just from Washington Democrats but Hollywood Democrats. The president is going out to do a fund-raiser tonight. I am struck. I talked to prominent people in Hollywood, almost all of them strong supporters of the president, feel disappointed for one reason or another . . . but right now elite opinion is strongly against him on all these same issues that Panetta's voiced.

THOMAS ROBERTS: But let's not forget: Panetta's getting paid and the more he goes out there to hawk a book, to sell a book --

HALPERIN:  He's not that kind of guy. He's just not that kind of guy.

ROBERTS: He's not that kind of guy? He doesn't want to sell a book?

HALPERIN: Oh he does, but --

ROBERTS: And he doesn't want to have close ties to Hillary Clinton if she runs for President?

HALPERIN:  The fact of the matter is in the book and in his book tour he's held back on what he really thinks.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Ow! That's holding back?

ROBERTS: All right: does he want to have close ties to Hillary Clinton?

ROBERTS: He does.