RNC Chair Slaps Down Chuck Todd's Attempt to Manufacture GOP Controversy

Interviewing Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on MSNBC's Daily Rundown on Wednesday, host and NBC political director Chuck Todd desperately tried to paint the GOP as anti-woman by ironically citing the top woman in the Texas Republican Party observing that men are better at negotiating higher salaries in the workplace. [Listen to the audio]

Todd melodramatically proclaimed: "...you talked about figuring out better ways to talk to women....But here's the executive director of the Texas Republican Party....I know you're going to say you can't speak and defend everybody's comments, but this is somebody representing the Republican Party in the state of Texas. These things accumulate."

Priebus pointed out how lame Todd's attack was by referencing Joe Biden's 2012 comment that Republicans wanted to put Americans "back in chains": "I mean, you know, when Joe Biden said, you know, 'We want to' – whatever he said – 'Break you from these chains,' or whatever he said, listen, he's the Vice President of the United States of America. I mean, you're pointing out some staffer at a state GOP office."

Todd argued: "Well, it's the executive director. It's the person running – this is the person running the state party of Texas. I mean, it's not a small position." Priebus shot back: "Okay, well, and I brought up the Vice President of the United States, Chuck. Okay?"

The left-wing blog Salon was pushing the Texas GOP official's remarks on Tuesday, with Katie McDonough ranting: "The logic of [Beth] Cubriel's statement is offensive, but it also flatly denies reality."

Despite such condemnation, in the very next paragraph, McDonough acknowledged Cubriel was right:

It's true that women often don't bargain hard enough for higher pay, as shown by a number of studies and a terrific book called "Women Don't Ask" by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever. The word is out, and solutions (hatched mostly by women) are already in the works, like coaching young women on how to get negotiate better before they enter the workforce.

So what exactly is controversial about a prominent Republican woman making a completely accurate statement about women in the workplace?

Todd's own MSNBC colleague, Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, wrote a book in 2012 entitled, Knowing Your Value. In an article for Forbes, Cali Williams Yost outlined Brzezinski's advice for working women, including:

> Don't wait to be noticed. Walk in and ask for what you want…because that's what all of the guys are doing, constantly.

> Learn how to negotiate in a way that's comfortable for you, and stop being so "grateful" for everything.

> Men can be very powerful allies and sponsors. Seek them out.

> Like men, other women will pay you less if they can get away with it.

Here is a portion of Todd's March 19 exchange with Priebus:

(...)

CHUCK TODD: Well, let's talk about – I mean, obviously, there's been messaging [inaudible] and in the messaging issues. And when you look at your report, you talked about figuring out better ways to talk to women, better ways to talk to African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics. But here's the executive director of the Texas Republican Party, let me play a sound bite of what she said on the issue of equal pay.

BETH CUBRIEL [TX GOP EXEC. DIRECTOR]: Men are better negotiators, and I would encourage women, instead of pursuing the courts for action, to become better negotiators.

TODD: And I know – now, Chairman Priebus, I know you're going to say you can't speak and defend everybody's comments, but this is somebody representing the Republican Party in the state of Texas. These things accumulate.

REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, I mean, but both sides – you know, one side doesn't have a monopoly on these kinds of comments. I mean, you know, when Joe Biden said, you know, "We want to" – whatever he said – "Break you from these chains," or whatever he said, listen, he's the Vice President of the United States of America. I mean, you're pointing out some staffer at a state GOP office. You know, I mean, the fact is, what I'm trying to suggest to you, Chuck, is that-

TODD: Well, it's the executive director. It's the person running – this is the person running the state party of Texas. I mean, it's not a small position.

PRIEBUS: Okay, well, and I brought up the Vice President of the United States, Chuck. Okay? I mean, you want to start cherry-

TODD: Okay.

(...)

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