NBC's Curry Surprisingly Tough on Plouffe: Are Dems 'Fanning the Flames' of 'Politics of Envy'?

What was in Ann Curry's coffee this morning? In an uncharacteristically challenging interview with Obama advisor David Plouffe on Tuesday, the NBC Today co-host actually defended Mitt Romney's wealth and questioned why Democrats would criticize his success: "Now, what's wrong with that?...is that not the American dream?"

Her question became even more pointed as she pressed: "...isn't making a lot of hay over how much money he's earned and how much money he's paid in taxes, you know, really not just fanning the flames of this sort of idea of politics of envy?"

Plouffe predictably responded with the same tired tactic of pitting one economic class against another: "Warren Buffett famously said he should not be paying less taxes, as a rate, than his secretary....when the middle class, the average middle class worker is paying more in taxes than people who are making $50-60 million a year, we've got to change that."

Curry followed up with another tough question: "Newt Gingrich labeling President Obama as the food stamp president.....with 14.2 million people being added to our food stamp rolls in just three years under President Obama, why shouldn't President Obama be called the food stamp president?"

However, she did make sure to include the latest liberal defense of Obama's record on food stamps: "Now technically, according to FactCheck.org, there are half a million more people who were on food stamps during George W. Bush's eight years in office. However, that is compared to Obama's just three years in office."

If one looks at the FactCheck.org chart tracking the expansion of the food stamp program, a sharp increase in food stamp recipients can clearly be seen after Barack Obama took office.

Plouffe dismissed the legitimate criticism as simply being "a cheap applause line for the Republican base."

The only softball Curry tossed to Plouffe was in her first question: "If history is any guide, the President's audience tonight at the State of the Union will dwarf the audiences that were watching any of the Republican debates so far, many times over. So what is the core of the President's message tonight?"

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