Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," invited on Dan Rather to remember Walter Cronkite and the former CBS News anchor – famously fired for letting his bias spiral out of control during the George W. Bush National Guard story – called Cronkite "a straight news reporter," and claimed Cronkite advised him and others at CBS News to "Tell it straight without fear or favoritism. Pull no punches. Say it like it is, insofar as is humanly possible. Keep your own prejudices and biases and feelings and emotions out of it."
After playing an old 1996 clip from an interview with Cronkite from his CNBC show, in which Cronkite admits to being a liberal, Matthews asked Rather to comment, to which Rather hailed that Cronkite: "Stood for, the beacon he sent out was, 'Straight news reporting. Whatever your political persuasions are, however anyone wants to label you, get to the story, tell the story as straight as you can and the American public will understand.'" [audio available here]
The following exchange was aired on the July 20 edition of "Hardball":
Leave it to Chris Matthews, a former speechwriter to Jimmy Carter, to actually commemorate the 30th anniversary of the former president's infamous "malaise" speech. On Wednesday's "Hardball," Matthews invited on his former bosses from the Carter White House, former speechwriter and now New Yorker senior editor Hendrick Hertzberg and former aide Gerald Rafshoon to mark the event and claim that Carter was vindicated by history as Matthews proudly asserted Carter was "Dead on," about "putting on a sweater, lowering the thermostat," to solve the energy crisis. And Hertzberg did Matthews one better by proclaiming Carter a "prophet."
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Rick it seems to me Carter was dead on, on the need for energy sufficiency and dealing with the energy conservation. Putting on a sweater, lowering the thermostat. All of those things made sense. He was right about the problem of nuclear proliferation. Of arms getting to countries like Iran. He's way ahead of his time on that. And also his concern for human rights. Right? So he was right, but?
Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's "Hardball," invited on HBO's Bill Maher to mock GOP criticism of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as Maher accused them of being "racist," and Matthews marveled at how Republicans can admire Sarah Palin but not someone who worked as hard as Sotomayor to achieve her position, as he pondered: "Why do they like somebody who's shown no sweat equity against somebody who's shown nothing but sweat equity?"
Before discussing Republican treatment of Sotomayor Matthews asked Maher to rate the audiences that come to see him in the South. Maher, not surprisingly, belittled most of the region, saying the ones that do come to his shows are the minority as they are "marbled in and surrounded by a bunch of hillbillies and rednecks." To which Matthews rejoined: "Isn't it refreshing to meet Southern liberals? Because the great thing about Southern liberals is they don't, they're not competing for the latest nuance of sexual freedom like in Greenwich Village. They are liberals, meaning they're, they're for black equality for example. Things like that, that are pretty nice and wholesome." [audio available here]
Not long after that slam against non-liberal Southerners, Maher threw out the charge of Republican racism:
NBC's Ann Curry, on Tuesday's "Today" show depicted a political minefield for those Republicans who dare to challenge Sonia Sotomayor during her hearings. The co-anchor, in a 9am half-hour news brief sketched out the arduous task the GOP senators have in front of them as they attempt to avoid "offending women and Hispanics," in their questioning of the Supreme Court nominee.
The following was aired on the July 14 edition of the "Today" show:
Over the weekend, on his syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," Chris Matthews asked his media panel if Barack Obama was governing as "more clearly a radical like FDR was, or more like a true conservative?" The latter part of the question -- the rather absurd proposition of Obama being a conservative -- actually drew a couple of affirmatives from the panel.
The USA Today's Joan Biskupic responded she thought the President was being more conservative, at least in his judicial nods, "If you look at what he's doing, not just with his Supreme Court choice but his appeals court choices. None of them have really caused a big problem. You probably couldn't name one of those appellate judges off the top of your head. They're sort of middle-of-the-road folks. Not taking a page from Ronald Reagan in terms of seeking lightning rods."
