Brian Williams: In Lieu of Flowers for Ted, Pass Health Care Reform

NBC's Brian Williams, during NBC News' live coverage of the President's remarks about the passing of Ted Kennedy on Wednesday, cited what sounded like a spam e-mail rallying support for health care reform, as a way to remember the Democratic Senator. Quoting from his in-box Williams suggested: "In lieu of flowers, pass health care reform." Responding to a question from "Today" co-host Ann Curry on the effect Kennedy's death will have on the chances of a health care bill passing through Congress, Williams offered the following "theories":

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Number one, that it could lose momentum with the death of its great champion. The other theory, of course, is that in the memory of Senator Kennedy, perhaps it will get a needed shot. There is already an e-mail circulating that I've received today that reads simply, "In lieu of flowers, pass health care reform." [audio available here]

The following exchange was aired during the August 26, "Today" show:

ANN CURRY: Brian a lot of discussion, it's interesting the President did not bring up health care, since of course, Senator Kennedy was a important voice. In fact this was something he cared so much about, in part he said to President Obama, during the campaign, that this is something he wanted the President to talk about, bring up and the President has done that. And now, ironically, Senator Kennedy has passed and even in his last weeks wanted to try to create a way for his agenda to be pursued. Interesting that the President did not bring that up today.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: It is and there are two theories. Number one, that it could lose momentum with the death of its great champion. The other theory, of course, is that in the memory of Senator Kennedy, perhaps it will get a needed shot. There is already an e-mail circulating that I've received today that reads simply, "In lieu of flowers, pass health care reform." Ann?

CURRY: Alright Brian Williams this morning. Thank you so much Brian. And one of the comments that President, rather Senator Kennedy once made. He was quoted, talking about his legacy. He said, "We know the future will outlast all of us and I believe all of us will live on in the future that we make." I'm Ann Curry in New York.

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