NBC Gushes Over 'Outspoken Road Warrior' John Kerry; Touts 'Bromance' With Leonardo DiCaprio

Following a tough grilling of Secretary of State John Kerry in the first part of her interview aired on Thursday, on Friday, NBC Today co-host Savannah Guthrie revealed that the rest of her time spent with Kerry was mostly devoted to fluff and softballs: "From breakfast with senators and the ceremonial duties of office to back-to-back trips to the White House, Secretary of State John Kerry has taken his new job and run with it....the once-staid senator now one of the President's most outspoken road warriors." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Guthrie observed: "It seems to me that you are looser than you've ever been." Kerry replied: "You know, after years and years in public life, I know who I am. I know what I want to achieve."

That teed up Guthrie to launch into a fawning profile of Kerry's life and career: "It's a moment a lifetime in the making. The son of a foreign service officer, a decorated Vietnam veteran who famously came to protest the war, a senator for decades, and a former presidential candidate, Kerry seems more determined now than ever to make his mark."

Turning back to the cabinet secretary, she didn't even ask a question, but simply declared: "Here's some adjectives that I have read that are used to describe you: Relentless, ambitious, stubborn, pompous, risk-taker, loner." Kerry remarked: "Yeah. I hope I'm ambitious."

Guthrie noted that Kerry's new dog provides "moments of levity" and touted how, "The job is not without glamour, with Angelina Jolie last week at a London conference and Leonardo DiCaprio this week talking ocean conservation."

As a picture appeared on screen of Kerry embracing DiCaprio at the event, Guthrie handed him a photo of the celebrity encounter: "They call this the bromance picture to end all bromance pictures."

The one challenging moment in the largely non-substantive exchange came when Guthrie described Kerry's "mixed results" in the position: "He pushed for talks to resolve Syria's crisis, but Assad's grip has only tightened. Russia's Putin seems hardly cowed by U.S. sanctions over tensions in Ukraine. And Kerry logged thousands of miles for a Middle East peace deal that never happened."

She wondered: "Some people said they admire your energy, but essentially it was a waste of time." Kerry defended his lackluster performance: "It is never a waste of time to work for peace. Ever. We have two and a half years left in this administration. I say to you I don't believe that the effort is over."


Here is a full transcript of the second part of the interview aired on June 20:

7:22 AM ET TEASE:

MATT LAUER: And will John Kerry ever run for office again and how does he deal with such a pressure-packed job? Savannah spends a day behind the scenes with the Secretary of State.

7:31 AM ET TEASE:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Well, yesterday we showed you part of our interview with Secretary Kerry on some of the big news events unfolding. We also spent the day with him. And we'll talk to him later in this hour about how much power he really has, is it the West Wing that really runs the show? Also what his daughters thought of his recent meeting with Leonardo DiCaprio. It's a classic. So we'll talk to Secretary Kerry in a few moments.

NATALIE MORALES: Love that he brings his dog to work.

GUTHRIE: Yes.

MORALES: It's great.

7:36 AM ET TEASE:

GUTHRIE: And then up next, we will take you behind the scenes with one of the most powerful men in the world, Secretary of State John Kerry. Right after this.

7:40 AM ET SEGMENT:

GUTHRIE: This has been especially a busy week for Secretary of State John Kerry with the administration dealing with the crisis in Iraq, other issues around the globe. We heard from him on that Thursday on Today. Well, this morning, more of our time with Secretary Kerry as we take a behind-the-scenes look at his hectic week.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: John Kerry Unplugged; A Day In the Life of the Secretary of State]

From breakfast with senators and the ceremonial duties of office to back-to-back trips to the White House, Secretary of State John Kerry has taken his new job and run with it. Sometimes literally. And the world is seeing a somewhat different Kerry, the once-stayed senator now one of the President's most outspoken road warriors.

JOHN KERRY: You just don't invade another country....He's a fugitive from justice....And history would judge us all.

GUTHRIE: It seems to me that you are looser than you've ever been.

KERRY: You know, after years and years in public life, I know who I am. I know what I want to achieve.

GUTHRIE: It's a moment a lifetime in the making. The son of a foreign service officer, a decorated Vietnam veteran who famously came to protest the war, a senator for decades, and a former presidential candidate, Kerry seems more determined now than ever to make his mark.

KERRY: I have big heels to fill.

GUTHRIE: Here's some adjectives that I have read that are used to describe you: Relentless, ambitious, stubborn, pompous, risk-taker, loner.

KERRY: Yeah. I hope I'm ambitious. I hope the President chose me because he wanted somebody in here who is going to fight hard and I'm happy to be relentless about it.

GUTHRIE: Ambitious, yes, but with mixed results so far. He pushed for talks to resolve Syria's crisis, but Assad's grip has only tightened. Russia's Putin seems hardly cowed by U.S. sanctions over tensions in Ukraine. And Kerry logged thousands of miles for a Middle East peace deal that never happened.

[To Kerry] Some people said they admire your energy, but essentially it was a waste of time.

KERRY: It is never a waste of time to work for peace. Ever. We have two and a half years left in this administration. I say to you I don't believe that the effort is over.

GUTHRIE: But how much power does he have? Kerry rejects suggestions that the real foreign policy decisions are run out of the White House.

KERRY: I said to the President a few months ago, I thanked him for the extraordinary breadth and absence of leash that he had given me. The President has been incredibly trusting, incredibly empowering.

GUTHRIE: Moments of levity in this job are welcome, and these days that comes in the form of Kerry's new puppy, Ben. A lab who was named after Benjamin Franklin and who is intermittedly obedient.

KERRY: This is embarrassing. Come on, Ben. So I got to send him back to school. Ben, sit. Down, down. Down. That a boy. There you are. What can I say? Stay.

GUTHRIE: Is he a good stress reliever?

KERRY: No, he's a stress giver.

GUTHRIE: The job is not without glamour, with Angelina Jolie last week at a London conference and Leonardo DiCaprio this week talking ocean conservation. [To Kerry] They call this the bromance picture to end all bromance pictures.

[PICTURE OF KERRY MEETING WITH DICAPRIO]

KERRY: It's the angle. It's not a fair angle. But that's – both my daughters texted me and I won't tell you what they said.

GUTHRIE: But after a lifetime in the public eye, Kerry is happy to tell you he is out of elected politics. [To Kerry] Will you really never run for public office again?

KERRY: I have no plans to run for public office again.

GUTHRIE: Is that, "I will really not run for public office again"?

KERRY: Well, I never say never to anything. You know, I'm not running for dog catcher. But, no, I'm not planning. I'm not running. This is my last public position, I think. And I'm going to try and get the job done as well as I can.

GUTHRIE: Getting the job done this weekend means going to the Middle East and dealing with the situation in Iraq.

MATT LAUER: No question. Did he tell you privately what his daughters said about that photo?

GUTHRIE: No. It just didn't sound like it was for morning shows, let's just say that.

AL ROKER: Oh, it's even better with the long shot.

NATALIE MORALES: That's like a wraparound hug, too.

GUTHRIE: Exactly. Bromance shot.

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