Post-Cloture NBC: Todd Hopes Other GOPers Vote No, Mitchell Touts No’s as ‘Beyond Reelection’

During and after the cloture vote Friday morning to move forward with Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, NBC’s Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell held out hope that unnamed Republican Senators could change their minds to oppose Kavanaugh and that, amidst the onslaught of pressure (read: verbal harassment from the left), voting against the Judge is thinking “beyond reelection.”

Referring to the four Senators whom observers were unsure of how they’d vote (Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Joe Manchin, and Lisa Murkowski), Todd thought that “all these people will be yes today, but I think tomorrow — and, you know, don't discount there are some wobblier Republicans that haven't gotten a lot of attention.”

 

 

Mitchell and NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt then knocked Kavanaugh’s firm and passionate denials of sexual misconduct that he addressed in a Wall Street Journal column, which led to the former citing NBC’s in-house “legal experts” as having sided with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and not Kavanaugh because “[m]any would argue she had enough evidence.”

Citing his own reporting, Todd doubled down on younger Republican Senators not being comfortable with Kavanaugh (thus trying to give the Resistance hope) (click “expand”):

Oh, I think — look, there — we already know of one that let that reluctance show, Cory Gardner, Republican from Colorado and let’s lay the political landscape out there. Colorado very much a swing state that in normal times, but it has shown a stronger anti-Trump streak. The Republicans in Colorado less comfortable with the Trump era of the Republican Party. And Cory Gardner is up for re-election in the president election year, 2020. So and he’s a part but there is something else going on here in fairness to these senators on the Republican side of the aisle. The baby boomer men in the Senate, Republican Senators are very comfortable with this vote and ready to take on. Lindsey Graham, emblematic of that — of that generation. The younger set, Rubio, Gardener, Tim Scott, Ben Sasse these younger — who have teenagers at home who are basically Gen Xers, a different generation. They hate this vote. They’re going to vote yes politically, but it is painful for them personally. 

Mitchell interjected to hype former Justice John Paul Stevens’s rebuke of Kavanaugh and argued that it “could be very impressive to some people” because “[i]t’s never happened before.”

Showing a tinge of disconnect from the rest of the country, Mitchell also suggested that Collins has faced a lot of pressure from Maine residents with one example being “the major newspaper in Portland [coming] out against it and this is really a very tough issue for her in a blue state.” Check back with us when you find information to show Republicans are swayed by newspaper editorial boards.

As for North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, Mitchell took a moment to praise her for having taken “the stand she took yesterday and she said it was not about politics.”

“To some people, this is beyond reelection,” Mitchell opined. So, again, we have a case where someone in the liberal media praises a decision aligning with their preferred outcome as above the fray and noble.

Todd obviously agreed, lamenting that “[w]e all sit here and pick these people apart as two dimensional figures and I go back to the discomfort I have learned from my own reporting about some of the younger Republican senators who are, ideologically, very conservative and in some ways more conservative than Brett Kavanaugh.”

“But they live in America. They see that it’s a divide and they’re — they realize what's happening. They're uncomfortable. They’re all human beings in this chamber in here and they are taking this more personally. I think this is becoming a more personalized vote for many,” he added.

To see the relevant transcript from the NBC News Special Report on October 5, click “expand.”

NBC News Special
October 5, 2018
10:40 a.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: The thought has been this vote will mirror what we will see tomorrow. Not necessarily?

CHUCK TODD: No, I don’t think necessarily and just, by the way, just to — this was the 60 vote threshold that we’ve now limited down to 50. This was the breaking of the fili — what this is is technically the breaking of the filibuster vote, but you don’t need 60 votes to break it. You now just need the simple 50. Look, John McCain is probably the most recent example where somebody voted yes to advance debate and then no on final passage and that was over the repeal and replace of health care. So, look, when you look at Jeff Flake, we have the four that the Court’s had. I would just look at this way and put them in most likely to least likely. Lisa Murkowski seems the least likely to vote for him. She’s got some issues that are beyond Dr. Ford. Native Alaskans are against it — there’s some reasons why she may vote no. I think Collins and Manchin will vote the same way. I think the truly unknown here is Jeff Flake at the end of the day. I mean, I think all these people will be yes today, but I think tomorrow — and, you know, don't discount there are some wobblier Republicans that haven't gotten a lot of attention.

HOLT: This vote is — let’s be honest — is about Christine Blasey Ford to some extent. But some other issues came out of that hearing a week ago and the issue of judicial temperament, Andrea, Judge Brett Kavanaugh printed — wrote a op-ed that was in The Wall Street Journal this morning directly taking on and kind of expressing some regret over how things went.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Exactly. And saying that perhaps he was too emotional, too passionate, explaining he was defending himself, his reputation, his family. That was a tell. That told you his White House and team felt they had this issue out there, that it was not just the FBI not corroborating Dr. Ford's allegations because frankly they didn't interview the witnesses who could have corroborated and they had perhaps an unusual and unrealistic standard of when you have a she said against a he said. Many would argue she had enough evidence. She was evidence. That's what many of our legal experts have been saying. You just have to decide whom do you believe. But the fact is his temperament, which he partly apologized for, was not in ad libs, was not in challenging selected Senators Klobuchar and Leahy and others. It was actually in his written statement where he went so political where he talked about the left-wing conspiracy, payback from the Clintons and so memorably what goes around comes around. That was scripted — scripted, they said, by himself and that is what has disturbed some people, initially including Jeff Flake and others as well who may be influenced by something else that’s unprecedented. 

HOLT: So, Chuck, will there be yes’s with that in mind that are reluctant yeses. 

TODD: Oh, I think — look, there — we already know of one that let that reluctance show, Cory Gardner, Republican from Colorado and let’s lay the political landscape out there. Colorado very much a swing state that in normal times, but it has shown a stronger anti-Trump streak. The Republicans in Colorado less comfortable with the Trump era of the Republican Party. And Cory Gardner is up for re-election in the president election year, 2020. So and he’s a part but there is something else going on here in fairness to these senators on the Republican side of the aisle: a big generational split. The baby boomer men in the Senate, Republican Senators are very comfortable with this vote and ready to take on. Lindsey Graham, emblematic of that — of that generation. The younger set, Rubio, Gardener, Tim Scott, Ben Sasse, these younger — who have teenagers at home who are basically Gen Xers, a different generation. They hate this vote. They’re going to vote yes politically, but it is painful for them personally. 

HOLT: You’re hearing —

ANDREA MITCHELL: And one other quick thing. Justice Stevens — John Paul Stevens overnight saying that he was initially in favor of Judge Brett Kavanaugh and now is against because of his demeanor and his belligerence. That could be very impressive to some people. It’s never happened before. 

(....)

10:50 a.m. Eastern

PETER ALEXANDER: The President making his closing arguments of sorts just a short time ago on Twitter, not making the case for judge Brett Kavanaugh but instead attacking some of those protesters that we’ve seen over the 24 hours saying: “The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don't fall for it! Also, look at all the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #troublemakers.” So the President, you know, certainly going right after some of those protesters, many of whom are sexual assault survivors. One of the women who confronted Jeff Flake a week ago, only a short time ago saying that no one can pay off someone's lived experienced. I think this is going to be a very tense next 24 to 30 hours. Those protesters with at least 300 of them arrested yesterday expect to stick around. To the point you’ve been talking about with Andrea and with Chuck on Joe Manchin specifically, White House officials said their confident level is about a 70 to 80. They feel good about Collins and Flake. They had a clear message, this official did, to Joe Manchin saying if you want to secure re-election, you vote yes. It is a deeply red state, West Virginia. If you want to start a knife fight, you vote no. 

(....)

10:53 a.m. Eastern

MITCHELL: 3:00 this afternoon eastern time is going to be a very big moment. Susan Collins had said that Brett Kavanaugh had satisfied her on her threshold issue, which was whether or not he would consider Roe settled law. Some people disagreed and thought he was being disingenuous in the way he was reassuring. But in their personal meetings she was very comfortable with that and she was comfortable also, she said, with the level of detail in that FBI, supplemental report. So all of the signals from her was that she — she had a comfort factor with him. But there is a lot of pressure from Maine. The big — the major newspaper in Portland came out against it and this is really a very tough issue for her in a blue state. 

(....)

10:54 a.m. Eastern

MITCHELL: And can I say a word about Heidi Heitkamp because I had been reading what she said and the fact that she, in this close race, took the stand that she took yesterday and she said it was not about politics. It was that she was a former attorney general and has counseled and dealt with victims of sexual assault and really believed Dr. Ford. That was her issue and as her brother said yesterday to our colleague Katy Tur, I believe,, said she is going to have to face herself in the morning every morning when she brushes her teeth and she had to be comfortable with herself. To some people, this is beyond reelection.

TODD: We saw — we saw some —

TODD: Can I just reemphasize that? We all sit here and pick these people apart

MITCHELL: Exactly..

TODD: — as two dimensional figures and I go back to the discomfort I have learned from my own reporting about some of the younger Republican senators who are, ideologically, very conservative and in some ways more conservative than Brett Kavanaugh. But they live in America. They see that it’s a divide and they’re — they realize what's happening. They're uncomfortable. They’re all human beings in this chamber in here and they are taking this more personally. I think this is becoming a more personalized vote for many. 

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2018 Congressional Judiciary Kavanaugh Nomination Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats NBC Video Government & Press Jeff Flake Susan Collins Joe Manchin Lester Holt Andrea Mitchell Chuck Todd Brett Kavanaugh Heidi Heitkamp Christine Blasey Ford Lisa Murkowski
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