'Today' Cheers Obamas Bring 'Charisma' 'Stardust,' to UK

NBC's Keith Miller, on Wednesday's "Today" show, was caught up in a moment of simultaneous Obama-mania and Kennedy nostalgia as he reported about the Obamas' arrival in Britain for the G20 summit as he declared: "What the Obamas bring to Buckingham Palace is a charisma not seen since the Kennedys, when the First Lady, Jacqueline, dazzled the royal court." Miller, of course, wasn't alone in his cheeriness as he included two soundbites from other members of the press, including Victoria Mather of Vanity Fair, who wondered if the Queen herself will be able to contain herself: "This is gonna be the most exciting encounter of her long and successful reign. I think she'll be absolutely fascinated." And the New York Times' John Burns was so starry-eyed he was reduced to making astronomical comparisons: "There is a lot of stardust there, and my guess is that the Obamas will attract the sort of adulation in Europe that the Kennedys did."

The following is the full Miller piece as it was aired on the April 1, "Today" show:

MATT LAUER: One of the highlights of President Obama's European trip, as we've talked about already this morning, today's private meeting with the Queen of England - her 11th with a U.S. president. NBC's Keith Miller's is at Buckingham Palace. Keith, good morning to you.

[On screen headline: "Obama's Royal Welcome, All The Queen's Presidents"]

KEITH MILLER: Good morning, Matt. Well, in fact, the meeting between Queen Elizabeth and President Obama is scheduled to last perhaps even less than a half hour, but already people in Britain are calling it an historic moment. The White House has been meeting the House of Windsor for more than five decades. President Eisenhower was the first. Now President Obama becomes the 12th U.S. president to have an audience with Queen Elizabeth. With all the pomp and circumstance at Buckingham Palace, some dignitaries can get royally mixed up.

DICKIE ARBITER, FORMER PALACE SPOKESMAN: I've seen captains of industry who are very powerful absolutely, get totally flustered when they first meet the Queen. In fact I've seen some actually curtseying, instead of bowing.

MILLER: Today's audience will be much more relaxed. This is not a state visit, so it will be an informal chat over tea and cucumber sandwiches. The White House calls it, "a getting to know you" session. Still, there are do's and don'ts. There was outrage in Britain when a former Australian prime minister appeared to put his arm around the Queen. There is an unwritten rule at the palace, "You do not touch the royal person." And winking at the Queen is a no-no.

(Video of George W. Bush winking at Queen Elizabeth)

GEORGE W. BUSH: She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child.

MILLER: Of all the American presidents, it was Ronald Reagan who appeared to bond best with her majesty.

RONALD REAGAN: To the Queen.

MILLER: Their mutual love of horses made their relationship special. What the Obamas bring to Buckingham Palace is a charisma not seen since the Kennedys, when the First Lady, Jacqueline, dazzled the royal court.

VICTORIA MATHER, VANITY FAIR: This is gonna be the most exciting encounter of her long and successful reign. I think she'll be absolutely fascinated.

MILLER: The newest world leader meeting the world's oldest and most experienced monarch.

JOHN BURNS, NEW YORK TIMES: There is a lot of stardust there, and my guess is that the Obamas will attract the sort of adulation in Europe that the Kennedys did.

MILLER: But no peck on the cheek, no hugs. A handshake, according to the Palace, will be quite sufficient. What the Queen and President Obama will discuss is private, because they say that sort of discussion is off the record, but they may touch on the economy, perhaps, President Obama's Kenyan roots. But we'll never know Matt, because discussion with the Queen is kept private.

LAUER: But we'll speculate anyway, Keith. Thank you very much. We appreciate it. That's Keith Miller in London for us this morning.

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