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Chuck Todd Tag

Last week, several mainstream media journalists ran with an out-of-context quote from White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. At first glance, it made it look like she was saying President Trump was willing to ignore science to get kids to return to public school classrooms in the fall. To quickly recap, here's an example courtesy of CNN's Jim Acosta of what many reporters posted to their Twitter feeds shortly after the Thursday press briefing:

Fireworks exploded on Meet the Press on Sunday between host Chuck Todd and Sen. Rob Johnson (R-WI). Johnson appeared on the show to discuss comments he made on Friday regarding President Donald Trump and Ukraine. Johnson took the interview in a different direction, which led Todd to blow his lid.

NBC's Chuck Todd amuses me; I don't know if it's his lethargic presence or his pretense at earnest thoughtfulness.  Maybe it's his "sleepy eyes."  Whatever it is, I rarely miss Meet the Press just for the chance to giggle as Todd's weekly impression of Chandler Bing from Friends (all those oddly-timed pauses and the weird emphasis on random words just cracks me up).  Whatever it is, I find it hard to take Todd seriously; he's such a doofus and that he sees himself as a person of great gravitas just adds to the funny. When I saw that he had published an article at the Atlantic, I couldn't click over quickly enough.  Sure, much of his pretentious goofiness needs to be seen and heard to be appreciated, but he's such a sloppy thinker that I just had to know what he had written.

Former President Barack Obama's Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Chuck Todd on Meet The Press that evidence between President Donald Trump and Russia do not exist:
We did not include any evidence in our report, and I say, "our," that's N.S.A., F.B.I. and C.I.A., with my office, the Director of National Intelligence, that had anything, that had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. There was no evidence of that included in our report.

Much of the commentary about Kellyanne Conway's Meet the Press appearance this morning has focused on her criticism of the prospect of Mitt Romney as Secretary of State. We'll discuss that in a "Note" below but would like to highlight a striking statement by Chuck Todd that immediately preceded the Romney discussion. Todd was grilling Conway over potential conflicts between Trump's business interests and his role as president. Conway eventually had enough, and observed "I went back and looked at what all the press clips and the conversations on shows like this eight years ago. It was basically debating just how cool Barack Obama is. . . . if we're not going to do that about President-elect Trump, we should at the very least trust him to do the right thing and comply with the law here." A visibly annoyed Todd shot back: "I understand. Every knee-jerk pushback is going to be to blame the media. It's a crutch. I get it. And I'm used to it. But it's not the fact."

On Hardball, Chuck Todd called it a "fantasy," but . . . he reported that some Republicans think that maybe they can talk Donald Trump into quitting, and that an ideal replacement ticket would be Mike Pence and Nikki Haley. Chris Matthews was very skeptical, saying that there'd never be a week when Pence could beat Hillary, because he lacks the "pizazz." Todd replied that some Republicans believe that a generic Republicans could beat Clinton. Todd quoted one Republican as saying "take any two people in the White Pages. Make them the ticket. Put R's next to their name, and put them on a desert island and not say anything, and they think that candidate gets 47%." Then again, how tuned in can someone be who still thinks in terms of the "White Pages?"

Morning Joe did a very decent job today of covering the shooting of police officers in Dallas and the issue of police shootings of African-American. The remarks were generally even-handed. Even Al Sharpton was cautious and balanced in his comments. And so it was surprising that of all people, Chuck Todd made the most tendentious remark. Speaking of the shooting of Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota, and discussing the need for better police training, Todd said: "how do you train prejudice and hate out of somebody's heart? That's a tough thing." Is there racism among police? Of course, as there is in every segment of society. Was the Minnesota governor right when he said Castile would be alive if he were white? Quite possibly. But for Todd to focus on police "prejudice and hate" was a gross and unfair overgeneralization. Chuck Todd: please spend a few days in a police cruiser in an inner city. See what the police see and have to deal with every day. Then come back and tell us whether police "prejudice and hate" is the key to the problems facing our society.

Watching the rise of this new populism, one of my many concerns is whether the charlatans wearing the cape of Conservatism will damage its value, diminish its meaning, and in general, confuse those who know no difference. But then I see people like Sen. Sasse and I'm somewhat relieved. At least briefly.

It was bad enough that none of President Obama, Vice President Biden or Secretary of State Kerry attended Sunday's Solidarity March in Paris, attended by dozens of world leaders. It would have been the right thing for Obama to attend. There was enough security to protect obvious targets like the French President, the German Chancellor and the Israeli Prime Minister. There is no indication that security kept Obama away. But what about Biden, Kerry, or some other very senior official? France is a key U.S. ally. The attacks in Paris were carried out by followers of groups that also kill Americans. Having at least one senior official, even if not the President, in attendance would have been a no-brainer. But not with this President. The attacks in Paris did not fit a narrative the administration wants to address. The problem was not security, but that the Solidarity March was against not just terrorism, but radical Islam and its suppression of free speech and the press through ideological and physical intimidation. That apparently was too much for a President who considers that we are the source of the problem through past behavior. Eric Holder was in Paris for a security conference. There were rumors that he would represent the U.S. at the march. Surely that would have been an easy, though imperfect, solution. I watched the march online via live video stream while covering it for Legal Insurrection. I took numerous screen shots of the leaders lined up. I didn't see Holder anywhere. Paris National Unity Rally Netanyahu others News reports confirm Holder did not attend. Then I flipped channels on the TV to see who was covering the march, and found Holder being interviewed by Chuck Todd on Meet the Press.