Andrea Mitchell Frets Over 'Angry Tea Party Protesters' Being 'Misinformed' by GOP

At the top of her 1 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Monday, host Andrea Mitchell wrung her hands over "angry Tea Party protesters" who gathered in Washington over the weekend to denounce the Obama administration's politicization of the government shutdown being "whipped up" Sarah Palin and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. [Listen to the audio]

Later on the program, she contemptuously remarked to The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza: "I'm really struck by Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin over the weekend at these protests saying that it's, you know, terrible to be taking advantage of veterans....who was it who started playing politics with this thing in the first place?"  

Cillizza chimed in: "...he [Cruz] has really badly hurt the party that he affiliates with....The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed it clearly, this is a bad thing politically for the Republican Party, whether or not it's a good thing for Ted Cruz."

In another segment near the bottom of the hour, Mitchell laughed as she again denigrated Cruz, as well as those who attended the rally:

...Senator Cruz said we should not be politicizing the shutdown and we should not be taking advantage of the veterans and making pawns of the veterans. I don't take anything away from the people who attended who probably of their own – you know, obviously they have their own views. And they have been, I would think, misinformed and don't fully understand the full dynamic of how Ted Cruz led the House Republicans into this blind alley.

After all, how could such "misinformed" people not accept the liberal media spin on the shutdown?

Mitchell also played a clip of Freedom Watch founder Larry Klayman declaring at the protest: "We are now ruled, quote, unquote, by a president who bows down to Allah. This president is not a president of we the people. He's a president of his people."

She seized on that brief sound bite to condemn the entire event:

What have we come to? That is Larry Klayman...speaking only about 20 minutes after Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin was there also, same rally....I was not there this weekend, so I cannot tell you precisely what Ted Cruz was doing. Had he walked off the platform when this took place? But I'd like to know who from Congress, who was there when those comments were made. And I'd like to hear from anybody who was at that rally.

Mitchell brought on left-wing Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson to rant against the Tea Party: "This is so outrageous. You asked what have we come to. And that's basically the question, Andrea. You know, we're way beyond saying, what's happened to civil discourse in this country? This is just – this is crazy talk, dangerous talk, and it's just obscene....I have to hope, because I'm an optimistic person, that on some level this gets contained to the fringe."

Mitchell wrapped up the exchange with Robinson by noting: "Well, we're still waiting to hear back from Senator Cruz on this subject, at least."

Here is a transcript of Mitchell's October 14 coverage of the weekend protest:

1:00PM ET TEASE:

ANDREA MITCHELL: Tipping point. Angry Tea Party protesters carry barricades from the closed World War II Memorial and pile them outside the White House Sunday after a rally with Sarah Palin and Senator Ted Cruz whipped up the conservative faithful.

SEN. TED CRUZ [R-TX]: Our veterans should be above politics. Enough games.

1:32PM ET SEGMENT:

(...)

MITCHELL Chris Cillizza, I'm really struck by Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin over the weekend...

CHRIS CILLIZZA [WASHINGTON POST]: Sure.

MITCHELL: ...at these protests saying that it's, you know, terrible to be taking advantage of veterans. Lets watch.

SARAH PALIN: Our vets have proven that they have not been timid, so we will not be timid in calling out any who would use our military, our vets as pawns in a political game.

TED CRUZ: Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial? There are 14 bills sitting on Harry Reid's desk to fund vital government functions, to fund the VA. The Senate won't even vote to fund the VA.

MITCHELL: So who was it who started playing politics with this thing in the first place?

CILLIZZA: Well, look, Ted Cruz – I would say, you know, Ted Cruz has probably done himself a world of good in the Republican Party primary process if he wants to run for president in 2016. But I wrote this morning in The Washington Post, while doing himself a lot of good, he has really badly hurt the party that he affiliates with.

Which is, he picked this fight. A 21-hour filibuster speech, call it what you will, to protest ObamaCare, he sort of urged House – about four dozen House Republicans to stand strong, not concede on defunding ObamaCare as we – in the lead-up to the shutdown. I think that has helped Ted Cruz's sort of image within the group, many of whom he was speaking to there, of conservative rank and file activists.

What it has not done, however, is made it possible for Republicans to sort of not get the full brunt of the blame here, Andrea. The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed it clearly, this is a bad thing politically for the Republican Party, whether or not it's a good thing for Ted Cruz.

(...)

1:46 PM ET SEGMENT:

LARRY KLAYMAN [FREEDOM WATCH]: We are now ruled, quote, unquote, by a president who bows down to Allah. This president is not a president of we the people. He's a president of his people. I call upon all of you to wage a second American non-violent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get out, to put the Koran down, to get up off his knees. Come here and demand the resignation of Obama and other leaders who have subverted the interests of our country.

MITCHELL: What have we come to? That is Larry Klayman, founder of Freedom Watch, earlier of Judicial Watch, at a Tea Party rally this weekend, speaking only about 20 minutes after Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin was there also, same rally.

Joining me now, Washington Post columnist and MSNBC analyst Eugene Robinson. I was not there this weekend, so I cannot tell you precisely what Ted Cruz was doing. Had he walked off the platform when this took place? But I'd like to know who from Congress, who was there when those comments were made. And I'd like to hear from anybody who was at that rally.

EUGENE ROBINSON [WASHINGTON POST]: Absolutely. I mean, this is so outrageous. You asked what have we come to. And that's basically the question, Andrea. You know, we're way beyond saying, what's happened to civil discourse in this country? This is just – this is crazy talk, dangerous talk, and it's just obscene.

MITCHELL: And this is from the same rally where Senator Cruz said we should not be politicizing the shutdown and we should not be taking advantage of the veterans and making pawns of the veterans. I don't take anything away from the people who attended who probably of their own – you know, obviously they have their own views. And they have been, I would think, misinformed and don't fully understand the full dynamic of how Ted Cruz led the House Republicans into this blind alley. But where do we go from here, Gene?

ROBINSON: Well, you know, I don't know, Andrea. They may well not fully understand how that happened. And in fact, you know, I understand that today there were some veterans groups that were complaining about how the rally was politicized and how – you know, what to them is an issue of their service and whatever, was made into this sort of political cudgel with which to try to bash – bash the President.

You know, where do we go from here? I have to hope, because I'm an optimistic person, that on some level this gets contained to the fringe. That there's a mainstream, whatever they think about the shutdown, whatever they think about ObamaCare, still believe this is one country with one president and that we're in a very real sense all in this together, that it's not this us versus them or us versus him sort of dynamic that, that rally bought into.

MITCHELL: Well, what comes to mind is John McCain in 2008 at that rally when he was running for president against Barack Obama and a woman in the crowd spoke incorrectly about the President's birth and whether or not he was a Muslim and John McCain stopped, you know, in his tracks and corrected her and corrected the record. And one would ask any elected official, certainly, who was at that rally [this weekend], to take a stand and correct this record.

ROBINSON: But apparently there was no John McCain at that rally. There was no one with that – with that sort of integrity and fortitude, which you would expect. You would hope that any elected official would demonstrate.

MITCHELL: Well, we're still waiting to hear back from Senator Cruz on this subject, at least. Eugene Robinson, thank you very much.

— Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.