In yet another moment of Obama puffery the "Today" show highlighted a hotel dedicated to Barack Obama. During a segment headlined: "Hotel Obama, Small Country Goes Wild For President," NBC's Mara Schiavocampo, on Friday's "Today," showcased a new hotel in Ghana named after the President that is run by a former campaign worker and joined her as she took viewers on a room-by-room tour devoted to places and people important in Obama's life history [audio excerpt available here]:
MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO: It's run by Ghanaian-American Coretta Owusu, whose father owns the business. She worked for this Obama during the campaign and then moved to Ghana to work for this one. It's a budget conscious hotel featuring 18 themed rooms priced at $60 to $100.
CORETTA OWUSU, HOTEL MANAGER: And this room is the Obama suite. Most people stay here if they come for a special occasion or they're coming with their family. Well we have Michelle Obama right next to Barack Obama. Across from Obama it's Joe Biden's room.
Previewing Barack Obama's trip to Italy for the G8 summit, on Wednesday's "Today" show, NBC's Matt Lauer asked Savannah Guthrie what kind of reaction the President will receive as Lauer noted the President got a "chilly reception" in Russia. Guthrie responded that "It was a real contrast," because she is used to seeing, "really swooning Europeans who are very excited about Mr. Obama." [audio excerpt here]
MATT LAUER: And, and what kind of reception will the President receive from the Italian people? We all know that it was a rather chilly reception when he went to Russia the other day.
Chris Matthews, on his syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," over the weekend, wondered if the Mark Sanford scandal will make the GOP a more tolerant party as he asked his panel: "Have Republicans finally embarrassed themselves out of calling themselves the family values party?"
His guest panel, for the most part, agreed with the premise as Dan Rather opined: "The Republican Party was already in the process of trying to make a bigger tent with more tolerance. This will, in some ways, help that movement." The New York Times' Helen Cooper admonished: "I think the one thing the Republican Party probably learned this week is that, you know, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."
NBC's Matt Lauer, at the top of Thursday’s "Today" show, was careful to note the party affiliation of Mark Sanford as he announced "The political future of South Carolina's governor Mark Sanford, a once-rising star in the Republican Party, is very much in doubt." However when he invited on former Democratic New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey – who resigned after admitting an affair with a gay man who he appointed to office – to discuss the story, he never mentioned McGreevey was a Democrat.
After a set-up piece by Mark Potter, Lauer interviewed McGreevey and asked him the ex-governor, "If it comes out that the governor used taxpayer money to go to Argentina on one or more occasions, does that complicate the issue? And, and would that make it more difficult for him to survive in office?" Interestingly Lauer failed to mention the fact that this was one of the reasons that forced McGreevey to step down.
The following are the relevant teasers and then full segment as they were aired on the June 25, "Today" show:
Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," mocked Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio for pondering, on his Twitter page, that the "situation in Iran would be a little different if they had a 2nd Amendment like ours." Matthews, completely missing the point that our Founding Fathers understood that it is much harder to repress a free people that is armed, derided Rubio in the "Sideshow" portion of his June 22 show:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Next up, a reminder to think before you hit the "send" button. You've all seen what's happening in the streets of Tehran. How people are getting beaten, getting hit with tear gas, getting shot. Take a look at what Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio of Florida posted on his Twitter page after watching those scenes that we've been watching.
Introducing Howard Dean, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews indirectly compared Barack Obama to Jesus Christ as he introduced the former head of the DNC and 2004 presidential candidate as "the man who really laid out the path for Barack Obama. He was the St. John the Baptist...leading for that fellow." In the Christian faith St. John the Baptist is considered to be the precursor to Jesus Christ, so in Matthews' metaphor of Democratic presidential politics that would have to make Obama, Jesus. [audio available here]
For his part Dean, justifiably, appeared uncomfortable with the comparison, as he appreciated Matthews' promise to "not make any further reference there to the Deity." After that awkward introduction Matthews, in the ensuing segment, went on to call Republicans like John McCain, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney "imbeciles" for their various criticisms of Obama, as he continued his "idiot button" routine that he began on Tuesday's show.
