MSNBC's Mitchell Defends Obama; Gushes About 'Love Fest' in France

Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC News Live | NewsBusters.orgWhile many in the media rather enjoyed Obama’s speech in Berlin, particularly CBS which declared that it “confirmed his rock star status,” many conservatives felt that this speech, like others, lacked substance. But, Obama need not worry because NBC Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, reporting from London, came to Obama’s defense during the 3 p.m. hour of the July 25 MSNBC “News Live”:

Well, [the Obama campaign] have rebutted that and I think when you look at this speech, this was a broad, overarching, thematic speech. It was never intended to be a checklist of legislative programs. So I think that they can fairly defend themselves and say this was the big picture of let’s have the United States and Europe re-engage.

Of course, it could be argued that with the rise of center-right leaders in Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, and Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, that Europe has largely re-engaged President Bush’s administration in the past few years, but why bother with such minor details?

Earlier in the segment, Mitchell reported on Obama’s meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, describing the meeting as a “love fest” and gushing about their “full scale presidential news conference”:

[I]t was such a love-fest between Sarkozy and Barack Obama today in Paris.

[…] What [Obama] got in Paris at the Elysee Palace was a full scale presidential news conference with President Sarkozy. So there was no reluctance at all on the French to embrace this nominee.

Mitchell then turned her attention to Obama opponent Sen. John McCain’s and his speech in Denver. The Republican candidate, she argued, had “found his voice” although he had failed to keep on message throughout the week:

John McCain seemed to find his voice today and really, in Denver in that speech, really went after Barack Obama on all things Iraq and Afghanistan and the troop surge. He really seemed much more spirited and if he’s had difficulty keeping on message on the economic themes this week and taking shots along the way at Barack Obama when he couldn’t resist or when he was in all fairness asked a question by the group of reporters following him, today he brought it all together I thought in that speech and very effectively to present his point of view against Obama.


The transcript of the segment, which aired at 3:32 p.m. on the July 25 MSNBC “News Live,” follows:

DAVID SHUSTER, host: NBC’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell has been traveling with Barack Obama during parts of his overseas trip. She joins us now from London where Obama is flying to as we speak. Andrea, your reaction to Obama’s news conference today with the French president. I was particularly struck by a line where he said, “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t spend -- who doesn’t want to spend more time in Paris.” Is that gonna hurt Obama in middle America?

ANDREA MITCHELL: Does it remind of you of John Kerry when he was accused of being too French to be the Democratic nominee by the Republican critics? I mean, that is something that Republicans may seize on but it was such a love-fest between Sarkozy and Barack Obama today in Paris. We preceded them here to London so that we could be on these programs but they have now lifted off from Paris. They’re on their way here. He will then meet with Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister. But, of course, with Angela Merkel and Gordon Brown, they demurred from any kind of public show of a joint news conference but what he got in Paris at the Elysee Palace was a full scale presidential news conference with President Sarkozy. So there was no reluctance at all on the French to embrace this nominee.

SHUSTER: Andrea, you were there yesterday in Berlin. Um, today in some of the American newspaper as you probably know by now there’s some criticism, especially from conservatives, that Obama’s speech, while it had a lot of lofty rhetoric it was kind of short on substance. Um, give us your perspective on that very point.

MITCHELL: Well, they have rebutted that and I think when you look at this speech, this was a broad, overarching, thematic speech. It was never intended to be a checklist of legislative programs. So I think that they can fairly defend themselves and say this was the big picture of let’s have the United States and Europe re-engage. Um, more to the point though, John McCain seemed to find his voice today and really, in Denver in that speech, really went after Barack Obama on all things Iraq and Afghanistan and the troop surge. He really seemed much more spirited and if he’s had difficulty keeping on message on the economic themes this week and taking shots along the way at Barack Obama when he couldn’t resist or when he was in all fairness asked a question by the group of reporters following him, today he brought it all together I thought in that speech and very effectively to present his point of view against Obama. They’ve been having this long distance debate all week and it’s interesting to see whether that becomes, you know, the bottom line for the week, is McCain versus Obama on Iraq rather than all the European points along this way.

SHUSTER: Andrea, I gotta ask you about something completely different. I keep hearing this knocking noise behind you. Is threesome sort of construction worker or somebody working on a roof where you are? [laughter]

MITCHELL: I am in the absolutely wonderful and hospitable London bureau of NBC News and I have to tell you after, you know, thirteen days on the road it is wonderful to be home, my home away from home here in London where they’ve brought me in but we are in an office building and someone is hammering and I can’t tell you exactly what it’s about. Maybe someone on the next floor, so quiet down up there.

SHUSTER: We are always glad to see you whether there’s a hammering noise or not. Andrea Mitchell is covering the Obama campaign in Europe. Andrea, thanks for joining us.

MITCHELL: Thank you.