Chuck Todd: Obama Showed Some "Swagger," Sent Message "I Am Through Appeasing Washington"


CHRIS MATTHEWS HARDBALL: Let's bring on Chuck Todd, moderator of Meet the Press. It seems like the president has gotten himself into this conversation. Was Sony right? The president jumps in and says, no, kids out in Hollywood, I'm a grownup. You know what, you made a mistake. You did. You buckled. You appeased. Very strong statement. You should have talked to me.

CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS: Incredibly strong. I mean, that -- look, that whole press conference, that was a president who feels as if he has earned the right to have some swagger, the way he answered questions, and how he dealt with certain issues and not brushing them off in snarky ways, just feeling very confident. But on Sony, it is clear, he seems incredibly -- look, there had been some question, did Sony consult with Homeland Security? Was there some reason here that Sony decided to pull the release itself and things like that. Boy, he wanted to make it unequivocal, they didn't consult the government. And they made a mistake. I mean, there's already a hashtag starting on twitter #sonyweakbostonstrong. When he threw Boston marathon on there, talk about a little extra sting in the criticism to Sony on this one.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Yeah, me Churchill, you Chamberlain. Let's go to the long term trajectory here. There was a version, a plot point in Hollywood terms, from the president's sort-of hiding, told to hide before the election, and the way he's behaved these last six weeks. You said swagger. It wasn't that kind of faux swagger you got from W, where you wonder where it came from. This seems to be based on a confidence that's come out of his own -- his own inner, what reaction, defiance, the right word? I haven't come to it yet. I am me. I'm going to be me. How do you see it?

CHUCK TODD: My sense is he's decided, I'm through with appeasing Democrats in Washington. because when you think about it, just listen to his answer on Keystone. That's a man who gave an answer on Keystone, who no longer has to worry about Mark Begich, Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor.

When you look at his answer on dealing with Congress and he's sitting there going, you know, the premise of the question, of course, being, do your executive actions make it harder to work with Congress. His mind set is, hey, Congress has to decide how they're going to work with me because I'm going to -- you know, I'm confident they're going to be able to -- that his party is going to be able to uphold vetoes.

So, I think he looks almost -- I had heard this from others close to him, that there was sort of a sense of relief that he didn't have to make all of these decisions, which if you think about the first ten months of 2014, there wasn't a decision announced that didn't have some appeasement that Harry Reid needed to save the Senate. Delaying immigration, timing talks about Keystone. That State of the Union, which was the sort of emptiest State of the Union he had given as far as policies were concerned. They were very light. It was all very light touch. Anything that could unite a Mark Pryor and Bernie Sanders on the same page. And all of a sudden these last six weeks it's like, I don't have to listen to those guys anymore. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are going to complain all they want. I don't have to worry about them anymore because it'd gone anyway.

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