NBC's Ann Curry Tosses Softballs to Obama on 'Today'

On Tuesday's "Today" show, co-anchor Ann Curry traveled with Barack Obama on the campaign trail and mostly threw softball questions to the presidential candidate, questions like who did he prefer: "Beatles or the Rolling Stones?" Curry also tried to broker an Obama-Clinton ticket as she pressed: "They want this. The Democrats want this."

The toughest Curry ever got with the Illinois senator was when she pointed out Obama's lack of business experience as it pertained to his ability to address the economy. However, Curry never hit Obama with a single question on Jeremiah Wright or Tony Rezko but she did find time to show Obama "flirting" with voters. [Audio available here.]

The following is the full interview as it occurred on the April 1, "Today" show:

MEREDITH VIEIRA: Now to "Today on the Trail." On Monday Ann spent the day with Democratic Senator Barack Obama. Nice to see you again, Ann.

ANN CURRY: You too Meredith. While Senator Obama has a clear lead in the overall delegate count polls show a tight race with Senator Clinton in some of the states still to be decided. So we caught up with Obama on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania, 22 days before its primary day. A rare quiet moment for Barack Obama before launching Monday. The fourth day of a bus tour through Pennsylvania. Considered a must-win state for a Democrat in the general election and where Senator Hillary Clinton leads Obama in the primary polls. 17 points up she is in the state last week.

BARACK OBAMA: That was last week.

CURRY: He is drawing crowds and he is moving fast, sometimes veering into them. Giving your Secret Servicemen a headache.

OBAMA: Yeah.

CURRY: Greeting.

OBAMA: How's everybody doing today?

CURRY: Posing.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN TO OBAMA: You can put your arm around me that's okay.

CURRY: Even flirting.

OBAMA TO VOTER: I don't want to get in trouble with your husband.

CURRY: Blue-collar Reagan Democrats are key and they're worried about jobs. Most voters say now that the economy is their greatest concern.

OBAMA: Right.

CURRY: You've never run a business. Why should Americans trust you, as President, in this economy?

OBAMA: Well first of all, I think it's important to note the same could be said for Senator Clinton and Senator McCain. I started my public service career as a community organizer. So that motivation to make sure that the American dream, that opportunity, that people having ladders into upward mobility are available and expanded. That's been what I've spent my entire adult life working on.

CURRY: What do you think about Clinton supporters who say, she's earned the nomination. That you've jumped in line?

OBAMA: Well look I very much respect Senator Clinton's supporters for their passion and their enthusiasm. I think this contest has been good for the Democratic Party. We've brought in all kinds of new people into the, into the process and I think that bodes well for November.

CURRY: Do you believe that she's earned a place as Vice President on your ticket?

OBAMA: I think it is very premature for either of us to talk about vice presidential, you know, nominees because right now we're both, you know, in the thick of a battle to win the nomination.

CURRY: You think she still has a chance of winning?

OBAMA: Oh, you know, I think that as long as she's in, I don't take anything for granted. That as long as she is on the ballot in any state and she's got supporters who want to cast their ballot for her that she has every right to stay in the race and I think that--

CURRY: You just being gracious?

OBAMA: Well no I'm, I am stating, I think, what is central to our democratic tradition which is everybody has a right to run. And, you know, she has certainly earned the right to stay in this race as long as she wants. She is running a formidable race. I mean we ran, we won 11 contests in a row and that didn't knock her out. And that's some tenacity on her part and I think that--

CURRY: You admire her for her tenacity?

OBAMA: Oh absolutely and I think she deserves to be able to run and, and make her case as to why she should be the best president.

CURRY: Well then why not commit to this idea that you two could be on a ticket together? Do you, do you think this is not possible? I know you say it's premature--

OBAMA: Yeah I just think it's premature. That's--

CURRY: --but, but people as you, you've heard them out there. They want this.

OBAMA: Well the--

CURRY: The Democrats want this.

OBAMA: You know, I mean ultimately I think that what we have to do is settle the presidential nomination and what's more important than anything is not my ambitions, Senator Clinton's ambitions, what, you know, how we divvy up power. What's most important is how can we deliver for the American people? When I lose sleep at night it is not because I'm worrying about what's gonna happen in Pennsylvania or Indiana or how we're gonna resolve this contest. When I lose sleep at night it's because I think about being president and all the challenges that we had to face out there.

CURRY: On some smaller questions he offered simple answers. Coffee or tea?

OBAMA: Tea.

CURRY: Beatles or Rolling Stones?

OBAMA: Rolling Stones.

CURRY: Which president do you most want to be like?

OBAMA: Lincoln.

CURRY: Why?

OBAMA: He never lost sight of the humanity of even those who opposed them.

CURRY: Are you sure that God exists?

OBAMA: Yes.

CURRY: Do you pray once a week--

OBAMA: Once every day.

CURRY: --or once a day? Once a day.

OBAMA: Sometimes twice a day, depends on the day.

CURRY: Some days are needing prayer more than others?

OBAMA: Some days you need a little more prayer than others.

CURRY: Best thing your mom ever taught you?

OBAMA: Empathy. Making sure that you can see the world through somebody else's eyes, stand in their shoes. I think that's the basis for kindness and compassion.

CURRY: Cubs or White Sox?

OBAMA: White Sox.

CURRY: Basketball or bowling?

OBAMA: Basketball.

CURRY: Not bowling.

OBAMA: Not bowling.

CURRY: You just--

OBAMA: You saw those gutter balls but, you know what, that shows that I'm willing to try new things.

CURRY: Were you trying to lose?

OBAMA: I never try to lose.

CURRY: He bowled a 37 Saturday, Meredith. And it was, well I think it's fair to say it was humiliating for, for him.

MEREDITH VIEIRA: Yeah, well he never wants to get down in the gutter, you know, and he really did, unfortunately, with the bowling.

CURRY: Well I, I think, I think he was only in, in bowling, certainly in the interview. Alright.

VIEIRA: Okay Ann, great job. Thanks very much.

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