After Michelle Obama's Monday night speech at the Democratic National Convention, ABC and NBC mentioned her “for the first time in my adult lifetime I'm proud of my country” previous slap at the United States, but in the context of how she resolved any doubts. ABC's George Stephanopoulos declared:
“Tonight, there was no doubt. The money line in this speech was that line when she said, 'that is why I love this country,' and she lingered.” Noting how “we heard the word 'America' or 'American' or 'Americans' 12 times,” NBC's Chuck Todd decided “this is definitely a response in some ways to that whole kerfuffle that she created for herself, six or eight months ago, about being proud to be an American.”
CBS didn't touch on the topic during its prime time hour, though during an interview with Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Katie Couric described Mrs. Obama not as controversial, but as “slightly controversial.” In a taped session later with Craig Robinson, Michelle's older brother, Couric wondered: “What one word would you like viewers all across the country to use to describe your sister?” When he suggested “sincere,” Couric agreed: “That's a good word.”
On the ideological labeling front, Ted Kennedy's appearance the hour before, highlights of which led all three broadcast networks at 10 PM EDT, failed to prompt a single liberal label on ABC or CBS, but NBC applied the tag three times, two of those to describe Kennedy as a “liberal lion.” (CNN and MSNBC provided scattered liberal labeling.)
Earlier in the night, ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News ran glowing profiles of Michelle Obama, both of which showed the “for the first time...proud of my country” soundbite. The NBC Nightly News did not air a profile of her and so did not air the soundbite.
ABC News, after Michelle Obama's Monday, August 25 speech at the Pepsi Center in Denver:
DIANE SAWYER: And also talking about her love of America several times. As we know, coming into the convention she had two high numbers, right George, a 51 percent favorable number, but also a 30 percent unfavorable.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And a lot that was because of that comment she made during the course of this campaign where she said “the first time I was proud of my country” was during this election. Tonight, there was no doubt. The money line in this speech was that line when she said, 'that is why I love this country,' and she lingered.
Couric to Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius: “Now this is a big night for Michelle Obama, his wife, who's been slightly controversial. What do you think she needs to do tonight to win people over?”
Couric's questions to Michelle's brother, Craig Robinson:
- Very few people know Michelle Obama as well as you do. How would you describe her?
- You all didn't have a lot of advantages growing up.
- This whole thing must be quite a head trip for all of you. But particularly for Senator Obama himself. How has he changed through this process, do you think?
- After this speech tonight, what one word would you like viewers all across the country to use to describe your sister?
[Craig Robinson: You know, there is no real one word. But my sister, if nothing else, is very sincere.]
That's a good word.
NBC News, as provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
BRIAN WILLIAMS, AT 10:01 PM EDT: After being introduced by Caroline Kennedy after a film by the filmmaker Ken Burns, the liberal lion from Massachusetts, the senior Senator from the Bay State, his voice reedy and his hair thinning, came out to accept the thunderous ovation from this crowd, invoking his own themes and those of his late brother.
WILLIAMS, AT 10:11 PM EDT: There was no mistaking when the unofficial start to this gathering was. It was during that film, the tribute to the liberal lion from the Bay State that really was the kickoff. Republicans will surely have their moment. This one belonged to the Democrats tonight.
WILLIAMS, AT 10:14 PM: This thing kicked off with the tribute to Senator Kennedy....What a beginning to tonight. There’s no other figure in American politics quite like him, certainly nothing in front of this partisan audience.
TOM BROKAW: Well, no, and what he can do is coalesce the traditional liberal wing of this party around Barack Obama, unlike anyone else.
After Michelle Obama's address, about 10:55 PM EDT:
WILLIAMS: Chuck Todd, your feelings, having listened to Michelle Obama?
CHUCK TODD: Well, it was interesting, we heard the word “America” or “American” or “Americans” 12 times. She said the word “values” a number of times. We heard her refer to “blue collar people,” “working class folks,” people “working on the night shift.” Brian, this is definitely a response in some ways to that whole kerfuffle that she created for herself, six or eight months ago, about being proud to be an American.