Andrea Mitchell Laments Palestinian Statehood Fight Spoiling Obama's Libya 'Victory Lap'

Reporting on President Obama speaking at the United Nations for Wednesday's NBC Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell sympathetically declared: "Preparing for today's speech, the President was all smiles for the class photo, but while hoping to run a victory lap as the new Libyan government officially joined the United Nations....Everywhere else, trouble loomed."

Referring to the Palestinian push for statehood recognition from the UN, Mitchell described how Obama was "grappling with the same problem that has trapped American presidents for more than half a century, the Middle East." Later in the report, Mitchell cautioned: "The President could end up paying a heavy political price for supporting Palestinian rights in the past, even as he is losing support around the world for standing by Israel this week at the UN."

Mitchell herself avoided criticizing the President's Middle East policy, but did note that, "Republican presidential front-runner Texas Governor Rick Perry showed up in New York only blocks away, surrounded by pro-Israel supporters, to slam the President for his past pressure on Israel."

Here is a full transcript of Mitchell's September 21 report:

7:06AM ET

ANN CURRY: Meantime, there is another major challenge being faced by the world as the United Nations comes together.

ANDREA MITCHELL: That is the big challenge indeed. The President is giving his big speech today and he's grappling with the same problem that has trapped American presidents for more than half a century, the Middle East. Preparing for today's speech, the President was all smiles for the class photo, but while hoping to run a victory lap as the new Libyan government officially joined the United Nations.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Obama at the United Nations; GOP Blasts President for Israel Policy]

BARACK OBAMA: The Libyan people are writing a new chapter in the life of their nation. After four decades of darkness, they can walk the streets free from a tyrant.

MITCHELL: Everywhere else, trouble loomed. In Kabul, a suicide bomber reportedly hiding the bomb in his black turban, killed a former Afghan president and leading peace negotiator in his own home.

BARACK OBAMA: It is a tragic loss, we want to extend our heartfelt condolences to you, his family, and the people of Afghanistan.


MITCHELL: But dominating everything else this week, the Middle East. Behind the scenes, the U.S. is frantically twisting arms, trying to stop the rest of the world from recognizing the Palestinians as a state.

BEN RHODES [DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR]: We would veto any actions in the Security Council.

MITCHELL: A key target of the President's appeals, Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan, a NATO ally who recently expelled Israel's ambassador and has been ratcheting up pressure on Israel. The diplomatic conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is already sparking clashes between the two sides in the West Bank and protests in New York. The dispute has put President Obama on the spot, defending Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu, even though their last Oval Office meeting was notably frosty. And even as the Republican presidential front-runner Texas Governor Rick Perry showed up in New York only blocks away, surrounded by pro-Israel supporters, to slam the President for his past pressure on Israel.

RICK PERRY: It is time to change our policy of appeasement toward the Palestinians to strengthen our ties with the nation of Israel.

MITCHELL: And as President Obama added a meeting with Palestinian President Abbas, trying to get him to back down. And that meeting will come tonight. The President could end up paying a heavy political price for supporting Palestinian rights in the past, even as he is losing support around the world for standing by Israel this week at the UN. Ann.

CURRY: Excellent perspective as usual, Andrea. Thank you so much this morning.    

MITCHELL: Thank you.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC