David Brooks: ‘It has been the worst campaign I’ve ever covered’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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On this weekend’s broadcast of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” New York Times columnist David Brooks — who was once profoundly impressed with President Barack Obama — admitted he has soured on the president.

“Well, you know, I think — well, I first think it has been the worst campaign I’ve ever covered,” Brooks said. “And I think they’re both ending on the same note they started. Obama’s doing a negative campaign. He’s got an ad out which is called ‘Remember,’ which is about Obama — which is about Romney, the plutocrat. It’s about the flip-flop what we’ve just heard on the stump. So it’s almost pure negativity.”

“Romney is finishing, trying to appeal to moderates, trying to appeal to women, which is a bipartisan ad which is saying, you know, ‘I don’t care if it’s a Republican idea or Democratic idea, I’m going to be for that.’ And, you know, so he has shape shift. That’s not who he is. That’s not who his policies are. So I regard this is an ad, as a campaign that has answered none of our fundamental issues about both these guys, how they would govern for next four years. And they are finishing as badly as they started.”

Brooks’ NPR “All Things Considered” liberal counterpart, E.J. Dionne, was also a guest on “Meet the Press” and showed he was equally sour on Romney, although he wasn’t willing to concede Brooks’ point on Obama.

“See, I disagree with David,” Dionne said. “I think this election is a fundamental choice, and I think the trust issue links closely with the economic issue. Romney is almost one as a product. It’s like if you’re selling a car — you want air conditioning, I’ll give you air conditioning. You want rich, Corinthian leather, remember those old ads, I’ll give you leather. Romney is saying you want right-wing in the primary, I’ll give you that. You want centrist in the election, I’ll give you that.”

“And the auto rescue is a good example where he was clearly against it and in the debate, trying to suggest that he was for it,” Dionne continued. “And I think it’s entirely appropriate that the auto rescue has been so important to Obama running so well in Ohio, because it’s really a choice. Either government should just sit by and let the market do its thing, or government can come in and correct certain market outcomes and prevent catastrophe. That is the kind of choice we face in this election.”

Brooks attempted to counter Dionne’s defense of Obama, leading to the following exchange:

BROOKS: I mean, if you want to talk about trust, what Obama is talking about on the trail, first of all, there’s no second term agenda. Second, when he goes off the record with the Des Moines Register last week, he gives out a second term agenda which is nothing like what he’s been talking about on the trail.
DIONNE: That’s not true. It’s not true at all.
BROOKS: OK, wait. So let’s talk about cutting corporate tax rates, talking about weeding out immigration.
DIONNE: He said that all along.
BROOKS: He’s talked about immigration reform which he’s not talked about much in public.
DIONNE: Yes, he has.
BROOKS: And he’s talked about a grand bargain with cutting spending $2.50 for every dollar of tax revenue. That’s a much…
DIONNE: Which is his proposal he’s put on the table.
BROOKS: … that — that is not what he’s been running on.

(h/t Andrew Kirell, Mediaite)

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