The following exchanges were aired on the June 17 edition of "Hardball":
The common, everyday act of swatting a bug is something that happens countless times a day at picnics and ball games across the country, especially during the summer, but when Barack Obama was caught on tape by CNBC's cameras doing it, the fawning liberal press couldn't contain their excitement. All three broadcast network morning shows, on Wednesday, praised the presidential kill as they were impressed by the "ninja" Obama's "precision," and "cat-like quickness."[audio available here]
On NBC's "Today" show substitute-host David Gregory opened the show declaring: "You just have to appreciate the, the concentration and the precision! Just a few things going on in the world but it's as if everything was stopped and at a standstill for the President to lower the boom." On CBS' "The Early Show," Chris Wragge marveled: "We've also just confirmed the President is a Ninja." And on ABC's "Good Morning America," they even brought out the Telestrator to break down the video as Chris Cuomo offered play-by-play: "You see? He stares at the fly. How many times have each of us tried to do this? Look at the hand coming up. The poise. The cupping. And the quick slap...Just knocked it away, very rare."
The following exchanges were aired on the June 17 editions of NBC's "Today" show, ABC's "Good Morning America" and CBS's "The Early Show":
An outraged Chris Matthews scolded John McCain, on Tuesday's "Hardball," for criticizing Obama's stance on Iran's elections as the MSNBC host exclaimed: "The difference between the President, who is being very calm and not jumping up and down, and those on the right who are hitting the idiot button right now. And the idiot button is the one often pushed by Sarah Palin,but this week by John McCain and others." Matthews -- who also mocked Sarah Palin for praising the troops in her acceptance of David Letterman's apology -- attacked conservatives in general for engaging in "idiot talk."
MATTHEWS: Okay yeah, let me try to get to your left, let me try to get to your left Lawrence because I feel like getting over there tonight. Snuggling over to your left Lawrence O'Donnell because I disagree with you. I think there's become, there's become this new idiot button on the right where you have to punch this button in order to be considered a real conservative now. "Obama is a socialist on health care. He's a socialist. All his fiscal programs are insanely socialistic." You have to punch that button. Then you gotta say this [Iran] election was "bogus." You gotta punch that button. If you don't talk in that, that right wing, idiot talk you're not considered a conservative any more. The idea of being a thoughtful person is wrong now, politically, on that side of the aisle. That's where I think it's going. [audio available here]
The following exchanges were aired during the June 16 edition of "Hardball":
Yesterday Chris Matthews invited on Salon.com's Editor in Chief Joan Walsh to link the Holocaust Museum shooter to Rush Limbaugh but it was the "Hardball" host himself, on Thursday's show, who connected Sarah Palin to James von Brunn as he wondered if the Alaska Governor was "getting very close to the edge," of the same "attitude" of the "far right," and questioned "Is she talking their language?" [audio available here]
After playing a clip of Palin expressing her concern that the federal government could get more involved in the running of the states, something any governor of a state would rightfully be worried about, Matthews asked his guest, terrorism expert Roger Cressey: "What do you make of that comment Roger? What does that say to some of the nut cases on the right? The far right? The nuts? What is, is she talking their language? Not saying she's triggering them. But is she talking the language of, of paranoia?"
The following is the full exchange as it was aired on the June 11, "Hardball":
Salon.com Editor-in-Chief Joan Walsh, on Wednesday night's "Hardball," cited "conservatives" like Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and Bill O’Reilly for "whipping up" a climate that sparks the likes of alleged Holocaust Museum shooter James Von Brunn and "Hardball" host Chris Matthews wondered if access to guns were to blame for the tragedy as he cried, "It's easier to get your hands on a gun than to get somebody to make you a waffle." Blaming Limbaugh while insisting she was not, Walsh charged:
There is a very disturbing and disturbed element of political discourse. And I would, I would throw in Rush Limbaugh. Not blaming him, but when you say that our President is more dangerous than al-Qaeda you've gone off into crazy nut job land. You are off the charts crazy. And you are, you are whipping people up.
Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," was outraged at the RNC's criticism of the Obamas wasting taxpayer money to go see a Broadway play as he railed that it was a "jealous, pathetic swipe at the First Couple," and remarked "What a jealous, little political party the Republicans have become." Matthews also took a shot at former President George W. Bush as he contrasted Obama's tastes with Bush's as he claimed the problem he and others had with Bush was his, "Utter disdain for any kind of thought or culture. His total lack of curiosity toward anything beyond his own backyard." Matthews then questioned if the GOP attack was made out of "jealousy or simple nincompoop anti-intellectualism?"
