NBC's Mitchell Tells 'Internet Writers' to Take 'a Breath'

NBC's Andrea Mitchell scolded Matt Drudge and other "Internet writers" for making much ado about nothing over Michelle Obama's "If you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House," slam of Hillary Clinton. On the Wednesday "Today" show, Mitchell ran the aforementioned quote from Sen. Barack Obama's wife and then proceeded to wag her finger at Drudge and other "Internet writers" everywhere:

Mitchell: "But this time her words caught the attention of a Chicago Sun-Times columnist who said, 'It could be interpreted as a swipe at the Clintons.' And before you could say Drudge Report, the story was an Internet headline: 'Obama Wife Slams Hillary.' When reporters raised it with Barack Obama, on a conference call, he tried to point out his wife was talking about her own family, not the Clintons."

Later in the piece Mitchell, who has a history of looking down her nose at those outside of the MSM, brought on Chuck Todd as he and Mitchell essentially told bloggers to simmer down:

Mitchell: "In fact, if the Internet writers took a deep breath they might have listened to Michelle Obama's entire thought."

Michelle Obama: "We've adjusted our schedule to make sure that our girls are first. So while he's traveling around I do day trips. That means I get up in the morning, I get the girls ready, I get them off. I go and do trips. I'm home before bedtime. So the girls know that I was gone somewhere but they don't care."

Mitchell: "It's a lesson in how quickly things can be interpreted and misinterpreted online."

Chuck Todd, NBC News Political Director: "This is the Youtube election for a reason and that is you can take a sound bite and cut it off and splash it on Youtube and suddenly create a new version of a story."

The following is the full Mitchell piece as it occurred in the 7am half-hour of the August 22, "Today" show:

Matt Lauer: "Now to Decision 2008. The candidates' spouses have played a big role in the campaign so far and now some people are wondering if Barack Obama's wife, recently, took a very subtle swipe at the Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton. NBC's Andrea Mitchell has more on that story. Andrea, good morning to you."

[On screen headline: "Family Values, Did Obama's Wife Slam Clinton?"]

Andrea Mitchell: "Well good morning, Matt. It did have all the makings of a sexy, political story. Was the wife of Hillary Clinton's chief challenger, slyly hinting at past well-known problems in the Clinton marriage? Except that from all accounts, the so-called personal attack may be chiefly in the eye of the beholder. She is Barack Obama's secret weapon. In her standard stump speech, confiding how she and her husband balance their family life with the rigors of a presidential campaign. As in this Iowa stop last week, she frequently delivers a folksy lesson in Obama family values."

Michelle Obama: "Anybody want a lemonade?"

Barack Obama: "Who wants a lemonade?"

Michelle Obama: "Our view is that if you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House."

Mitchell: "It's a line she used four days earlier in Chicago."

Michelle Obama: "And my view is that if you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House."

Mitchell: "But this time her words caught the attention of a Chicago Sun-Times columnist who said, 'It could be interpreted as a swipe at the Clintons.' And before you could say Drudge Report, the story was an Internet headline: 'Obama Wife Slams Hillary.' When reporters raised it with Barack Obama, on a conference call, he tried to point out his wife was talking about her own family, not the Clintons."

Barack Obama: "She wasn't making any reference to that. I think this is, you know, if anybody who's been listening to Michelle on the stump, has talked about the importance of family and the need for our family to make sure that we're thinking about our kids during the process of this campaign. And, you know, she's repeated that on, in every stump speech."

Mitchell: "In fact, if the Internet writers took a deep breath they might have listened to Michelle Obama's entire thought."

Michelle Obama: "We've adjusted our schedule to make sure that our girls are first. So while he's traveling around I do day trips. That means I get up in the morning, I get the girls ready, I get them off. I go and do trips. I'm home before bedtime. So the girls know that I was gone somewhere but they don't care."

Mitchell: "It's a lesson in how quickly things can be interpreted and misinterpreted online."

Chuck Todd: "This is the Youtube election for a reason and that is you can take a sound bite and cut it off and splash it on Youtube and suddenly create a new version of a story."

Mitchell: "A spokesman for Obama told NBC News there was no intentional slight, saying, Michelle is a first time political campaigner not a poll-driven candidate's wife. Some Clinton supporters still see an ulterior motive but officially the Clinton campaign is not commenting. Matt."

Lauer: "Alright, Andrea thank you very much. Andrea Mitchell for us from Washington this morning."

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.