NBC reporter Chuck Todd, who has extensively covered Gov. Chris Christie’s scandals, outright balked at giving the New Jersey Republican governor even the slightest credit for his “good day” yesterday — prompting a humiliating lecture on journalistic ethics from former Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that Christie, as head of the Republican Governors’ Association, raised a record-breaking amount of money in January for the organization. He also had a very successful fundraising trip to Chicago, raising $1 million on Tuesday while speaking about Republican ideas to combat income inequality.
So no one was surprised when MSNBC host Joe Scarborough asked his guests: “Chris Christie had a pretty good day yesterday, didn’t he?” No one, that is, except for Todd — who seemed downright loath to utter one word of praise for the governor.
“Uh, OK,” the reporter scoffed at Scarborough’s question. “I mean I guess, uh — how do you define — you know, I just, I’m still –”
“Come on!” Nicolle Wallace, a former Republican strategist interjected! “Oh my God!”
” — the whole feeding frenzy thing,” Todd continued. “I just can’t — you know, I guess it’s a good day that what? He didn’t get more indictments come in, he didn’t have more staff –”
That was too much for Wallace:
WALLACE: Oh my God! Wait, wait, stop!
TODD: No, I don’t — what’s the definition of a good day!?
WALLACE: Rachel [Maddow's] not on ’til 9.
TODD: Why would you say — No, Nicolle, I just don’t –
WALLACE: Chuck! You’ve gotta be –
TODD: I just think that we –
WALLACE: You — your legacy –
TODD: Hang on. We’re doing a feeding frenzy on somebody who we’re not actually, like, sitting back and it’s like — you know, we’re — we’re overdoing it now.
WALLACE: We’re overdoing what?!
TODD: I think everybody is just trying to will him back into SOMETHING.
WALLACE: Oh my God! So you have spent, this — Oh my –
TODD: What have I spent? Nicolle, wait a minute, hang on. No, what have I spent doing?
SCARBOROUGH: OK, let Nicolle respond! Go ahead, let Nicolle respond!
WALLACE: I haven’t finished a sentence yet, Chuck! But so much time has been spent in the last four weeks covering every teeny, minuscule, breaking non-news event in the subpoenas of his –
TODD: Not on my show!
WALLACE: Well, on the network on which you appear — and I appear. But the fact that he had an event in front of Democrats and Republicans — former White House chief of staff, I think it was, said he had a great performance yesterday. Republicans remain credibly focused on everything he says and does because at the moment he leads the RGA.
And as a guy who’s mired in a scandal, I can’t think of a politician in either party who’s remained more focused on his day job, despite of the fact that every single, formerly-objective member of the political press is coming after him. And the fact that it doesn’t at least warrant as much attention that he has a day like yesterday, where he speaks more eloquently about income inequality — an issue that I think on your show you spent a good deal of time talking about — is a nothing burger to you, is to me something that should educate Governor Christie about the climate he faces should he run for president.
“No!” an embarrassed Todd protested. “I just think it’s — I’m not — I’m not treating him as a presidential candidate in my mind right now.”
“Whatever!” Wallace retorted. “Who cares what he is in your mind? But as a journalist, you should cover a day like yesterday.”
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