MATTHEWS: Well let's get this straight. President Bush's jaunts to Crawford, Texas were okay by their lights, but President Obama's day trips to New York are cause for outrage? This is the kind of pissant criticism that makes you wonder why Michael Steele still has his job. Is this jealousy or simple nincompoop anti-intellectualism? Whatever it is I like having a president who takes his wife up to Broadway. [audio available here]
The following are all of Matthews' teasers and then his anti-RNC rant as it occurred during the "Sideshow," segment of his June 1, edition of "Hardball":
NBC's Lee Cowan, on Thursday's "Today" show, giddily highlighted new found photos taken of Barack Obama when he was a freshman at Occidental College and even cooed at a shot of him sitting on an old Goodwill couch, "Humble beginnings!" Cowan interviewed Obama's old college classmate Lisa Jack who took the photographs, because she claimed she was told to get pictures of the then freshman because he "definitely had personality," and added, "He was cute. I mean look at him."
The following Obama puff piece was aired on the May 28, "Today" show:
NATALIE MORALES: Well the President, President Barack Obama is one of the most photographed people in the world but it's never before seen pictures of the President, before he was famous, that are turning heads these days. NBC's Lee Cowan has that story.
After playing a clip of Rush Limbaugh charging Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor with bigotry and racism, Chris Matthews, on Wednesday's "Hardball," implied Limbaugh was the racist as he asked a guest panelist Jeanne Cummings of the Politico, "Is this the pot calling the kettle black?" To which Cummings responded that the radio talk show host was going to "chase," all the Hispanics away from the GOP:
Well all I know is it's the worst nightmare for the Republicans, I mean they're trying to calculate whether they should vote against her, how aggressively they should try to sort through her record and challenge her during hearings. And with things like that, and all that calculation to try to keep Hispanic support, even as small as it's gotten for Republicans. Rush Limbaugh can chase ‘em all away in an afternoon with that kind of talk." [audio available here]
The following is the full segment as it was aired on the May 27 edition of "Hardball":
NBC's Matt Lauer, on Wednesday's "Today" show greeted viewers with the following teaser: "Good morning, Supreme showdown. Republicans gear up for a fight over President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the nation's highest court," and then asked the racially loaded question: "But will taking on the first Hispanic nominee cost them down the road?" Lauer and other "Today" correspondents repeatedly questioned if Republican opposition to Sotomayor would cost them Hispanic votes in upcoming elections. However no one on "Today" mentioned it was Democrats, back in 2003, as the MRC's Tim Graham pointed out, who opposed the nomination, by Republican President George W. Bush of Miguel Estrada at the circuit court level.
Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's "Hardball," couldn't contain his excitement over Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor as he brought on David Axelrod to praise, to the White House advisor's face, the rollout of the Supreme Court nominee as he cheered, "It was a brilliant piece of work....it couldn’t have been done any better," and then later gushed that Barack Obama, "Wowed us!" with the pick. Matthews also claimed the only opposition to Sotomayor was made up of the "crazies," and "whack jobs," like Rush Limbaugh as Matthews told Axelrod "The only critics of this nomination with any kind of violence are that R.N.C crowd: Rush, Newt and...Cheney."
The following exchanges were aired on the May 26 edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS TO AXELROD: You know since you fellows came to the White House I've been looking at the patterns, the, the team of rivals aspect of bringing Senator Clinton aboard as Secretary of State. The, sort of, the Reagan model of getting things done as quickly as you can because you only have so much mandate. And then I've looked at the Chicago model, which is to act as if there's only one governing party and then basically do warfare with the crazies out there,
While NBC's Matt Lauer, Pete Williams and Chuck Todd all appropriately applied the liberal label to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, on Tuesday's "Today" show, Lauer did try to sell the concept, advanced by the Washington Post, that Sotomayor wouldn't be "reflexively liberal."
MATT LAUER: Right, however in the Washington Post, back in May Pete, when writing about her judicial philosophy they said this, quote, "Sotomayor would probably be a reliably liberal vote on the Court, split into conservative and liberal blocks, on many issues, but her friends and colleagues and former clerks say, she would not be reflexively liberal or results oriented but would adhere to the law and the Constitution." We talking about a fine line there?
