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NBC Panelists Blame 'American Public' and Republicans for Sequester

During a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer urged the liberal Today's Professionals pundits to assign blame for the upcoming budget sequester: "I want you to complete the following sentence, 'And the blame goes to...' Almost by every analysis people agree this will hurt the economy, hurt the recovery, might even damage national security. And the blame goes to?" [Listen to the audio]

Chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman ranted: "The American public for not being invested enough in the terms of what it means and firing every one of these SOBs the next time it comes around." Advertising executive Donny Deutsch agreed, arguing: "We are a country now of complete non-self sacrifice. You can't blame the politicians. Blame us, because nobody wants to give on anything."

Not satisfied with those responses, Lauer pressed further: "But let's keep in mind, both sides, Republicans and Democrats, agreed to this idea last year when they were negotiating the debt ceiling. They knew these cuts were draconian....So if it happens, Republicans or Democrats, who gets the blame?"

Deutsch predictably concluded: "Republicans much more. Republicans, because right now, perception and reality, they are seen as the party of no."

Lauer briefly objected, actually alluding to President Obama's role in the budget showdown: "Remember the White House proposed this, though." Deutsch dismissed that fact: "Once again, the Republicans have more to lose. Whether it's their fault or not is different. They have more to lose."

Here is a transcript of the February 26 exchange:

8:10AM ET

MATT LAUER: We're back now at 8:10 with a new edition of Today's Professionals. Star Jones, Donny Deutsch and Dr. Nancy Snyderman are here to tackle the stories that have you talking. Good morning, all. Nice to see you.

DONNY DEUTSCH: Hi, Matt.

STAR JONES: Good morning.

NANCY SNYDERMAN: Hello, Matt.

LAUER: Sunday night everybody was saying, "And the Oscar goes to..." I want you to complete the following sentence, "And the blame goes to..." The sequester, unless there's a deal struck in Washington by this Friday, March 1st, the sequester goes into effect. $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years. Almost by every analysis people agree this will hurt the economy, hurt the recovery, might even damage national security. And the blame goes to...

SNYDERMAN: The American public for not being invested enough in the terms of what it means and firing every one of these SOBs the next time it comes around.

DEUTSCH: The American public, but not because of them, because of us. Politicians are a reflection of who we are. Nobody in today's generation wants to give anything. Nobody wants to work till 67. Nobody wants to give up entitlements. Rich people don't want to pay more taxes. We are a country now of complete non-self sacrifice. You can't blame the politicians. Blame us, because nobody wants to give on anything.

SNYDERMAN: But blame them for not getting a deal, both sides.

JONES: I don't understand how Washington works. In every other aspect of society, when you negotiate with people, you must sit down together, you must actually put some things on the table. I don't understand why Washington is not doing that.

LAUER: But let's keep in mind, both sides, Republicans and Democrats, agreed to this idea last year when they were negotiating the debt ceiling. They knew these cuts were draconian. They must have thought they would never happen, it would never come to this. Well, guess what? It's come to this. So if it happens, Republicans or Democrats, who gets the blame?

DEUTSCH: Republicans much more. Republicans, because right now, perception and reality, they are seen as the party of no.

LAUER: Remember the White House proposed this, though.

DEUTSCH: By the way, once again, the Republicans have more to lose. Whether it's their fault or not is different. They have more to lose.

But I still think the big point is we have to look in the mirror a little bit. I really do.