Meet The Press host David Gregory apparently misquoted President Barack Obama while setting up a question to a guest, Think Progress reported Sunday.
“The President has said as recently as May of this year that al Qaeda has not had a chance to rebuild, that al Qaeda has been defeated,” Gregory said to David Plouffe, a senior advisor to the president. “There is an election on, as we’ve been talking about, and the President’s challenger [Republican Mitt Romney] said plain and simple, the President failed to level with the American people and call this a terrorist attack, because you had to be concerned about another terrorist attack from al Qaeda in the Middle East after the President said that al Qaeda had been defeated.”
As Think Progress noted, Gregory’s remarks seem to incorrectly reference a May 1 televised address by Obama from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, but Obama did not say the terrorist group had been beaten.
“One year ago, from a base here in Afghanistan, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden,” Obama said. “The goal that I set — to defeat al Qaeda and deny it a chance to rebuild — is now within our reach.”
Plouffe did not respond to Gregory’s misreading of the president’s remarks, instead focusing on the alleged accusation by Romney, calling it preposterous and offensive.
“This president’s record on terrorism takes a back seat to no one,” Plouffe said. “We obviously took out their number-one leader in Osama bin Laden. The leadership of al Qaeda has been decimated, just as the president promised in 2008.”
Earlier this year, Gregory was criticized for being a keynote speaker at a conservative advocacy group’s conference, though NBC News said he was not paid for his appearance.
Video of Gregory’s exchange with Plouffe, posted on YouTube Sunday by Think Progress, can be seen below.