Brian Williams: Obama First Non 'Choice of Evils' in 'Generations'

Marveling on Monday's Late Show about how people were lining up during the inauguration “to buy merchandise with any depiction” of President Barack Obama, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams expressed his pleasure at seeing so many people “that excited about our new chief executive after a line of what the ordinary voter would maybe describe as bad choices or choices of evils, for years, generations.”

All the Presidents going back for “generations” before Obama were “evil”? Williams likely meant to say past presidential victors were seen as the “lesser of two evils,” but a greater percent of voters cast their ballot for Ronald Reagan in 1984 (58.7%) -- when plenty of Americans outside the media were excited about re-electing that President -- and George Bush in 1988 (53.7%) than chose Obama (52.8%).

Williams soon insisted “none” of his personal excitement over Obama's presidency “is about a party” since, he quite seriously maintained, “none of us have a party in my line of work. We all try to call balls and strikes down the center.” Yet, Williams proceeded to trumpet how “we have a dazzling family in the White House. I don't think they take a bad picture” and tout how Obama “has an enormous brain. He's a hugely capable man.” Then, the “down the center” Williams endorsed Obama's “stimulus” plan: “If we can rebuild the United States, which everybody agrees it needs doing, and put these people to work, use that trillion dollars to help fellow citizens who are going to have it rough in these coming months and years...”

Audio: MP3 clip which matches the video (1:00, 380 Kb)

Seeing the primary role of the federal government is to resolve his driving challenges in Manhattan and speed up his commute to DC, Williams contended: 
We got a Willis Avenue bridge up here in Harlem that shouldn't be anywhere in our nation. It's an embarrassment. East River Drive, West Side Highway, La Guardia airport, and then go West. The Acela high-speed train slows down to 25 miles an hour to go through a rickety, leaking old tunnel in Baltimore. That's the best rail system we've got. We can't have that. So there's no shortage of things to do from East Coast to West. If we can rebuild the United States, which everybody agrees it needs doing, and put these people to work, use that trillion dollars to help fellow citizens who are going to have it rough in these coming months and years, that's what they're talking about in Washington.
As for the New York City roadways and bridges, they are in a city and a state controlled by liberal Democrats with big spending governments, so why aren't their roads and bridges the best in the nation?

Williams did at least resist taking Letterman's bait when Letterman blamed the “bereft” Bush administration for all the problems Obama must fix.

From the Monday, January 26 Late Show with David Letterman on CBS; closed-captioning corrected against the video by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
DAVID LETTERMAN: Paint for us the word picture about the inauguration. It was something for the ages.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: It was stunning. I happen to think it was the largest crowd ever assembled in Washington.

LETTERMAN: We’re talking about three million people in the streets there at the mall.

WILLIAMS: For a public event. It was absolutely stunning. People with tears in their eyes. Dave, people lining up, and this is something I just can't wrap my arms around, to buy merchandise with any depiction  -- this is a guy we just elected President. It's not a rock star or an athlete or an actor. This is our President. To see people, whatever your politics, that excited about our new chief executive after a line of what the ordinary voter would maybe describe as bad choices or choices of evils, for years, generations. [audience laughter] It is unbelievable to me. And, again, this is absent politics. This has to do with history and excitement. As events go, it was a stunner.

...

WILLIAMS: I’d like to say something because, you know, people were in tears on the air on Inauguration Day. My friend Juan Williams works for Fox News. It’s impossible to watch the clip of Juan without crying yourself. None of this is about a party. None of us have a party in my line of work. We all try to call balls and strikes down the center. But we have seen an extraordinary thing that our country has just done. We have a dazzling family in the White House. I don't think they take a bad picture.

....

LETTERMAN: The symbolic import of this is not lost on anyone. But another part of the thing which is great, we actually have a guy who might be able to live up to this incredible challenge.

WILLIAMS: I think regarding temperament and training, intellectual vigor, this guy is a, is an, has an enormous brain. He's a hugely capable man. He's going to need everybody's help, though. When he says it's time to put away childish things, you can read all sorts of tangents in that one sentence in his inaugural address. I think it's time for eyes on the ball. As I always say, we got a Willis Avenue bridge up here in Harlem that shouldn't be anywhere in our nation. It's an embarrassment. East River Drive, West Side Highway, La Guardia airport, and then go west. The Acela high-speed train slows down to 25 miles an hour to go through a rickety, leaking old tunnel in Baltimore. That’s the best rail system we've got. We can't have that. So there’s no shortage of things to do from East Coast to West. If we can rebuild the United States, which everybody agrees it needs doing, and put these people to work, use that trillion dollars to help fellow citizens who are going to have it rough in these coming months and years, that's what they’re talking about in Washington. The Republicans just want accountability.
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