NBC Heralds Obama's 'Strong New Warning to Iran' in UN Speech

At the top of Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams framed President Obama's  address to the United Nations as him getting tough on Iranian nuclear ambitions: "Drawing the line. The President today with a strong new warning to Iran, plus what he had to say about the recent violence against Americans."

In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd touted that Obama  "appeared to draw a real line in the sand on Iran's effort to build nuclear weapons." Todd then sneered that "the President's strong words weren't enough to satisfy Mitt Romney."

On Wednesday's Today, Todd again promoted Obama drawing "a real line in the sand" against Iran that "didn't satisfy Romney."

Missing from the NBC coverage of Obama's UN address was any mention of his controversial statement that "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."

While NBC praised the supposed strength of Obama's speech, in an interview with correspondent Ann Curry on Wednesday, Libyan President Mohamed Magarief completely undermined Obama administration claims that an attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was spontaneous: "...it's a pre-planned act of terrorism directed against American citizens....Number one, is choosing the date, 11th of September. It has all the significance. If we take the facts about the way it was executed, you can see there is enough proof that it is a pre-planned act of terrorism."


Here is a full transcript of Todd's September 25 Nightly News report:

7:00PM ET TEASE:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Drawing the line. The President today with a strong new warning to Iran, plus what he had to say about the recent violence against Americans.

7:01PM ET SEGMENT:

WILLIAMS: Good evening and tonight we're in midtown Manhattan, high above the New York City Public Library. Which for the past few days has been the headquarters of Education Nation, our annual summit on education, where today we heard from both President Obama and Mitt Romney, a rare and fascinating opportunity to hear them both out on one issue in the same day, something they say should be a big national priority.

Both men crisscrossed New York today, both made news during their travels. Romney in what he told us and his visit with Bill Clinton. And President Obama, who stepped before the United Nations General Assembly, talked about the recent violence against Americans and explained a few things about our country to a global audience while putting some in the audience today on notice. We begin tonight with our chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd. Chuck, good evening.

CHUCK TODD: Good evening, Brian. You know, President Obama and Mitt Romney jammed as many events as they could today into a whirlwind trip to the Big Apple. And while they didn't trade too many barbs, they did draw some subtle contrasts on serious issues, like the Middle East and education, and even less serious issues about who could out-flatter the other when it comes to former President Bill Clinton. The centerpiece of the President's visit to New York, his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, focusing on the unrest in Libya and the Middle East. And at times, emotional.

BARACK OBAMA: The attacks on the civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America. There should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice. And on this we must agree, there is no speech that justifies mindless violence.

TODD: Mr. Obama also appeared to draw a real line in the sand on Iran's effort to build nuclear weapons.

OBAMA: So let me be clear, America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy, and we believe that there is still time and space to do so. But that time is not unlimited. Make no mistake, a nuclear armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained.

TODD: But the President's strong words weren't enough to satisfy Mitt Romney.

MITT ROMNEY: We can look at the record over the last four years, is Iran closer to a nuclear weapon or not? And we know the answer, it's closer to a nuclear weapon.

TODD: It was a whirlwind day of media appearances for both Romney and the President. It was hard to miss them, either physically in New York or on TV.

OBAMA [ON ABC'S THE VIEW]: I'm just supposed to be eye candy here for you guys.

TODD: And both trying to one-up each other in praising Bill Clinton at the former president's annual conference on global giving.

ROMNEY: If there's one thing we've learned in this election season by the way, it is that a few words from Bill Clinton can do a man a lot of good. All I got to do now is wait a couple of days for that bounce to happen, so.

OBAMA: President Clinton, thank you for your very kind introduction, although I have to admit, I really did like the speech a few weeks ago a little bit better.

TODD: Romney is already back on the campaign trail and on his economic message. In Ohio late this afternoon with his running mate.

ROMNEY: There is one thing he did not do in his first four years he's said he's going to do in the next four years, which is to raise taxes. And is there anybody who thinks that raising taxes will help grow the economy?

CROWD: No!

TODD: That last little comment by Mitt Romney today about not raising taxes in his first four years did raise some eyebrows with conservatives. By the way, the media blitz continues, Ann Romney on The Tonight Show and then President Obama follows Mitt Romney to Ohio tomorrow, Brian.

WILLIAMS: Chuck Todd back at the White House tonight with all of it starting us off. Chuck, thanks.

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