NBC's O'Donnell Refuses to View Scott Brown Win as a Victory for GOP

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, over the last three days on the Today show, has refused to acknowledge Scott Brown's success as something for the GOP to celebrate. On Tuesday she accused Brown of ducking the GOP label throughout his campaign, then on Wednesday's show she noted that in Brown's victory speech "Interestingly, Senator-Elect Brown did not talk about being a Republican, instead, he framed this all as being about independence." Finally, on Thursday, O'Donnell cast Brown's win as him merely "riding a populist, anti-Washington wave." Somehow the fact that Democrats are in charge in Washington had escaped O'Donnell's attention.

The following O'Donnell report of Brown's arrival in Washington was aired on the January 21 Today show:

MEREDITH VIEIRA: Massachusetts Senator-Elect Scott Brown heads to Washington today, where they are still buzzing over his election on Tuesday and what it means for President Obama's top priority, health care reform. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell is there. Good morning to you, Kelly.

[On screen headline: "Health Care Hijinx, Will Senate Wait For Brown To Vote On Reform?"]

KELLY O'DONNELL: Good morning, Meredith. He's not officially starting work here today. He's making courtesy calls. And he'll be seeing all the members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, they're Democrats. And on the Republican side, he'll be meeting with a new mentor who helped fundraise for him, that's John McCain, just as everyone's trying to figure out the fallout over the new guy. With his burst-on-the-scene entrance to national politics-

SCOTT BROWN: I appreciate you taking some time to come here.

O'DONNELL -Republican Scott Brown is the power player of the moment.

BROWN: I've already made it very, very clear that, you know, I'm not beholden to anybody.

O'DONNELL: Brown's success, riding a populist, anti-Washington wave, stung the White House. The President in an interview with ABC News recognized that kind of momentum.

OBAMA: The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office. People are angry and they're frustrated.

O'DONNELL: With a bull's eye on health care reform, Republicans took aim.

JOHN MCCAIN: We've got to stop this process. We've got to stop this unsavory sausage-making Chicago style that's been going on, and we have to sit down in open and honest negotiations with the American people.

MITCH MCCONNELL: No more gamesmanship here and no more lack of transparency. Let's honor the wishes of the people of Massachusetts and move forward with policy, with this, with our policy debates.

O'DONNELL: One contentious debate erupting is whether Democrats can use the rules to push something through now. There are different scenarios, like using the version already approved by the Senate as the final bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had said health care would pass regardless of what happened in Massachusetts election, now says Democrats got the message.

NANCY PELOSI: We heard, we will heed, we will move forward with their considerations in mind, but we will move forward for health care.

O'DONNELL: With that caution light turned on in Massachusetts, Democrats are more publicly wary of the political consequences of acting before Brown can take the oath, and the President warned against a hurry-up offense on a health care bill.

OBAMA: The Senate shouldn't, certainly shouldn't try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated. The people of Massachusetts spoke. He's got to be part of that process.

O'DONNELL: And another of the Plan B options being considered would be a slimmed-down version of the current health care bill. So, they would take the things that both parties do agree on and pass that. But the President and Democrats are a little concerned that doing less might not be enough reform. Meredith?

VIEIRA: Alright, Kelly O'Donnell, thank you very much.

-Geoffrey Dickens is the senior news analyst at the Media Research Center.