Chuck Todd stops in Murray to talk politics

Even though Lovett Auditorium on Murray State’s campus was nearly full, it was still a much smaller audience than Chuck Todd is used to. As Moderator of NBC’s Meet The Press, he’s used to having thousand hear him talk. Yet, despite the size of the crowd, Todd is comfortable with conversations.

He isn’t afraid to address any elephants in the room as he opened his discussion with acknowledging how important it is for him to get every fact correct. The crowd laughed at the reference to his colleague and co-worker, Brian Williams getting suspended, but earlier in the day, Todd talked more frankly in front of media members about the networks decision and the fallout.

“Brian is my friend and I felt as if the network found the right balance between accountability, sending the message to everyone who works in the company, and to the world that we take truthfulness seriously,” he said. “I know we all have to rebuild that trust, but I’d like to think the decisions our leaders made in this respect should be seen as a step in the right direction.”

While Todd can talk about a range of topics, he’s clearly at home candidly discussing candidates and politics. He said he loves Kentucky because Kentucky loves politics.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, he said, is a serious candidate for the republican party in the 2016 Presidential race and when asked how serious, he said he would put him in his “final four”.

As the next race heats up, Todd has reflected on his role on the previous race between Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mitch McConnell. At the time, Todd said Grimes should be “disqualified” for not answering the question about who she voted for. He was then used in a political ad created by McConnell’s camp.

“I wish I would have worded it a little less bluntly,” he said. “I think that moment was a disqualifying moment for some voters. I don’t take back my analysis. I certainly could have worded it with more detail, shall we say?”

It’s these kinds of “viral moments” he thinks threaten the future of public politics. He said many candidates are now so afraid of social media spotlight, they are over protecting themselves and ruining real conversations. He said things won’t change until voters reward the candidate who is the most accessible and the most candid.

He talked about how he has to cut through political speaking points to get to the real points and how sometimes that doesn’t work. He said he thinks it’s sad that most people accept that politicians lie, but encouraging that members of the media are still held in the high standard that they must tell the truth.

“Because if we’re not, then how do they trust us to ask questions?” he asked.

Todd was invited to Murray State as part of the Presidential Lecture series.

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