NBC Promotes Correspondent Chelsea Clinton's Role in Obama Inauguration

On Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer eagerly touted special correspondent Chelsea Clinton being a part of the festivities leading up to President Obama's inauguration: "She's going to talk about an important role that she is playing in President Obama's second inaugural, something I know she would like you to get involved in." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Before talking to Clinton about the upcoming event, Lauer explained: "President Obama will kick off his inauguration weekend on Saturday with a National Day of Service....the Obamas and Bidens will attend a service fair on the National Mall....NBC's special correspondent Chelsea Clinton is the honorary chair of that event."

Lauer teed up Clinton to publicize the effort: "I know Michelle Obama said back in 2009 at the first inaugural, the service day, the National Service Day was her favorite part of the entire event. I also know she and her husband, and the Bidens, and you would like to grow that event. How do you go about doing it?"

Clinton gushed:

Oh, we're so excited. We have events in every state. We have more than 2,000 different events. There will be more than 50,000 volunteer opportunities for people to take advantage of. And on the Mall alone, as you mentioned, there will be more than a hundred organizations participating in seven different events in what we believe to be the largest service event ever taking place in our nation's capital.

Moments later, Lauer similarly applauded the event: "It should be an American tradition. I have to say, I do love it, in my kids' school they talk about it, in schools across the country."

At no point did Lauer or Clinton address the conflict of interest of having a supposed news correspondent taking an active part in a presidential inauguration.

At the end of the exchange, Lauer asked about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's health and its effect on her presidential aspirations: "Let me ask you about your mom's recent kind of series of health scares, including that blood clot inside of her head. How's she feeling, Chelsea?...Do you worry at all that there's a long term – not physical impact of this, but that people will view her differently, especially if she chooses to pursue another run for president in 2016?"

Clinton replied: "I'm sure you've seen the footage of her at the State Department. She is exuding the energy, the vibrancy and certainly the mental acuity that she always has."

Correspondent Andrea Mitchell offered a fawning report for the January 4 Today on Hillary and Chelsea being "the most recognizable mother/daughter duo in America."


Here is a full transcript of Lauer's January 15 interview with Clinton:

8:30AM ET TEASE:

MATT LAUER: Coming up in this half hour, former first daughter Chelsea Clinton will join us. She's going to talk about an important role that she is playing in President Obama's second inaugural, something I know she would like you to get involved in. She'll tell us about that. We'll also talk to her about her mom's health and some other things when she joins us in a couple of minutes.

8:36AM ET SEGMENT:

LAUER: President Obama will kick off his inauguration weekend on Saturday with a National Day of Service. Volunteer events will be held in all 50 states and the Obamas and Bidens will attend a service fair on the National Mall featuring 100 volunteer organizations. NBC's special correspondent Chelsea Clinton is the honorary chair of that event. Chelsea, nice to see you. Good morning.

CHELSEA CLINTON: Nice to see you, Matt. Good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Paying it Forward; Chelsea Clinton Previews National Day of Service]

LAUER: I know Michelle Obama said back in 2009 at the first inaugural, the service day, the National Service Day was her favorite part of the entire event. I also know she and her husband, and the Bidens, and you would like to grow that event. How do you go about doing it?

CLINTON: Oh, we're so excited. We have events in every state. We have more than 2,000 different events. There will be more than 50,000 volunteer opportunities for people to take advantage of. And on the Mall alone, as you mentioned, there will be more than a hundred organizations participating in seven different events in what we believe to be the largest service event ever taking place in our nation's capital.

LAUER: I was looking, the World Giving Index regularly shows the United States among the top ten countries with the most generous citizens. A recent study found that Americans are committing more and more of their time, their energy, and their money to serving others. Do you think this is something that crosses all generations? In other words, are people your age and even younger getting involved as much as perhaps some older Americans are?

CLINTON: Oh, absolutely. You know, all of the studies show that younger Americans, the so-called Millennials, are actually even more engaged than older generations. So it appears that we're becoming even more generous as we move into the 21st century, particularly in donating our time, which is one of the reasons why I'm so enthusiastic about the National Day of Service on Saturday not only being our largest National Day of Service ever, but hopefully the beginning of a renewed commitment to service in our country.

LAUER: Yeah, it should be an American tradition. I have to say, I do love it, in my kids' school they talk about it, in schools across the country. What can parents do, in your opinion, to set a better example for their children in this area?

CLINTON: Well, Matt, I think what you were just talking about, encouraging our schools, our faith communities, our community centers to make opportunities available to children so that children grow up thinking of service as just part of what it means to be a good person, part of what it means to be an American citizen. I'm incredibly grateful that my parents, when I was younger, took me to soup kitchens, let me pick out the books that we would donate to the church library. That for me it was always just part of, you know, being a kid, being a part of my family, and being a part of my community and an American. And I hope that parents like you will do that on Saturday and throughout the rest of the year.

LAUER: Let me ask you about your mom's recent kind of series of health scares, including that blood clot inside of her head. How's she feeling, Chelsea?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Family Ties; Chelsea Clinton on Mom Hillary's Health Scare]

CLINTON: Oh, she's doing great, Matt. I am incredibly grateful to the tremendous care that she received and so profoundly grateful that she is strong, vibrant as ever, and will be back to full health very soon.

LAUER: Do you worry at all that there's a long term – not physical impact of this, but that people will view her differently, especially if she chooses to pursue another run for president in 2016?

CLINTON: Oh, gosh. Well, Matt, I am so grateful that she is as vibrant as she ever has been. I'm sure you've seen the footage of her at the State Department. She is exuding the energy, the vibrancy and certainly the mental acuity that she always has. I am so grateful that she is not only fine, but healthy and vibrant and strong. And, you know, God willing, will be for the next 65 years of her life.

LAUER: Okay. Wish her our best, alright, Chelsea.

CLINTON: Thank you, Matt. I will.

LAUER: Alright, thanks. I want to mention to people watching to find a service event in your area, you can head to our website, that's Today.com.

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