The broadcast networks gleefully reported the White House Easter festivities on Monday evening while ignoring President Obama's new plan to step around Congress and consider clemency for thousands of drug offenders.
On their evening newscasts, both CBS and NBC smiled upon Obama reading "Where the Wild Things Are" to children, with CBS capturing the moments using a photo album graphic. NBC's Brian Williams chuckled that Obama, with his dramatic narrating of the story, "left it all on the South Lawn."
"A lot of people were struck by this image today from the White House annual Easter Egg Roll. It shows the first couple enjoying a warm intimate moment but wait, who is that behind them?" Williams asked of the Easter Bunny standing behind the President and First Lady.
Meanwhile, in a new initiative the Justice Department expects thousands of new requests for clemency from drug offenders and Obama plans to use his power to pardon. Fox News reported the administration's initiative during the 6 p.m. ET hour of Special Report. A former Bush deputy assistant attorney general called it "a pretty radical departure" from the normal use of presidential pardons.
Later on the Kelly File, National Review's Andrew McCarthy said that Obama will be circumventing Congress to change a punishment he doesn't like:
"So the pardon power is going to be his way of rewriting the federal narcotics laws which he personally thinks are too severe. So it evidently doesn't matter both that Congress has written these laws, that trials have taken place under these laws, and that his core constitutional responsibility is to take care that those laws be faithfully executed. He's going to rewrite them unilaterally."
McCarthy explained why it is a "massive abuse" of the President's power to pardon:
"The President has enormous power. And the pardon power's there for good reason. If in individual cases, injustice has been done, if there are mitigating circumstances in a case that warrant a correction, that's why the President has the power. But he's not taking about individual cases here. He's talking about a category of federal law that he philosophically disagrees with. So he's essentially going to rewrite Congress laws by springing everyone. This is not about individual justice in cases and mitigating mistakes or hardships. This is about rewriting federal law."
Below is a transcript of the network reports on the White House Easter Egg Roll:
6:52 p.m. EST
SCOTT PELLEY: President Obama presided over the annual Easter Egg Roll, kids pushing eggs with spoons in a race across the White House lawn. But the dramatic highlight today was the President reading the children's book "Where the Wild Things Are." He really got into it.
BARACK OBAMA: And they gnashed their terrible teeth – let's hear them – (gnarls). And they rolled their terrible eyes! Roll your eyes!
PELLEY: The wild things were tamed, the President said, through the magic of staring.
OBAMA: Who wants to have a staring contest with me for a second?
PELLEY: All the kids did, and they lived happily ever.
7:22 p.m. EST
BRIAN WILLIAMS: A lot of people were struck by this image today from the White House annual Easter Egg Roll. It shows the first couple enjoying a warm intimate moment but wait, who is that behind them? And how is an Easter bunny who we love allowed to look so menacing? Speaking of menacing, the President gave his annual reading of "Where the Wild Things Are" to a group of little kids, and he seemed to really own it this year. He left it all on the South Lawn.
6:52 p.m. EST
DIANE SAWYER: Our "Instant Index" tonight starts at the White House with a little something different at the annual Easter Egg Roll. First Lady Michelle Obama, the President, and the Easter Bunny, hand on heart for the National Anthem, and 30,000 kids and families this year. And in the spirit of Mrs. Obama's campaign for healthy kids, amid the eggs, Yoga. And there were also Kale smoothies along with Peeps.