NBC’s Holt Touts Hope Voters Will Think ‘Wow, We Might See the First Female President’ with Hillary

NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt led the network’s prime time Super Tuesday coverage in which he twice attempted to promote the belief that voters should come to the realization that they have the opportunity to elect the first female president after electing the first African-American in 2008. 

While awaiting Ted Cruz’s Super Tuesday speech, Holt turned to Today co-host Savannah Guthrie and exclaimed: “[E]ight years ago, we were talking about wow, we may see the first African-American President. After tonight, will people begin to talk in terms of wow, we might see the first female President?”

Surprisingly, Guthrie didn’t take the bait and instead noted that Clinton’s bid to play the female card in 2008 failed against then-Senator Obama and the point that Clinton’s gender hasn’t been as much of a story in the campaign due to the rise of Donald Trump. 

“I think what people are really going to be talking about is wow, we have a former reality star, this megabillionaire, Donald Trump, who is potentially redefining the Republican Party for a generation,” observed Guthrie. 

Roughly 20 minutes later, Holt again tried to gush over this possibility when the pair were joined by Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, and MSNBC political analyst Nicolle Wallace: “Savannah and I had a conversation earlier about, about whether she will, at some point, stand up and go, this could — I could be the first woman president. That has not been played out there in a large way.”

Once again, the liberal host in Guthrie flatly rejected Holt’s proclamation:

No, and I don't that that has turned out to be that compelling of a reason for females to vote for Hillary Clinton. I don't think they're necessarily making that assessment. There doesn't seem to be that excitement about that issue alone. There are a lot of reasons why women may want to vote for Hillary Clinton, but the fact of her femaleness does not appear to be the main driver. 

Holt’s argument was not lost on Robinson as he opined that it would in the general election as “the potential for a historic moment kind of dawns on everybody” by “becom[ing] more real and I think that does become an element of the campaign, even if she doesn't have to come back to it exclusively in every speech.”

The relevant portions of the transcript from NBC’s Super Tuesday coverage on March 1 can be found below.

NBC’s Super Tuesday
March 1, 2016
10:11 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: Let’s go back and listening to Hillary Clinton, eight years ago, we were talking about wow, we may see the first African-American President. After tonight, will people begin to talk in terms of wow, we might see the first female president? 

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: I don't know. It doesn't seem to have resinated that much. You know, eight years ago, after she lost the nomination to Barack Obama, there was some hand wringing in Clinton's quarters about maybe we should have played that out more. Maybe we should have played that female card. She’s done a little bit. She's dabbled with it. Its been overtaken by events and by events, I mean Donald Trump. I think what people are really going to be talking about is wow, we have a former reality star, this megabillionaire, Donald Trump, who is potentially redefining the Republican Party for a generation. This is where Chuck Todd starts talking about the Whigs in the 1800s and how the Republican Party is fundamentally changing and we're seeing — we're witnessing this tonight. This is history. 

(....)

10:36 p.m. Eastern

HOLT: Savannah and I had a conversation earlier about, about whether she will, at some point, stand up and go, this could — I could be the first woman president. That has not been played out there in a large way. 

GUTHRIE: No, and I don't that that has turned out to be that compelling of a reason for females to vote for Hillary Clinton. I don't think they're necessarily making that assessment. There doesn't seem to be that excitement about that issue alone. There are a lot of reasons why women may want to vote for Hillary Clinton, but the fact of her femaleness does not appear to be the main driver. 

EUGENE ROBINSON: It seems to me though, if she gets to the general election, that the potential for a historic moment kind of dawns on everybody. It becomes more real and I think that does become an element of the campaign, even if she doesn't have to come back to it exclusively in every speech. I think the other potential in the general election between Trump and Clinton would be for Latino voters to turn out for Clinton in historic numbers, in breakthrough numbers, in numbers that more approximate their weight in the population because, you know, usually the Latino's the biggest minority group in the country. Usually, the African American vote is — is often greater than the Latino vote in sheer numbers, and it's equal in weight. I think the Latino vote against Trump could be huge.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center