Nervous NBC Sees Dem ‘Division,’ ‘Controversy’ Over Left-Wing Ideas in 2020 Race

After the network initially ignored Democratic Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris calling for the private health insurance industry to be abolished, on Wednesday, NBC’s Today show finally acknowledged how her radical proposal “sparked controversy.” The report also fretted over signs of “Democratic division” heading into the primary campaign.

The segment began by sounding like another example the media freaking out over former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announcing a potential independent presidential bid. “As the roster of potential candidates for the 2020 presidential race grows, so too does the backlash against some of them,” co-host Craig Melvin declared, adding that Schultz specifically was “now getting it from all sides.”

 

 

Correspondent Peter Alexander followed: “Howard Schultz is distancing himself from his Democratic roots, trying to cast him[self] as the man in the middle, publicly criticizing the extremes on the right and the left. But in the process, opening himself up to a fierce backlash, largely from liberal Democrats who want him out.”

However, Schultz was not the only target for criticism in the piece. As the headline on screen read, “Double Shot of Democratic Division; Potential Schultz Candidacy Causes Stir in Party,” Alexander admitted that “a potential run by the self-made coffee billionaire isn’t just making Democrats jittery, it’s also exposing rifts about the direction of the party.”

The reporter noted left-wing Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren taking heat for her class-warfare tax policy: “Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposed annual tax on the wealthiest Americans panned by another likely 2020 candidate, Michael Bloomberg, who compared it to socialism. And Schultz, who called it ‘ridiculous.’”

Turning to Harris’ extreme policy proposal, Alexander noted: “And Kamala Harris, an early favorite among Progressives, sparked controversy by endorsing a Medicare-for-all system that would end private health insurance.” After a soundbite ran of the California Senator telling CNN’s Jake Tapper Monday night that she wanted to “eliminate all of that” and “move on” from the private system, a clip followed of Schultz pushing back: “I don’t agree with the policy she stated last night. By wiping out the insurance industry, it would lose millions of jobs.”

On Tuesday, CBS This Morning briefly mentioned Harris advocating for a complete government takeover of health care, but actually helped promote the idea.

Alexander wrapped up his Wednesday Today show report by citing how “Schultz says he’s as concerned about progressive policies that he calls ‘as false as President Trump’s campaign promise that Mexico would pay for the border wall.’”

Credit goes to NBC for at least noticing that the ideas being put forward by Democratic 2020 candidates are outside of the mainstream, but the press shouldn’t necessarily be congratulated for discovering common sense.

Here is a full transcript of Alexander’s January 30 report:

7:12 AM ET

CRAIG MELVIN: As the roster of potential candidates for the 2020 presidential race grows, so too does the backlash against some of them. Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz now getting it from all sides. NBC’s Peter Alexander is at the White House with more on that. Hey, Peter, good morning.

PETER ALEXANDER: Craig, good morning to you. Howard Schultz is distancing himself from his Democratic roots, trying to cast him[self] as the man in the middle, publicly criticizing the extremes on the right and the left. But in the process, opening himself up to a fierce backlash, largely from liberal Democrats who want him out.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Double Shot of Democratic Division; Potential Schultz Candidacy Causes Stir in Party]

ALEXANDER: Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO, is getting a shot of Democratic disdain for floating a 2020 independent presidential bid, igniting fears he’d be handing reelection to Donald Trump.

HOWARD SCHULTZ [ABC’s THE VIEW]: And no one wants to see him fired more than me.

JOY BEHAR: And no one wants to see you run more than him.

ALEXANDER: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissing Schultz as a potential spoiler.

NANCY PELOSI: I’m not for anybody who stands in the way of a Democratic victory for president.

ALEXANDER: Across the aisle, some Republicans urging him to jump in.  

CHRIS CHRISTIE [FOX & FRIENDS]: God bless Howard Schultz. Run, Howard, run. [Laughter] Run, Howard, run.

ALEXANDER: Others discounting Schultz altogether.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY [R-LA]: My personal opinion is that there aren’t enough palate instructors in America for him to win.  

ALEXANDER: With both sides already dug in, Schultz argues he can appear to disaffected voters in the middle.

SCHULTZ: I think there are lifelong Democrats and lifelong Republicans who I believe are looking for a home. And perhaps, after the next few months, I can provide them one.

ALEXANDER: Still a potential run by the self-made coffee billionaire isn’t just making Democrats jittery, it’s also exposing rifts about the direction of the party. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposed annual tax on the wealthiest Americans panned by another likely 2020 candidate, Michael Bloomberg, who compared it to socialism. And Schultz, who called it “ridiculous.” Warren, who’s eyeing a run of her own, firing back, “What’s ridiculous is billionaires who think they can buy the presidency to keep the system rigged for themselves while opportunity slips away for everyone else.”

And Kamala Harris, an early favorite among Progressives, sparked controversy by endorsing a Medicare-for-all system that would end private health insurance.

HARRIS: Let’s eliminate all of that. Let’s move on.

SCHUTZ: I don’t agree with the policy she stated last night. By wiping out the insurance industry, it would lose millions of jobs.

ALEXANDER: Schultz says he’s as concerned about progressive policies that he calls “as false as President Trump’s campaign promise that Mexico would pay for the border wall.” Overnight, one of Schultz’s aides during this campaign consideration told me it may not be until summer or fall before he makes a final decision. Hoda, Craig and Savannah?

MELVIN: Alright, Peter Alexander for us there at the White House. Peter, thank you.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Liberals & Democrats NBC Today Video Peter Alexander Howard Schultz Kamala Harris Elizabeth Warren

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