Tom Brokaw appeared on Tuesday's Today show to offer his analysis of Barack Obama's Libya policy, as well as his sympathy for a president who has experienced more "unexpected circumstances" than any Oval Office occupant has seen in his "adult lifetime." Today co-host Matt Lauer prompted the former NBC Nightly News anchor to tell the audience what he told him right before going on air - that he couldn't "recall a time where a president has faced a confluence of events, like the confluence of events taking place right now."
Brokaw, who did qualify his response noting that FDR did have his share of "challenges," went on to specify that from the Libya crisis, to the disaster in Japan, to the budget fight he's never seen a president have it so bad, as seen in the following March 29 Today show exchange:
MATT LAUER: You mentioned something to me when you first walked in the studio this morning. You said that you haven't, in your memory, you can't recall a time where a president has faced a confluence of events, like the confluence of events taking place right now. Just explain that.
TOM BROKAW: Well in my adult lifetime. Certainly FDR did have these challenges. But in my adult lifetime and as a reporter, here you have a president who has two wars underway, is engaged in really what is a third war. The world's third largest economy, Japan, has been gravely wounded by a tsunami and an earthquake - now has a nuclear meltdown. One of the principle members of the President's national security team said to me last night, "I'm more worried about that, than I am about Libya." And then we have, here at home, a recession that we cannot completely get out of yet. And political paralysis in Washington over the budget. All of that has arrived at, at the Oval Office, at the same time. Now when presidents get elected, that's their job. Is to take on the big, the big assignments, the big challenges. But there have been few that have come as swiftly as all of these have from unexpected circumstances.
LAUER: Tom Brokaw, Tom always good to have you here and lend your perspective. I appreciate it.
BROKAW: Great, my pleasure Matt.
—Geoffrey Dickens is the Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here