NBC’s Andrea Mitchell Bashes “Controversial,””Staunch Social Conservative” Mike Pence

National   |   Kyle Drennen   |   Jul 20, 2016   |   4:16PM   |   Washington, DC

Ahead of Mike Pence accepting the vice presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night, NBC’s Today made sure to warn viewers about the “conservative” and “controversial” Indiana governor. Correspondent Andrea Mitchell proclaimed: “And as governor, he has proven to be a staunch social conservative, signing controversial legislation, including a religious freedom bill that came under fire from gay rights groups.”

Footage ran of protesters denouncing Pence. One man with a megaphone declared: “No hate in our state!” A crowd of left-wing activists chanted: “Fire Mike Pence!” As images filled the screen of anti-Pence protest signs, Mitchell continued: “He also helped pass a strict anti-abortion bill that would have limited women’s rights to abort a disabled fetus. That law was blocked by a federal judge.”

She noted that Pence’s “conservative credentials” might help Donald Trump, “who is struggling to unify the party.” A soundbite played of The Washington Post’s Robert Costa labeling the governor “an ideological pick” and noting: “If you look back at history, a lot of Republican nominees in the past, those who were more in the center, they often go to the right to try to get the right wing to come along.”

Mitchell touted how “the road to becoming a vice presidential nominee has at times been rocky” for Pence and mocked Trump’s announcement of his running mate:

Typically, nominees give a brief speech before welcoming their running mates. Mitt Romney spoke for just 8 minutes before introducing Paul Ryan. John McCain spoke for 10. But Trump spoke for roughly 29 minutes, much of it about his own accomplishments. When Pence finally did walk on stage, Trump walked off.

She concluded the slanted segment: “So now the question is whether this shotgun marriage of a Tea Party conservative, who is also a Christian evangelical, will get along with Donald Trump, who defies all labels.”

Co-host Matt Lauer set up the report by observing: “Indiana Governor Mike Pence is set to speak in primetime tonight, this is really his chance to tell voters on a national stage about himself and where he stands on key issues in this campaign.” Mitchell added: “Our new NBC News/SurveyMonkey online poll shows vice presidential nominee Mike Pence is not very well known to American voters.”

The hit piece on Pence that followed was a transparent attempt to define him as outside the mainstream before he had a chance to convince voters otherwise.

Here is a full transcript of the July 20 segment:

7:41 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Welcome back to Cleveland, our coverage of the Republican National Convention.

MATT LAUER: As we mentioned, Indiana Governor Mike Pence is set to speak in primetime tonight, this is really his chance to tell voters on a national stage about himself and where he stands on key issues in this campaign. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell is on that story for us this morning. Andrea, good morning.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Good morning to you. Our new NBC News/SurveyMonkey online poll shows vice presidential nominee Mike Pence is not very well known to American voters and 43% of conservatives don’t know enough about him to say whether he is a good or a bad choice. That’s something Republicans are hoping to change when Pence takes the stage hours from now.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [REPORTER]: Governor Pence, what did you think about the chaos this morning?

MITCHELL: Tonight, Indiana Governor Mike Pence will speak to an audience of millions, making his primetime debut here in Cleveland. A massive change from just a week ago, now he’s surrounded by reporters and Secret Service.

[REPORTING FROM PENCE EVENT]: This is what it’s like to overnight become a vice presidential candidate, the Secret Service just arrived. This is a complete life-changing development for Mike Pence from Indiana.

MIKE PENCE: I actually got out of the car in the alley and I saw all these cars, and I turned to the security official and I said, are they all with us?

MITCHELL: A former member of Congress and attorney, Pence began his career as a talk radio host.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [ANNOUNCER]: The Mike Pence Show.

MITCHELL: And as governor, he has proven to be a staunch social conservative, signing controversial legislation, including a religious freedom bill that came under fire from gay rights groups.

PROTESTER: No hate in our state!

CROWD: Fire Mike Pence!

MITCHELL: He also helped pass a strict anti-abortion bill that would have limited women’s rights to abort a disabled fetus. That law was blocked by a federal judge. But it’s his conservative credentials that could make Mike Pence the perfect running mate for Donald Trump, who is struggling to unify the party.

ROBERT COSTA [THE WASHINGTON POST]: It’s an ideological pick. It’s a party unity pick. If you look back at history, a lot of Republican nominees in the past, those who were more in the center, they often go to the right to try to get the right wing to come along.

MITCHELL: The road to becoming a vice presidential nominee has at times been rocky. After reports leaked to the press that Pence had been chosen, Donald Trump called in to Fox News, saying he hadn’t yet made up his mind.

DONALD TRUMP: I haven’t made my final, final decision. I mean, I’ve got three people that are fantastic.

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MITCHELL: But while trump was saying that, Pence had already arrived in New York City for the announcement.

Typically, nominees give a brief speech before welcoming their running mates. Mitt Romney spoke for just 8 minutes before introducing Paul Ryan. John McCain spoke for 10. But Trump spoke for roughly 29 minutes, much of it about his own accomplishments. When Pence finally did walk on stage, Trump walked off.

Now the 57-year-old will have a second chance to introduce himself to voters in a primetime address later tonight. So now the question is whether this shotgun marriage of a Tea Party conservative, who is also a Christian evangelical, will get along with Donald Trump, who defies all labels.

LAUER: We will wait and see.

MITCHELL: Indeed, tonight.

LAUER: Andrea, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

LifeNews.com Note: Kyle Drennen is an MRC News Analyst and a graduate of Providence College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science. This was originally posted on the Media Research Center blog NewsBusters.

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