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NBC's Gregory Claims Obama 'Trying to Help' Boehner by Pressuring House GOP to Accept 'Balanced Approach' of Tax Hikes

During an NBC News special report following President Obama's Monday night speech that blamed the GOP for the debt ceiling stalemate, Meet the Press host David Gregory argued the President was doing John Boehner a favor: "...this is a president trying to help the Speaker of the House make the case to freshman Republicans who won't give at all on the idea of tax increases."

Gregory declared that Obama was "trying to create more pressure on them [Republicans] among the public, who are fed up with this, to say we've got to find some way to compromise here....he's actually trying to create some political room for his adversary in this fight."

Nightly News anchor Brian Williams began the exchange by observing: "...a big item on the President's list that is a deal-breaker for so many on the other side, the wealthy Americans, millionaires, billionaires, can afford to pay more." Gregory repeated Obama's talking points: "Well, you heard him, time and again, say a balanced approach is reasonable here."

Interestingly, special coverage of the speech on ABC had a very different take on the political impact of the President's address, suggesting it may actually energize the GOP. Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos noted that Obama was trying to "put pressure" on Republicans, but wondered: "...is there a chance that it could actually backfire and unify those House Republicans?"

Correspondent Jon Karl replied: "You are exactly right, George. The House Republicans who don't want to vote for an increase can now be told, "This is your chance to stick it to the President, to go against the President who is trying to force us to do something we don't want to do," so I think this will actually help John Boehner, kind of rally those really, on the right of his caucus, the real conservatives."

Here is a transcript of the July 25 NBC exchange between Williams and Gregory:

(...)

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Let's bring David Gregory back in, he's watching all of this with us from Boston. And David, of course a big item on the President's list that is a deal-breaker for so many on the other side, the wealthy Americans, millionaires, billionaires, can afford to pay more.

DAVID GREGORY: Well, you heard him, time and again, say a balanced approach is reasonable here. It took us a long time to get this far into debt. And we know the debt has gone up 35% since the President came into office. If the debt limit is extended through 2012, it would be up 54%. But his point was, it took us a long time to get here.

And behind the scenes here, Brian, the message, this is a president trying to help the Speaker of the House make the case to freshman Republicans who won't give at all on the idea of tax increases. He's trying to create more pressure on them among the public, who are fed up with this, to say we've got to find some way to compromise here, and do it in a way that will have the rest of the world, including the credit agencies, think that U.S. is taking a serious step here, and get us through the 2012 election.

It's a big argument, but he's actually trying to create some political room for his adversary in this fight.

WILLIAMS: That's right. David Gregory, again, watching from Boston.

(...)

Here is a transcript of the July 25 ABC exchange between Stephanopoulos and Carl:

(...)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Jon, the President clearly hoping that by going to the public tonight he'll be able to put pressure on those Republicans, but is there a chance that it could actually backfire and unify those House Republicans?

JON KARL: You are exactly right, George. The House Republicans who don't want to vote for an increase can now be told, "This is your chance to stick it to the President, to go against the President who is trying to force us to do something we don't want to do," so I think this will actually help John Boehner, kind of rally those really, on the right of his caucus, the real conservatives.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But as he was coming into this speech tonight, he was not sure that he had those Tea Party Republicans, the most conservative members of his caucus behind this plan.

(...)

- Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.