NBC Touts Gordon Gekko Impersonator Greeting Romney in South Carolina

In a report for Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander promoted attacks on Mitt Romney: "There's been no let-up in the barrage of criticism over Romney's record as the former head of Bain Capital." Alexander pointed out: "This Gordon Gekko impersonator greeted Romney's arrival in South Carolina."

A scene from the movie "Wall Street" was played with actor Michael Douglas depicting the corrupt Gekko and uttering the famous line: "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." The impersonator following Romney, dressed in a suit with a name tag reading "Gordon Gekko" and chomping on a cigar, repeated the line for NBC's camera. Alexander failed to note the Gekko look-alike was a stunt cooked up by the left-wing group, South Carolina Forward Progress.

Near the end of his report, Alexander touted a new campaign video attacking Romney: "...a super-PAC supporting Newt Gingrich posted, in its entirety, a 28-minute bruising movie about Governor Romney's time at Bain. We'll put a screen shot of that up on your screen right now. It includes this shot that shows Governor Romney on a tarmac, his feet kicked up, getting polished in front of a corporate jet."

Update: Romney was actually undergoing a security check, not getting his shoes shined.

Introducing Alexander's report, co-host Ann Curry posed: "Now to presidential politics and the harsh attacks being faced by GOP frontrunner, Mitt Romney. Are they only serving to hurt the Republican Party as a whole?"

In a discussion with Tom Brokaw following Alexander, Curry wondered: "So how ugly could this get in South Carolina?"


Here is a full transcript of the January 12 segment:

7:05AM ET

ANN CURRY: Now to presidential politics and the harsh attacks being faced by GOP frontrunner, Mitt Romney. Are they only serving to hurt the Republican Party as a whole? We're going to talk about that with Tom Brokaw in just a moment. But first, NBC's Peter Alexander is in Greer, South Carolina with the latest on the campaign trail. Hey, Peter, good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Going South; Romney's Rivals Sharpen Attacks In South Carolina]

PETER ALEXANDER: Ann, good morning to you. We flew down here to South Carolina late yesterday with Governor Romney. On the plane he told us that the big decisive win on Tuesday night felt like Christmas morning. But in many ways, that was a home game, you know, he's from just next door in Boston. This is like going on the road. And he is well aware that the blistering attacks here will make it much less pleasant. How do you feel, South Carolina?

MITT ROMNEY: It's warm out here, huh? It's great.

ALEXANDER: It may be warm in South Carolina, but the political climate is about to get much hotter for frontrunner, Mitt Romney.

NIKKI HALEY: The next President of the United States, Governor Mitt Romney.

ALEXANDER: Following back-to-back victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, Romney now appears increasingly confident, trying to present himself as the inevitable Republican nominee. Focusing exclusively on President Obama.

ROMNEY: I know we're going through tough times, and we're going through tough times in part because of the failure of one man, and that's why he's got to go.

ALEXANDER: But here in socially-conservative South Carolina, where the primary is notorious for nasty politics, Romney's opponents are sharpening their attacks.

AD ANNOUNCER: Massachusetts moderate Mitt Romney, he can't be trusted.

ALEXANDER: Newt Gingrich's latest TV ad targets Romney on abortion.

AD ANNOUNCER: What happened after Massachusetts moderate Mitt Romney changed his position from pro-abortion to pro-life? He governed pro-abortion.

ALEXANDER: And there's been no let-up in the barrage of criticism over Romney's record as the former head of Bain Capital.

MICHAEL DOUGLAS [AS GORDON GEKKO IN "WALL STREET"]: Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.

ALEXANDER: This Gordon Gekko impersonator greeted Romney's arrival in South Carolina.

GORDON GEKKO IMPERSONATOR: Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.

ALEXANDER: Both Gingrich and Rick Perry kept piling on.

NEWT GINGRICH: Crony capitalism, where people pay each other off at the expense of the rest of the country is not free enterprise, and raising questions about that is not wrong.

RICK PERRY: I happen to think that companies like Bain Capital, could have come in and helped these companies. If they truly were venture capitalists. But they're not. They're vulture capitalists.

ALEXANDER: And there's even a Gingrich web ad that hounds Romney for a road trip years ago when he put the family pet, Seamus, on the roof of his car.

ROMNEY: This is a completely air-tight kennel mounted on the top of our car. He climbed up there regularly, enjoyed himself, he was in a kennel at home a regular time as well. We loved the dog.

ALEXANDER: And among the more serious attacks, a super-PAC supporting Newt Gingrich posted, in its entirety, a 28-minute bruising movie about Governor Romney's time at Bain. We'll put a screen shot of that up on your screen right now. It includes this shot that shows Governor Romney on a tarmac, his feet kicked up, getting polished in front of a corporate jet. Late yesterday I spoke to a senior adviser with the Romney campaign who says they were prepared for these attacks, Ann, but they expected them not from the Republicans, but from the Democrats.

CURRY: Alright, point taken. Peter Alexander, thank you so much this morning.

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