MSNBC's Luke Russert Stays Objective Despite Aggressive Push from Left by Martin Bashir

MSNBC congressional correspondent Luke Russert today refused to parrot MSNBC host Martin Bashir's left-wing talking points about House Republicans and their proposal to boost the economy and spur job creation.

"This week, Eric Cantor will introduce a jobs bill of his own, so what exactly should we expect?" Bashir rhetorically asked viewers as he introduced his "Divided We Fall" segment, featuring MSNBC congressional correspondent Luke Russert live via satellite from the U.S. Capitol.

"Luke, aside from trickle-down economics, is there anything in Mr. Cantor's proposal -- and you're not allowed to say 'cut taxes and remove regulations' -- now answer the question," Bashir demanded of Russert.

"It's not necessarily a new proposal, Martin," Russert answered, but added that the "idea" of the GOP proposal was to encourage entrepreneurs, adding that, "As always, these jobs proposals from the Republicans have a few central tenets" such as "deregulation."

It was at that dreaded D-word that Bashir interjected, "No, I told you you're not allowed to say that, Luke!"

A patient Russert continued:

You have to understand the philosophical divide here, Martin, is Republicans will never go for this big, grandiose kind of stimulus package, and Democrats will never go for this complete just bring the regulatory hand off the backs of businesses that they want because they think that all terrible sorts of things are going to happen.

Bashir, of course understands the divide, he's just solidly and vociferously on the liberal Democratic side of it. Otherwise Bashir might similarly take umbrage with the boilerplate "pay their fair share" rhetoric that President Obama and other liberal Democrats have persistently spouted over the last few weeks.

The MSNBC daytime host also suggested to Russert that Rep. Cantor "ran a bit scared" when he canceled a scheduled appearance before students at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.

While a delicious sound bite for Democratic spinmeisters, Russert sought to provide context for viewers, giving them what may be Cantor's perspective on the matter:

There was a agreement that his office said was in place for members of the Penn, University of Pennsylvania community to be at that speech, that that agreement was then broken when the school said that the first 300 people that could go through the doors, whoever showed up first would be allowed to attend.

There was obviously some consternation because a lot of the folks from the Occupy Wall Street movement wanted to go into this speech and kind of engage Cantor one-on-one.

I'll tell you, Martin, though, politicians on both the left and the right, if they know that there's a large segment of people that are going to be screaming and yelling at them, a lot of them would never subject themselves to that type of PR meltdown, because, look, that would just play on repeat on cable TV and get a lot of fodder.

To that reply, Bashir attempted to paint Cantor as cowardly avoiding the general public, not wishing to avert an unproductive chant-fest with "Occupiers":

BASHIR: So just so I understand you, Luke, what you're saying is that he objected to ordinary members of the public being present?

RUSSERT: Well, members of the public, of course, but they definitely would have a vendetta against him. I mean, it's a public relations disaster, Martin, as you know, if you are a politician getting screamed and yelled at and you don't have, I believe in his case, would have felt a fair chance to engage people back and forth when it's 300 against one.

Economy Regulation Stimulus Taxes Wall Street protests MSNBC Martin Bashir Government & Press Luke Russert Martin Bashir Eric Cantor