NBC Admits: Obama Singing Gets 'Wall-to-Wall Goodwill Coverage Money Can't Buy'

In a gushing report on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Savannah Guthrie freely acknowledged how media coverage has been boosting President Obama this campaign season: "The commander in chief in song and in tune. It's getting to be a regular gig....spontaneous moments can give a president or candidate the kind of wall-to-wall goodwill coverage money can't buy."

As blatant evidence of that fact, anchor Brian Williams introduced Guthrie's report by proclaiming: "Barack Obama, it turns out, likes Motown, R&B, and the Blues. Don't be surprised if a presidential trivia question 20 years from now asks, 'Who was known as the singing president?'" Sounds like narrative has already been written.

Guthrie explained the President's latest instance of taking to song: "Oh say can you sing? When it was a group of Blues legends doing the asking last night at the White House, the President had to oblige." She cited others examples as well: "There was that performance last month at the Apollo Theater....And back in 2008 on the campaign trail, the President was fired up and ready to sing."

Guthrie touted all the political mileage the Obama campaign team was getting out the President's musical performances: "There's no question the President's political advisors are trying to make the most of these moments. They already put last night's clip on the web. And you can get this as a ring tone: (Obama singing) 'I'm...so in love with you.'"

Wednesday's NBC Today also clearly displayed the network's "goodwill" for Obama, as news anchor Natalie Morales joked that the President should "go on the road" with the Blues musicians. Co-host Ann Curry remarked how it "takes a lot of chutzpah" for Obama to take to the microphone. Weatherman Al Roker jumped in: "It looks like a remake of 'The Blues Brothers' to me."


Here is a full transcript of Guthrie's February 22 report:

7:26PM ET SEGMENT:

WILLIAMS: Finally tonight, presidents become known for various things over time. John Quincy Adams liked an occasional nude swim in the Potomac in the morning. Harry Truman enjoyed a brisk walk. FDR was a stamp collector. And Barack Obama, it turns out, likes Motown, R&B, and the Blues. Don't be surprised if a presidential trivia question 20 years from now asks, "Who was known as the singing president?" Our former White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie tonight gets called back into service because the President has broken into song again.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Oh say can you sing? When it was a group of Blues legends doing the asking last night at the White House, the President had to oblige.

BARACK OBAMA [SINGING]: Come on...Baby, don't you wanna go?

GUTHRIE: The commander in chief in song and in tune. It's getting to be a regular gig. There was that performance last month at the Apollo Theater.

OBAMA: Are you fired up?

GUTHRIE: And back in 2008 on the campaign trail, the President was fired up and ready to sing.

OBAMA [SINGING]: Oklahoma....Change change change...Back in Texas...

GUTHRIE: Sometimes politics and song make beautiful music together. Bill Clinton had his saxophone. Truman had his piano, President Nixon, too. We've had dancers in the White House, from George Washington to George W. Bush. And President William Howard Taft was also famously, if not improbably, light on his feet.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: When we see these lighter moments, it's almost like a window into the person, as opposed to the image that's too often presented.

GUTHRIE: Not too be outdone or outsung, Mitt Romney struck a patriotic tune recently at a campaign stop in Florida:

MITT ROMNEY [SINGING]: For amber waves of grain.

GUTHRIE: There's no question the President's political advisors are trying to make the most of these moments. They already put last night's clip on the web. And you can get this as a ring tone:

OBAMA [SINGING]: I'm...so in love with you.

After the President sang Al Green at the Apollo, his numbers shot up. Al Green's numbers, that is. Sales of his single skyrocketed. But spontaneous moments can give a president or candidate the kind of wall-to-wall goodwill coverage money can't buy. And to think, they get it for a song.

OBAMA [SINGING]: Sweet home Chicago.

GUTHRIE: Savannah Guthrie, NBC News, New York.  

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