Mika To Represent Obama in College Presidential Debate

See Update at foot: university says Mika will not "represent" Obama.

H/t reader Thomas S.  Despite her obvious liberal leanings, Mika Brzezinski prefers to play coy about her presidential preference on Morning Joe.  Mika often deflects co-host Joe Scarborough's accusations that she's in the tank for Obama by invoking the fact that her brother works for McCain.  And I have two beloved liberal Dem sisters: nu?

But Mika is apparently set to emerge from the political closet and let her Obama flag fly. Check out this report from the Fairfield [CT] Weekly about Brzezinski's upcoming participation in a debate at Fairfield University in which Mika will be "representing" Obama in a debate with formidable conservative pundit Monica Crowley [emphasis added]:

When Philip Eliasoph, director of the Open Visions forum at Fairfield University, scheduled a debate between Monica Crowley and Mika Brzezinski (Mon., Oct 27 at the Quick Center), it wasn't exactly a catfight he was looking for.

"We're looking at a debate held a hair's breadth from the elections," says Eliasoph. "I don't think they'll be changing anyone's minds, but it will certainly be interesting to watch."

Eliasoph will moderate the debate between the two broadcast personalities from opposite corners of the political ring.

In the left corner, representing Democrat Barack Obama, is Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe and daughter of Jimmy Carter's national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.

In the right corner, representing Republican John McCain, is Monica Crowley, a Fox News political analyst and talk-radio host. Crowley served as a foreign policy assistant to former President Richard Nixon from 1990 until his death in 1994.

"They are not serving as surrogates but are here to articulate all of the attitudes representing the traditional left/right," says Eliasoph. 

Mika might not, as Elisoph says, be officially serving as an Obama surrogate in the sense that the campaign didn't delegate her to appear.  But in "representing" Obama, and articulating "all of the attitudes representing the traditional left," it's a distinction without much of a difference.

Joe should have a field day with this when he returns to the show!

I Wonder: Since Mika is apparently free under NBC/MSNBC rules to appear in an explicitly partisan role, should we be expecting, say, Andrea Mitchell or why not Brian Williams to turn up on Obama's behalf?  How do they roll at 30 Rock?

UPDATE | 10-23: University Says Mika 'Will Not In Any Way Represent Any One Particular Candidate'

I've received this message from Joan Grant, a publicist at Fairfield University, stating that Mika will not be representing Obama [emphasis added]:

Mika Brzezinski and Monica Crowley were invited to speak at a pre-election
lecture at Fairfield University to share their wisdom, experience and
impartiality as journalists with our students and our community audience.

We expect that their views will differ on certain issues having to do with
the 2008 presidential campaign and election.  Indeed, we expect all who
attend, to embrace varying points of view and some audience members will be
undecided.  Our aim in inviting these two journalists is to present
non-partisan, yet informed information that will impact our audience.

Ms. Brzezinski has been clear that she will speak as a journalist and offer
her insights as an observer.  In general, she holds a liberal political
view, but she does not in any way represent any one particular candidate.
Her impartiality is widely accepted and known to those who are familiar with her and her work. It is regrettable that anyone has or will feel the need to misrepresent the nature of her talk
and we are confident that partisan rancor will go begging at this event.

As I mentioned in my reply to Ms. Grant, my item was based on the article in the local newspaper about the upcoming event that, having interviewed the event organizer, reported that Mika would be "representing Democrat Barack Obama."

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.