'Today' Show Crew Fawns Over 'Strong Leader' Hillary Showing 'True Emotion'

At the top of the 9 a.m. et hour on Thursday's NBC Today, the morning show cast devoted a four-minute panel discussion to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton getting emotional during her congressional testimony on Wednesday. News reader Natalie Morales gushed: "She was speaking passionately about, you know, that heat of the moment. And also, you know, I think she just loved those people [who died in Benghazi]. So that was true emotion." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Co-host Savannah Guthrie observed: "I don't know if there's as much a stigma anymore from public figures crying from time-to-time. I mean, this is not somebody who is crying all the time. We've seen her well up in the past. I think this is probably the most emotional we've ever seen her." Morales proclaimed: "Right, she's a strong leader."

Fellow co-host Willie Geist explained: "I don't think it's a problem when it comes from a place of sincerity. When it looks political and calculated, that's where you run into trouble..." After some conversation about people showing false emotion, Morales concluded: "People know when it's real and when it's not real. And I think in Hillary Clinton's case, it was very much real."

At the top of the broadcast, correspondent Andrea Mitchell asserted that Clinton had endured a "hostile interrogation" by congressional Republicans as she testified.


Here is a transcript of the January 24 exchange:

9:00AM ET

WILLIE GEIST: Let's get right to Today's Take 3. Our Take 1, Hillary Clinton up on Capitol Hill yesterday. She was testifying before a Senate panel about the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, September 11th of this year. It was a highly-charged afternoon, a lot of emotion on both sides, from the questioners and also from Secretary Clinton herself. Let's watch.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Hillary Gets Emotional]

HILLARY CLINTON: I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews. I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, the sisters and brothers, the sons and daughters, and wives left alone to raise their children.

GEIST: So obviously, getting emotional there, talking about the families and the people who didn't come home, the four of them. Also fired up at certain times. Some people have zeroed in on the emotion, probably should be more focused on the content of the hearings, but people asking the question not just of Hillary Clinton, but of public figures, what it means to cry in public, whether or not that's a good idea.

NATALIE MORALES: Well, obviously this is very personal, as she said. You know, these are people that she knew well. And you know, I think it's a tough position to be in. She was speaking passionately about, you know, that heat of the moment. And also, you know, I think she just loved those people. So that was true emotion. It's hard not to.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: I don't know if there's as much a stigma anymore from public figures crying from time-to-time. I mean, this is not somebody who is crying all the time. We've seen her well up in the past.

MORALES: Right, she's a strong leader.

GUTHRIE: I think this is probably the most emotional we've ever seen her. John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, has been known to cry and get emotional quite a bit. I don't know if it's – I think it used to be more of an issue when somebody would show that kind of emotion.

AL ROKER: And I think it depends on the – it depends on the situation. I mean, when President Obama was talking about the tragedy in Connecticut, and this is a man who's a father, and you know, is the leader of our country. You know, to see that emotion, I don't think there's anything wrong with it.

GEIST: I don't think it's a problem when it comes from a place of sincerity. When it looks political and calculated, that's where you run into trouble....

MORALES: People know when it's real and when it's not real. And I think in Hillary Clinton's case, it was very much real.

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