NBC 'Today' Crew Fawns Over 'Brilliant' Ashley Judd Possibly Running for Senate

In a panel discussion on Wednesday's NBC Today, the morning show cast excitedly touted the possibility of left-wing actress Ashley Judd running for senate against Mitch McConnell in 2014, with co-host Willie Geist declaring: "She was a delegate to the Democratic convention this summer, she's very involved in politics, she's outspoken." [Watch the video after the jump]

News reader Natalie Morales heaped praise on Judd: "She's a brilliant woman....Harvard, I think....she's a U.N. goodwill ambassador, speaks out on HIV/AIDS prevention. And also, you know, she's done so much good for public – public good and she's a great, very smart woman." Celebrity chef Paula Deen, a guest on the show, chimed in: "I've heard that she's an extremely bright woman." Morales added: "Very."

Fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie did raise some skepticism: "What do you guys think about celebrities running for office?" Deen made the comparison: "Well, look at Ronald Reagan, you know, you – I mean, he's – history loves him."

Geist cheered one left-wing comedian turned politician: "Al Franken has done well for himself in the United States Senate."

Wrapping up the segment, Geist mentioned one of Judd's relatives being critical of the actress's political ambitions: "Ashley's own grandmother put out a statement, said, 'Love her to death, but she's just another Hollywood liberal.'"


Here is a full transcript of the December 5 exchange:

9:10AM ET

WILLIE GEIST: Okay, Take 2, Ashley Judd for senator? You heard about this story?

AL ROKER Sure.

GEIST: Kentucky Democrats talking up Ashley Judd as an honest to goodness candidate for senate in 2014. She was a delegate to the Democratic convention this summer, she's very involved in politics, she's outspoken. So far she's not saying yes to a run, but not denying it either. Her opponent would be the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. What do we think guys, Ashley Judd as a United States senator?   
NATALIE MORALES: She's a brilliant woman, I'll tell her that.

PAULA DEEN: I've heard that she's an extremely bright woman.

MORALES: Very. Harvard, I think.

DEEN: Yes.

MORALES: And also, she's a U.N. goodwill ambassador, speaks out on HIV/AIDS prevention. And also, you know, she's done so much good for public – public good and she's a great, very smart woman. The question is-

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: What do you guys think about celebrities running for office?

MORALES: Yeah, does – does she stand a chance?

DEEN: Well, look at Ronald Reagan, you know, you – I mean, he's – history loves him.

MORALES: Clint Eastwood was mayor of Carmel by the Sea.

DEEN: Clint Eastwood.

ROKER: Would you run for office Paula?

DEEN: Never.

MORALES: Too much responsibility.

GEIST: Ronald Reagan.

DEEN: Too much responsibility.
ROKER: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

GEIST: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Al Franken has done well for himself in the United States Senate.

ROKER: That's right, yeah.

GEIST: So it's not without precedent.

ROKER: Gopher.

MORALES: It's a possibility.

GUTHRIE: Gopher, Fred Grandy.

GEIST: Although, Ashley's – Ashley's own grandmother put out a statement, said, "Love her to death, but she's just another Hollywood liberal."

GUTHRIE: No, no!

GEIST: Of her own granddaughter, true story, true story.

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