On Today, Russert, Mitchell, and Lauer highlight Clinton's tax returns, don't mention McCain's

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

On Today, Matt Lauer, Tim Russert, and Andrea Mitchell discussed Bill and Hillary Clinton's tax returns, speculating about, in Lauer's words, the "actual impact" the returns will have on "those so-called blue-collar workers that are so much a part of her base." They did not mention that Sen. John McCain has yet to release his tax returns, nor did they speculate as to what impact McCain's family's wealth would have on his ability to connect with "blue-collar workers."

During the April 7 edition of NBC's Today, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell asserted of the April 4 release of Sen. Hillary Clinton's and former President Bill Clinton's recent tax returns, "The numbers are stunning," and NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert stated that "the tax returns, $109 million, $15 million a year," adding, "The average, median income in Pennsylvania is $46,000." After co-host Matt Lauer asked, "[W]hat is the actual impact on those so-called blue-collar workers that are so much a part of her base?" Russert responded, "We don't know. Will there people who say, 'This is Washington as usual, this is cashing in on the presidency'? Or, 'Hey, they worked that hard; they earned it'?" Russert, Mitchell, and Lauer did not note that Sen. John McCain has yet to release his tax returns; nor did any of them speculate as to what impact McCain's family's wealth would have on his ability to connect with "blue-collar workers."

A Media Matters for America review of the Nexis news database found no instances of Russert discussing McCain's tax returns in the last three months.*

From the April 7 edition of NBC's Today:

MITCHELL: [Former Clinton campaign adviser Mark] Penn's departure comes on top of tax returns that may raise a few eyebrows, as Clinton faces critical primaries in blue-collar states. In Montana Sunday, she tried to explain her newfound wealth.

CLINTON [video clip]: If you follow the news, you know that for the first time in Bill's or my life, we actually make more money than $250,000 a year. We didn't ask for those tax cuts; we didn't want them.

MITCHELL: The numbers are stunning: $109 million before taxes, an instant target for Saturday Night Live.

[begin video clip]

AMY POEHLER (SNL cast member): It turns out that over those years, my husband and I made about $109 million in income.

DARRELL HAMMOND (SNL cast member): That's a bunch of money.

POEHLER: We made a lot of money. As I said yesterday, most of that money -- about $50 million -- was made by Bill doing what he loves to do best -- talking to people.

HAMMOND: That is what I love to do best. Talk to people. Nothing more.

[end video clip]

MITCHELL: The tax returns reveal Bill Clinton is paid very well to talk -- almost $52 million in paid speeches. And the Clintons earned another combined $40 million from their books.

[...]

RUSSERT: She has to look like a winner. She looks -- has to show a campaign of strength. Every article today, Matt, talks about the struggling campaign had to release its campaign strategist. That, coupled with the tax returns, $109 million, $15 million a year. The average, median income in Pennsylvania is $46,000. This is not the kind of double-punch story the Clintons want two weeks before the Pennsylvania primary.

LAUER: Well -- well, let's stop and let's talk about that for a second. Do you think those numbers -- and they're big numbers, $109 million, $33 million in taxes, by the way, and $10 million given to charity -- what is the actual impact on those so-called blue-collar workers that are so much a part of her base?

RUSSERT: We don't know. Will there people who say, "This is Washington as usual, this is cashing in on the presidency"? Or, "Hey, they worked that hard; they earned it"?

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
NBC
Person
Tim Russert, Andrea Mitchell
Show/Publication
Today Show
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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