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Chuck Todd Plays The 'Both Sides' Game With GOP Hypocrisy On Obstruction

Chuck Todd pretends not to understand the unprecedented amount of obstruction for the sake of obstruction that went on during President Obama's time in office during an interview with Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin on this Sunday's Meet the Press.
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Chuck Todd pretends not to understand the unprecedented amount of obstruction for the sake of obstruction that went on during President Obama's time in office during an interview with Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin on this Sunday's Meet the Press.

CHUCK TODD: I'm going to play a quote of yours in September of 2016 about the other Supreme Court vacancy that we were dealing with back then. Here's what you said.

[TAPE]

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: In a few weeks the Supreme Court will start its new term with eight justices; we need nine. Major legal questions are hanging in limbo because the court is deadlocked on four/four votes.

[END TAPE]

CHUCK TODD: There's been some talk among some of your colleagues for Democrats to push for a delay until after the election. Obviously you didn't like that in 2016. Where are you on this?

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: Well, I asked Senator McConnell when Kennedy made his announcement whether he was going to be consistent. He said during the course of the vacancy at the end of the Obama presidency, "Let's wait and let the people decide in an election." Many of his colleagues came to the floor on the Republican side and said, "The people of this country are going to vote. They'll decide the future of the Supreme Court."

Well, I asked Senator McConnell, "Are you going to use the same standard this go-around?" And obviously he is not. The net result of that, of course, is that we are going to move forward quickly to fill the vacancy. And I think it's pretty clear Senator McConnell was seizing the moment, stopping Obama from filling the vacancy with an extraordinarily qualified man--

CHUCK TODD: No, I know, Senator. But where are you on this now? Do you want it delayed? I understand you want to point out hypocrisy on McConnell's side. But there's hypocrisy on your side on this too, right? Do you think if it was wrong to delay in 2016 is it wrong to delay now?

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: Well, come on, Chuck. Get real. Senator McConnell invented this new rule and wouldn't even consider a meeting with Merrick Garland. And now he's saying--


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CHUCK TODD: I take your point--

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: --we have to hurry through here and get this done before the election. Totally inconsistent. He's either wrong the first time or wrong the second time. The net result is he's trying to play to his political advantage.

CHUCK TODD: What did you guys do wrong in the Merrick Garland situation? If you could redo it, how would you do it?

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: I'm not sure we could've changed it. When it reached the point where the Senate Republican leader refused to even meet with the nominee of President Obama, a man extremely well-qualified, it was clear that the fix was in. They were going to keep this vacant in the hopes that they could put a Republican in the White House. It happened. And now Neil Gorsuch, chosen by the Federalist Society as well, has gone to the bench, is voting in lockstep on the Republican conservative side. And they want to fill this vacancy to give than an advantage in any future rulings.

CHUCK TODD: I have to ask you though, now going backwards even before Garland, let's go to the Harry Reid decision back in 2013 when you decided to scrap it for everything but the Supreme Court, the filibuster. There were predictions this was be slippery slope, and here we go. In hindsight, mistake?

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: I think at that time Harry Reid faced an impossible decision. The Republicans had announced they would not fill the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is a critical court, second only to the Supreme Court in its importance. They were facing all of these filibusters day after day, jurist after jurist, and Harry Reid made this decision. He did make an exception for the Supreme Court, which Mitch McConnell swept away.

Chuck, let me tell you though, we look at this decision in general terms and talk about the process. But let's get down to the heart of it. This Supreme Court is going to decide whether or not people in families with preexisting conditions can have access to affordable health insurance. That's it. It's real, and it's a constitutional challenge by the Trump administration this court will face. This court will decide the future of women's health care and the freedom of women to make choices about the future of their families. That is a critical decision this court will face. So beyond the procedure, beyond the gamesmanship, it is a life and death important decision to be made by this court on so many issues.

What they did wrong was not playing the same hardball tactics as the Republicans and just recess appointing Garland, but it's absolutely ridiculous to blame Reid who was put in an impossible position with their obstruction and the record amount of filibusters.

Chuck Todd is completely incapable of discussing Republican hypocrisy without vomiting out "both sides" like a gag reflex he can't control.

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