NBC Cheers 'Poetic Justice' of Jimmy Carter's Grandson Publicizing Romney Video

On Wednesday's NBC Today, correspondent Michael Isikoff offered a congratulatory puff piece on the man who helped release a hidden camera video of Mitt Romney: "[It] became public as a result of some dogged sleuthing by a partisan political researcher with a very personal interest in the election....James Carter IV, who helped out it, is basking in the afterglow, receiving fresh job offers from liberal bloggers and a high-five e-mail from his grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

The headline on screen throughout the report read: "'Poetic Justice'; Jimmy Carter's Grandson Helped Expose Romney Video." At one point in the segment, Carter gushed: "A lot of my Twitter followers that are supporters have said that this is poetic justice, that a Carter is the one that found this – this video that has given the Romney campaign so much trouble, and I have to say that I definitely agree with that sentiment."

Isikoff described how Carter "coaxed the secret videographer to release it to the liberal magazine Mother Jones" and again noted the Democratic researcher's "personal interest" in the matter: "The Romney campaign has repeatedly charged President Obama is following the same weak and failed policies of his grandfather."

Applauding Carter's role in the controversy, Isikoff declared: "[He] is now reveling in the disruption the video has caused the Romney campaign. He concedes it's even more satisfying because of his family connection."

On Tuesday's Today, Isikoff forwarded claims by the person who shot the video that the motivation was "not political," but just "simple curiosity."  


Here is a full transcript of the September 19 segment:

7:06AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: As the repercussion of that leaked tape echoes through the campaign trail, we're learning more about the man who helped arrange its release. It's the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter. NBC's national investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff has that part of the story. Michael, good morning to you.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: "Poetic Justice"; Jimmy Carter's Grandson Helped Expose Romney Video]

MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Good morning, Savannah. The secret Romney fundraiser video became public as a result of some dogged sleuthing by a partisan political researcher with a very personal interest in the election. As the story about the secret Romney fundraiser video exploded, James Carter IV, who helped out it, is basking in the afterglow, receiving fresh job offers from liberal bloggers and a high-five e-mail from his grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter.

[EMAIL TEXT ON SCREEN: "James: This is extraordinary. Congratulations! Papa"]

JIMMY CARTER IV: I get to put that on my top five e-mails that I've ever gotten from him.

ISIKOFF: Carter is the Atlanta-based political researcher who tracked down via Twitter the source who made the tape and then coaxed the secret videographer to release it to the liberal magazine Mother Jones.

CARTER: I'm ecstatic about how much of an impact that it's had in the last couple days, way beyond my wildest imaginings.

ISIKOFF: A partisan Democrat, Carter also had a personal interest. The Romney campaign has repeatedly charged President Obama is following the same weak and failed policies of his grandfather.

MITT ROMNEY: Except Jimmy Carter, and except this president.

ISIKOFF: Among the most notable events of the Carter presidency was a Middle East peace treaty. In the newly released fundraising video, Romney seemed to dismiss the idea of any peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians.

ROMNEY: I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, "There's just no way." And so what you do is you say, "You move things along the best way you can."

ISIKOFF: Carter had been researching Romney's role at Bain Capital when he first stumbled upon a brief clip from the video posted anonymously on YouTube.

ROMNEY: When I was back in my private equity days we went to China to buy a factory there.

ISIKOFF: Carter was intrigued and is now reveling in the disruption the video has caused the Romney campaign. He concedes it's even more satisfying because of his family connection.

CARTER: A lot of my Twitter followers that are supporters have said that this is poetic justice, that a Carter is the one that found this – this video that has given the Romney campaign so much trouble, and I have to say that I definitely agree with that sentiment.

ISIKOFF: Asked Tuesday about James Carter's role in the outing of the video, Mitt Romney told Fox News that he wasn't aware of it. But one of his campaign surrogates John Sununu, suggested to NBC's Andrea Mitchell that the controversy over Romney's remarks wouldn't have erupted, quote, "If Jimmy Carter's grandson hadn't snuck this stuff out." Savannah.

GUTHRIE: Alright, Michael Isikoff, thank you.

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