Rothman: MSNBC’s Most Embarrassing Mockery of Romney’s Russia Warnings

www.mediaite.com | 3/3/2014 | Noah Rothman
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The smug self-assuredness that often suffices for expertise on cable news was perhaps never more smug than when former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney warned the American public that Russia was rapidly positioning itself as America’s “number one geopolitical foe.” Among the worst offenders were the hosts and guests who provide MSNBC with content on a daily basis.

In early 2012, President Barack Obama was caught on an open microphone telling Russia’s then-President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have more “flexibility” after the presidential election in his dealings with Russia. Romney reacted strongly to that comment. Appearing on CNN, the GOP nominee said that the United States should regard Russia as a geopolitical adversary and should work to limit Russia’s flexibility rather than to secure it. His observation was soundly criticized by the president’s defenders who, at the time, were still attempting to rehabilitate Obama’s floundering “Reset” with Russia.

Romney - Comments - Republicans - Backlash - Media

There were few who defended Romney’s comments. Even snake-bit Republicans, chastened by the swift backlash in the media, hedged when asked to back up Romney’s assessment of the challenges posed by Moscow. But MSNBC’s wagons circled particularly quickly in defense of the president. Volley after volley of snark was lobbed in the GOP nominee’s direction.

“I don’t know what decade this guy’s living in,” MSNBC host Chris Matthews said with a sigh on March 28, 2012. “Is he trying to play Ronald Reagan here, or what?”

Mitt - Romney - Problem - University - Georgia

“This is Mitt Romney’s severely conservative problem,” University of Georgia professor Cynthia Tucker opined on-the-air. “It made Romney look dumb. He’s not a dumb man, but he said something that was clearly dumb.”

Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein agreed that Romney’s statement was evidence of an “antiquated worldview.” He fretted further about how Romney, should he become president, would enter the office having severely complicated America’s bilateral relations with Moscow...
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