NBC Frets: Nobel-Prize-Winning 'Rock Star' Obama Now 'Subject of Europe's Scorn'

Showing more concern for President Obama's popularity than the national security implications of the latest leaks in the NSA spying scandal, on Monday's NBC Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell lamented: "When he was a candidate, Barack Obama was a rock star in Europe. That was then, this is now. As Europe reacts angrily to news that the U.S. spied on 35 leaders..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Moments later, Mitchell continued to worry: "How did the man who won the Nobel Peace Prize just months into his presidency become the subject of Europe's scorn?" She denounced the leaks, but not the spying itself: "The White House can thank NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who's latest revelations have forced President Obama to apologize to France's President Hollande, Germany's Chancellor Merkel, as well as current and former leaders in Mexico, and Brazil's President Rousseff, who even cancelled a state visit to Washington she was so angry."

Following Mitchell's report, co-host Savannah Guthrie was apparently unable to find any of the President's critics on the issue and instead talked to Obama's former press secretary Robert Gibbs about the scandal fallout.


Here is a full transcript of Mitchell's October 28 report:

7:00AM ET TEASE:

MATT LAUER: Angry allies. The NSA scandal getting even wider this morning. As many as 35 world leaders spied on by the U.S., some now demanding answers. So what did President Obama know and when?

7:01AM ET SEGMENT:

LAUER: We want to get right to Today's Top Story, new revelations on the NSA spying program. This morning, some of our closest allies are furious. Andrea Mitchell is NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent. Andrea, good morning to you.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Spy Games; New Charges of U.S. Snooping on Allies]

ANDREA MITCHELL: Good morning, Matt. Today reports in a major Spanish paper, El Mundo, that the NSA recently tracked more than 60 million calls in only one month. This as Germany's spy chiefs are now heading to Washington this week, demanding answers about the NSA's spying on Germany's leader, Angela Merkel. With Europe demanding new rules of the road to control America's vast electronic snooping.

When he was a candidate, Barack Obama was a rock star in Europe. That was then, this is now. As Europe reacts angrily to news that the U.S. spied on 35 leaders, including listening in on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's personal cell phone. In her case, for more than a decade. All from what Der Spiegel today calls "Das Nest," a CIA unit inside the mammoth U.S. embassy in Berlin.

How did the man who won the Nobel Peace Prize just months into his presidency become the subject of Europe's scorn? The White House can thank NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who's latest revelations have forced President Obama to apologize to France's President Hollande, Germany's Chancellor Merkel, as well as current and former leaders in Mexico, and Brazil's President Rousseff, who even cancelled a state visit to Washington she was so angry.

And while the NSA scandal is now also causing protests at home, with European allies, it could cost serious money. The European Union, America's largest trading partner, is threatening to cancel pending trade talks with the U.S.

STEVE CLEMONS [FOREIGN POLICY ANALYST]: When we're doing this on Germany, on France, on Great Britain, and other nations that we've been allied with in fighting Al Qaeda, in invading Libya together, these kinds of things just – just trample trust.

MITCHELL: The administration and its defenders say most of the spying is legitimate for the protection of the U.S. and its allies.

REP. MIKE ROGERS [R-HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN]: So a bad guy in Afghanistan can use networks in France or Germany or Great Britain or the United States and plan operations with somebody else who may be in Afghanistan. But you could still use all of those networks.

MITCHELL: The NSA has issued an unusual denial of one British report that said President Obama had been told three years ago that the NSA was eavesdropping on Merkel's cell phone. But that is the only clear denial so far as the administration is now scrambling to answer angry allies without knowing just what Edward Snowden will leak next. Matt. 

MATT LAUER: Alright, Andrea Mitchell. Andrea, thank you very much.

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