Following Democratic National Committee talking points to the letter at the top of Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams saw Donald Trump's endorsement of Mitt Romney as an excuse to bash the Republican frontrunner: "New fallout from Mitt Romney's choice of words about the very poor, and tonight a new endorsement from a man who's catchphrase is 'You're fired.'"
In the report that followed, correspondent Peter Alexander gleefully touted Democrats smearing Romney in the wake of Trump's backing: "For Romney, the endorsement of a billionaire businessman with this as his signature line [clip of Trump saying "You're fired"] Gave Democrats new fodder for attacks on cable." A nasty sound bite followed from DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz: "They both like firing people and they’ve both made millions doing it."
After playing a clip of a new DNC ad making the same point as Schultz, Alexander offered up a video montage of Romney's supposed gaffes during the campaign, declaring: "And it's not the first time Romney's gaffes have gotten him into trouble."
On Friday's Today, the Trump endorsement itself was treated as if it were a new Romney gaffe. Co-host Matt Lauer wondered: "What about the timing of this?...he stands next to a billionaire the day after he made this gaffe concerning the very poor. Couldn't the Romney campaign have called Donald Trump and said, 'Look, we appreciate the endorsement. Could we hold this off a little while and do this a few weeks down the road?'"
Meet the Press host David Gregory further criticized the Romney campaign's handling of the endorsement: "I just think that there was an aspect of this that was ham-handed. I think, you know, you had Mitt Romney saying, 'I've been successful, but Donald, not quite as successful as you.' I don't that really helps with the down-with-the-people tour over the next few weeks." Gregory added that Romney has "got to kind of work through this."
Turning to chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, Lauer speculated on how soon Romney would run away from Trump: "Would you expect Mitt Romney to now take this endorsement and yet carefully, subtly, but immediately begin to distance himself from Donald Trump?"
Considering Trump is the star of one of NBC's long-running reality shows and a frequent guest on Today, it does not appear the network is eager to "distance" itself from the real estate mogul anytime soon.
Read the complete transcript of the February 2 Nightly News report.