Williams Urges Obama to Copy Douglas in 'The American President'

Brian Williams revealed Wednesday afternoon that in a question he didn't get to with President Obama the day before, he wanted to ask Obama if he is “ever tempted” to start over again with the stimulus bill “and give a stemwinder combination fireside chat/speech to the nation,” just as did Michael Douglas on "the crime bill” in The American President movie, “and just say, 'look, here's what we got to do. I went wrong. It got loaded up. Now we're going to do the real thing?'”

In that 1995 film (IMDb page), in which Douglas played Democratic President “Andrew Shepherd,” after compromising with Congress, he returns to his left-wing sensibilities and, in the climatic point of the movie cheered by liberal film-goers, walks to the press room where he delivers an impassioned lecture -- which earns affirmative nods from the journalists -- praising the ACLU, pushing for extreme action on global warming and promises, in the portion Williams admired, “to get the guns.” President Shepherd:
The other piece of legislation is the crime bill. As of today it no longer exists. I’m throwing it. I’m throwing it out and writing a law that makes sense. You cannot address crime prevention without getting rid of assault weapons and handguns. I consider them a threat to national security and I will go door-to-door if I have to but I’m going convince Americans that I’m right and I’m going to get the guns.
Williams at about 1:06 PM EST Wednesday during the MSNBC hour anchored by Andrea Mitchell, who, as Williams spoke, could be heard calling The American President her “favorite” movie:
The President apparently, when he had the leadership over, put the staff in the cabinet room, brought the leadership into the Oval Office and said to them, “get the junk out of this bill. Get the junk out of this so we can sell it to the nation as pure stimulus.” Never going to happen, of course, not with 535 people wanting a little something extra in there. But of course, it's very pleasing.

A question I had for him yesterday, and I ran out of time -- it was kind of like pictures with Santa in the Oval Office, you didn't get much time with the big man -- was: “Are you ever tempted,” and this kind of borrows from the Aaron Sorkin's American President with Michael Douglas and the crime bill, “are you ever tempted to scrap it, throw it in the drawer and start again and give a stemwinder combination fireside chat/speech to the nation and just say, 'look, here's what we got to do. I went wrong. It got loaded up. Now we're going to do the real thing?'”
A reprint of my May 24, 1999 MRC CyberAlert item about the movie's liberal plot line:
Monday night at 8:30p ET/PT, 7:30pm CT/MT, CBS will broadcast the 1995 movie The American President. It couldn’t be more timely for liberals with its advocacy of gun control.

Read no further if you plan to watch the movie and don’t want to know the plot ahead of time.

As reported in the May 14 CyberAlert last year, Rob Reiner directed and produced the film starring Michael Douglas as Democratic President "Andrew Shepherd," a widow with a teenage daughter. Just like Clinton sans Hillary. He falls in love with environmental lobbyist "Sydney Ellen Wade," played by Annette Bening. At one point in the Oval Office "Wade" lectures "Shepherd": "Global warming is a calamity, the effects of which will be second only to nuclear war..."

The unmarried President carrying on an affair provides an angle for the Republican candidate for President to attack. The Republican: Senator "Bob Rumson" from Kansas. Sound familiar? Richard Dreyfuss plays "Rumson," an odious man bent on twisting the facts to make character an issue.

Naturally, by the end of the movie the wavering "Shepherd" comes to his senses and becomes a forceful liberal. Motivated by losing "Wade" who is disappointed by his compromises, "Shepherd" goes to the press room and delivers a lecture fulfilling a liberal’s dream, denouncing "Rumson’s" character attack on "Wade" for once having been at a South Africa protest where a U.S. flag was burned, praising the ACLU, advocating huge cuts in emissions to solve the global warming problem and demanding the end of gun ownership. Here are some excerpts:
- Yes, I am a card carrying member of the ACLU, but the more important question is why aren't you Bob? Now this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the bill of rights, so it naturally begs the question why would a Senator, his party's most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the Constitution?

- White House resolution 455, an energy bill requiring a 20 percent reduction in the emission of fossil fuels over the next ten years. It is by far the most aggressive stride ever taken in the fight to reverse the effects of global warming.

- The other piece of legislation is the crime bill. As of today it no longer exists. I’m throwing it. I’m throwing it out and writing a law that makes sense. You cannot address crime prevention without getting rid of assault weapons and handguns. I consider them a threat to national security and I will go door-to-door if I have to but I’m going convince Americans that I’m right and I’m going to get the guns.
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