'Mystique' Means 'Audacity of Hope' Has 'Rendezvous with Destiny'

The broadcast network anchors and reporters were almost as giddy as Barack Obama over liberal Democrat Ted Kennedy's endorsement of the presidential candidate. ABC, CBS and NBC all led Monday night with it and ABC's David Wright adopted campaign slogans as he enthused about how “today the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny. The Kennedy clan anointed Barack Obama a son of Camelot.” CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric teased, “Passing the torch: Barack Obama is tapped as the candidate to continue the Kennedy legacy.” NBC's Lee Cowan, who earlier this month conceded “it's almost hard to remain objective” when covering Obama, showed he also has a soft spot for the Kennedys as he radiated over how “the endorsement brought the Kennedy mystique to this campaign, not in a whisper, but a roar. Viewers then got a soundbite of Kennedy yelling during the event at American University.

[UPDATED with Nightline, 1:05 AM EST: With “New Son of Camelot” on screen over video of Obama and Ted Kennedy, anchor Terry Moran trumpeted the “new son of Camelot. Ted and Caroline Kennedy pass the torch to Barack Obama to carry the legacy of JFK.” Moran soon hailed how “the political world was transfixed by the spectacle of the most powerful Democratic family of the 20th century christening a new torch bearer for the 21st.” David Wright repeated his “the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny” line before championing the “merging ideals from two different eras” as “Obama is now an adopted son of Camelot.”]

Seemingly relaying the perspective of the press corps more than the public at large, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams led by contending: “It's been 45 years since a Kennedy has been in the White House, and yet because of the American fascination with the family name, and the family business of politics, the Kennedy name still has the power to grab the attention of millions of Americans.”

Jeff Greenfield's CBS Evening News story was the most restrained of the three networks and only CBS limited itself to just one story on the endorsement. ABC's World News featured a brief interview with Ted and Caroline Kennedy about why they picked Obama.

Though all but CBS aired multiple segments on the Kennedy endorsement of Obama, none found time to mention the arrest order issued Monday for Tony Rezko, a big Obama donor up on charges of fraud, extortion and money laundering. “Indicted Obama Fundraiser's Bond Revoked,” read the headline over a Monday afternoon AP dispatch, which began:

CHICAGO -- A judge revoked the $2 million bond Monday for indicted businessman Antoin "Tony" Rezko, who has raised thousands of dollars for Barack Obama and Illinois politicians.

U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve said she grew concerned after learning Rezko received $3.5 million from a company in Lebanon; he had claimed that he had no income. St. Eve said she feared Rezko could be a flight risk.

The real estate developer and fast food magnate was arrested Monday morning at his home in suburban Wilmette. At an afternoon hearing, the judge ordered him into custody and scheduled a Tuesday hearing where Rezko's attorneys will attempt to get bond reinstated.

Rezko has pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, attempted extortion and money laundering, and is scheduled to stand trial Feb. 25. He is accused of pressuring businesses seeking work before two state regulatory boards to make campaign contributions and payoffs.

Rezko had long been a fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich and for Obama, the presidential candidate and senator from Illinois. Neither Democrat has been accused of wrongdoing in the case...

Some snips from the Monday, January 28 evening newscast excitement in the shows all done from Washington, DC since the anchors were in town to visit the White House before the State of the Union address:

# ABC's World News, Charles Gibson teased: “Two generations of Kennedys give Obama a rousing endorsement...”

DAVID WRIGHT BEGAN HIS LEAD STORY:

Today they gathered by the thousands at American University, sensing a moment of history. John F. Kennedy gave the commencement address here five months before he was shot. And today the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny. The Kennedy clan anointed Barack Obama a son of Camelot...[last phrase over video of President Kennedy holding his son John Jr.]

# NEW, 1:05 AM EST, ABC's Nightline:

TERRY MORAN:

Tonight on Nightline, new son of Camelot. Ted and Caroline Kennedy pass the torch to Barack Obama to carry the legacy of JFK...

Good evening, everyone. I'm Terry Moran. And tonight, on a night when the President gave his final State of the Union address, he was overshadowed. The political world was transfixed by the spectacle of the most powerful Democratic family of the 20th century christening a new torch bearer for the 21st...

DAVID WRIGHT:

Today, the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny. No mere endorsement this, more like a political anointment from the Kennedys, merging ideals from two different eras....

Obama is now an adopted son of Camelot. His candidacy blessed not just by the Lion of the Senate, patriarch of the clan, but by JFK's daughter.

# CBS Evening News, Katie Couric teased: “Passing the torch. Barack Obama is tapped as the candidate to continue the Kennedy legacy.”

# NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams teased: “Passing the torch: Tonight Barack Obama gets an endorsement Hillary Clinton wanted badly, but will it translate to votes?”

WILLIAMS LED:

It's been 45 years since a Kennedy has been in the White House, and yet because of the American fascination with the family name, and the family business of politics, the Kennedy name still has the power to grab the attention of millions of Americans...
WITH “CAMELOT EFFECT?” ON SCREEN, LEE COWAN ASSERTED:
Of all the memorable images of this campaign, Barack Obama has never had a moment quite like this: Two generations of Kennedys, the standard-bearers of the best-know political name in Washington, standing behind one young Senator from Illinois....The endorsement brought the Kennedy mystique to this campaign, not in a whisper, but a roar.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center