Brian Williams Quotes Himself Comparing Obama to Liberal Movie President

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams has a long-standing infatuation with the 1995 film, The American President, in which actor Michael Douglas plays Democratic commander in chief Andrew Shepherd. That infatuation was clearly on display on Tuesday, as Williams praised President Obama for taking on Republicans over Iran.

On Tuesday's Nightly News, Williams cheered Obama's afternoon press conference on the matter: "President Obama chose this Super Tuesday, of all days, to take on his Republican rivals who've been criticizing him on the campaign trail on the topic of Iran...you can call it an 'Andrew Shepherd moment.' Film buffs will recognize the part played by Michael Douglas in the movie 'The American President,' where he said, you know, 'I am the president, your 15 minutes are up.'"

Incredibly, later in the 10 p.m. et hour coverage of Super Tuesday election results, Williams actually quoted himself regarding Obama, playing it off as a quote from someone else: "Somebody today called it an 'Andrew Shepherd moment.' He was 'The American President' character played by Michael Douglas who, at the end of the film, said, 'You've had your 15 minutes. I am the president.'"

In both cases, Williams was talking to chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell. On Nightly News she paraphrased Obama talking points:

Exactly, in that very setting, the White House briefing room, and looking out and saying, "I'm the commander in chief, you're not. Let's not be casual about this. I'm the one who knows what's at stake. And when you visit those soldiers, those troops in Walter Reed, I know the stakes of war and we don't have to go to war right now. There is still a window for diplomacy."

During the special Decision 2012 coverage she lamented: "And we're going to have more than 15 minutes between President Obama and whoever is the Republican nominee..."

In addition to all the fawning over Obama as some idealized Hollywood hero, amid the election coverage, Williams invited Tom Brokaw to dismiss Republican criticism of the President on Iran. Brokaw obliged: "Yeah. I didn't think that Governor Romney's speech [to AIPAC] was appropriate....This was a very provocative speech at a very provocative time."


Williams on March 6 Nightly News broadcast:

7:09PM ET

WILLIAMS: And Andrea, what we saw there, was kind of, you can call it an "Andrew Shepherd moment." Film buffs will recognize the part played by Michael Douglas in the movie "The American President," where he said, you know, "I am the president, your 15 minutes are up." He was anxious to get a piece of this today.

MITCHELL: Exactly, in that very setting, the White House briefing room, and looking out and saying, "I'm the commander in chief, you're not. Let's not be casual about this. I'm the one who knows what's at stake. And when you visit those soldiers, those troops in Walter Reed, I know the stakes of war and we don't have to go to war right now. There is still a window for diplomacy."

Williams during March 6 Decision 2012 coverage:

10:43PM ET

WILLIAMS: Somebody today called it an "Andrew Shepherd moment." He was "The American President" character played by Michael Douglas who, at the end of the film, said, "You've had your 15 minutes. I am the president."

MITCHELL: And we're going to have more than 15 minutes between President Obama and whoever is the Republican nominee, but as we're seeing tonight, this is trench warfare, and it does remind one of 1976. And that was ugly, and Gerald Ford lost.

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