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NBC's Todd: White House 'Insulated' from Petraeus Scandal, 'He's More of a Republican Guy'

In attempt to deflect the growing scandal surrounding former CIA director David Petreaus away from President Obama, on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd parroted administration spin on the controversy: "...they do believe they're a little insulated here, because Petraeus isn't considered an Obama guy. If anything, he's more of a Republican guy at the end of the day." [Listen to the audio]

Anchor Brian Williams wondered about the timing of the scandal: "What if this had come out during the election campaign?" Todd described how relieved the Obama campaign team was that it didn't: "Well, look, it's something that the political team here at the White House is glad that they didn't have to test that hypothetical."

On Wednesday's Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie asked Todd: "How damaging potentially is this to the President politically?" Todd offered the same spin:

Well, politically the White House doesn't seem to be that concerned and there's one big reason for it. This isn't one of, quote, unquote, "their people." And here's what I mean by this, David Petraeus is somebody that has served multiple administrations, has actually, if you will, probably a bigger political fan base on the Republican side of the aisle.

Here is a transcript of Todd's November 13 Nightly News analysis:

7:09PM ET

(...)

BRIAN WILLIAMS: And Chuck Todd over to you, and politics, and what may be unanswerable in terms of the time line in a hypothetical. What if this had come out during the election campaign?

CHUCK TODD: Well, look, it's something that the political team here at the White House is glad that they didn't have to test that hypothetical. I can tell you they – for now, they feel as if the political fallout, it's a distraction. The President has a press conference tomorrow, his first one since winning re-election. And it's gonna be dominated by the Petraeus scandal, by the fact that there seems to be a lot of unanswered questions. What did – what took the FBI so long in notifying the White House? Things like that. And the President would rather be focused on the fiscal cliff negotiations. What are we going to do by the end of the year? Those deadlines don't go away, Brian. But politically, they do believe they're a little insulated here, because Petraeus isn't considered an Obama guy. If anything, he's more of a Republican guy at the end of the day.

(...)

Here is a transcript of similar analysis on the November 14 Today:

7:06AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Chuck Todd is NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director. Chuck, good morning to you.

CHUCK TODD: Good morning.

GUTHRIE: Well, the President, as we said, holds his first post-election news conference today. Suffice it to say, when this was planned, I'm sure military sex scandals were not what he wanted to address today. A couple of questions. How damaging potentially is this to the President politically, and more importantly, to his real-world national security objectives, to have two generals ensnared in this?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The Generals Scandal; How Will President Obama Respond to Pentagon Probe?]

TODD: Well, politically the White House doesn't seem to be that concerned and there's one big reason for it. This isn't one of, quote, unquote, "their people." And here's what I mean by this, David Petraeus is somebody that has served multiple administrations, has actually, if you will, probably a bigger political fan base on the Republican side of the aisle. I think that this White House would feel more politically vulnerable if this were somebody that was more closely associated with the President over years and years. So on the politics front, while a distraction, while not how he wants to spend half of his press conference today, answering questions about this, they don't see the political damage yet. But, of course, you know, this investigation every morning there seems to be something new.

(...)