The following is a full transcript of the segment as it occurred on the May 26 edition of the "Today" show:
MATT LAUER: NBC News has learned that President Obama has tapped federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor as his first nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. We'll get more on this right now from NBC's chief justice correspondent Pete Williams. Pete, good morning, what can you tell me.
When NBC's "Today" show, on Wednesday, devoted an entire segment asking the question "How Should the GOP Battle Back?" who did they turn to, to offer strategic advice? Leftist Nation editor/publisher Katrina Vanden Heuvel and self-described "moderate" radio talk show host Michael Smerconish. What? Was Meghan McCain not available? Not surprisingly neither guest suggested the Republican Party should be consistent in expressing and acting on conservative principles as Vanden Heuvel railed:
NBC's Matt Lauer and Al Roker, on Tuesday's "Today" show, revealed they enjoyed a "nice" evening at the theater last night, in the presence of Michelle Obama, as she "dazzled New York City for a second time," when she visited the Metropolitan Opera House. After an Amy Robach piece that celebrated Mrs. Obama's return to the Big Apple, Roker and Lauer bragged that they too were in attendance at the American Ballet Theater Spring Gala, along with the First Lady, as Roker gushed: "It was fantastic!"
For her part Robach joined in the Obama family myth-making as she cheered, "Everyone takes notice when the First Lady is out on the town here in the Big Apple and Monday was no exception." Robach, in her piece, even included several soundbites from a delighted New York Times' Jodi Kantor who enthused: "You look at the kind of parties that the Met hosts and if you look at the top ballet galas in New York they always have big celebrities there, but Mrs. Obama is a different order of magnitude."
Chris Matthews, on the syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show" over the weekend, likened Dick Cheney's recent media appearances, to defend the Bush administration and to criticize Obama on national security policy, to Glenn Close's stalker character from the 1987 film "Fatal Attraction." Before playing a clip of the movie Matthews made the cinematic comparison: "Well some say Cheney's refusal to move on reminds them of Groundhog Day but you could also say it's like that more frighteningly relentless Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction.' Like Cheney she was not gonna be ignored." After playing the clip in which the Close character utters the famous quote, "I'm not gonna be ignored, Dan." Matthews then threw it to Newsweek's Howard Fineman:
MATTHEWS: Howard what do you think? Cheney? "Fatal Attraction?" What do make? Will not be ignored, this guy.
HOWARD FINEMAN, NEWSWEEK: Ha, ha. Yeah, yeah I don't think he's going to boil the rabbit. Let's put it that way.
MATTHEWS: Or come out of that bathtub like that other scene in that movie! Everybody is gonna go see Fatal Attraction again.
The following is the full exchange as it was aired on the May 17 edition of "The Chris Matthews Show":
Chris Matthews, on Wednesday's "Hardball," mocked a plan by the RNC to cast Democrats as the Democrat Socialist Party, as "schoolyard," and sarcastically sneered "Boy they're going places with that one." However it was Matthews who spent the entirety of his show engaging in "schoolyard," insults himself as he compared Dick Cheney to a "troll," claimed Pat Buchanan once represented the "Neanderthal" wing of the GOP and thought the idea of Sarah Palin penning a book was laughable.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Plus Sarah Palin – now don't laugh – is writing a book. Not just reading a book, writing a book. Actually in the word of the publisher she's "collaborating" on a book. I love the way that sounds. Does that mean she answers questions of the writer and then the writer writes the book? I guess the reason to have someone to write a book for you and claim it's your book is to get to do a nationwide book tour and act the part of a, of an author yourself. Well she's not the first person to pull that number. Sarah Palin - author! In tonight's Politics Fix...What is Sarah Palin up to?....She's got this book deal, she obviously is not gonna write it. They've already announced somebody is, she's gonna collaborate on it. What an embarrassment! It's one of these "I told you," books that jocks do. You know she's already declared, I mean, why they do it like this? "She can't write, we got a collaborator for her."
David Shuster, substitute hosting for Chris Matthews on Tuesday's "Hardball," absurdly asserted that Dick Cheney "didn't know" about al-Qaeda before 9/11. After playing a clip of the former Vice President on "Face the Nation" stating that "On the morning of 9/12...there was a great deal we didn't know about al-Qaeda," Shuster ignored the "great deal," qualifier and insisted to his guests that somehow Cheney was clueless about the threat of the terrorist organization prior to 9/11. Shuster's guest, former Cheney aide Ron Christie, corrected Shuster, pointing out "that's one snippet taken out of context...Of course we knew about al-Qaeda," but that didn't stop Shuster from pressing his case as he claimed Cheney approved "torture," because he didn't know about al-Qaeda.
The following exchange was aired on the May 12 edition of "Hardball":
Chris Matthews asked his panel of reporters, on this weekend's syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," to offer their prescriptions on how the GOP, in the wake of the Arlen Specter departure, can regain its popularity to which most of the liberal reporters like Joe Klein and Howard Fineman suggested they needed to abandon their "cut taxes, shrink government," message and some of their "trollish"spokesmen like Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich because they're turning off families, women and "people who think that caring matters."[audio available here]
First up Time magazine's Joe Klein suggested the GOP should moderate on health care because it would finally make them, "look sane!" and "bring them into...the mainstream of American politics." Then Newsweek's Fineman charged it was the conservative message of "cut taxes, shrink," government that was the problem: "But it doesn't sell with, with people outside of their base demographic which are white males. There's something about that message that turns off families, that turns off women, that turns off people who think that caring matters about other-, I know that this sounds silly, but caring about other people." And finally Matthews went further saying it's not just the GOP's message but it's messengers who are the problem: "Can you, can you, can they get past the cacophony of Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich? These are sort of trollish figures. These aren't the caring people, are they?"
The following exchange occurred on the May 3 edition of "The Chris Matthews Show":
In a piece that could've been crafted by Hillary Clinton's PR shop, NBC's Andrea Mitchell, on Monday's "Today" show, gushed on and on about the Secretary of State's new "role of a lifetime," as a "a foreign policy superstar," and cheered Clinton has the "highest approval ratings of any time in her career."
Mitchell's theme throughout her story was that the "anger of the primaries," between Clinton and Barack Obama was long gone and that in her role of Secretary of State she has proven to be a "key asset to Team Obama," as "Today" co-anchor Matt Lauer observed in the intro. There wasn't a hint of skepticism or negative note in the story as Mitchell threw in soundbites from John Podesta, Joe Klein and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin who chimed: "She seems to be really enjoying herself, as does he."
The following is a complete transcript of the segment as it was aired on the May 4, "Today" show:
On Wednesday's "Today" show, NBC's Chuck Todd called the decision of Arlen Specter – a Republican senator who has such a liberal voting record and has been such a constant-thorn-in-the-side of his party that he faced probable defeat in his own primary – to leave the GOP, "devastating." In a piece about Barack Obama's first 100 days that trumpeted his own network's new poll showing high ratings for Obama, Todd buried the GOP: "But for the Republican Party it's devastating, not just to their hopes of slowing President Obama's agenda in Congress but for what it says about the future of the GOP."
Todd then aired a sound bite from a Philadelphia area radio talk show host Michael Smerconish who advised the best way for the GOP to win seats was to "clone" Specter.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, AUTHOR, MORNING DRIVE: The Republican Party in the aftermath of the presidential race should have come to him and tried to clone him. They need more Arlen Specters. And instead they deride him as a R.I.N.O - Republican In Name Only.
The following is the full segment as it was aired on the April 29, "Today" show:
Introducing a segment, on Thursday's "Today" show, featuring Time magazine's photos of the President from his first 100 days, NBC's Matt Lauer, over a shot of Obama in Oval Office, marveled that the stills were "captivating." In an ensuing segment Lauer's colleague, Meredith Vieira asked the easily impressed Time photographer Callie Shell how Obama was "handling" the job, to which Shell cooed: "I think he does very well," and "He reads each night, at least 10 letters from 10 different people...and he answers them, usually the next day."
The following is Matt Lauer's tease and then the full segment as it was aired on the April 23, "Today" show: