In an odd, non-sequitur of a segment, co-host Diane Sawyer kicked off the 8:30 hour of Friday's "Good Morning America" by reading aloud from an essay that President-elect Barack Obama wrote about Abraham Lincoln for a 2005 issue of Time magazine. Stopping the show cold for a minute and 22 seconds, she solemnly began, "...There was something that made us all stop and think. And you know, it's 60 days now. 60 days until the inauguration of a new president." [audio available here]
Then, Sawyer gravely announced that Obama had, in fact, written an essay: "And we saw that President-elect Obama has a favorite photograph, which he looks at. And here are the words that he wrote in Time magazine. An essay." To music that seemed reminiscent of the Ken Burns "Civil War" documentary, with images of Lincoln appearing on screen, the GMA host recited the words of the President-elect's Time article.
She closed by marveling at Obama's contention that President Lincoln did not allow the problems of his day to become the strife of the future. Sawyer, cooed, "And I love that sentence. 'He did not pass the challenges on to a future generation.'" One wonders if reading from Obama essays, pronouncements and future books could become a regular feature on GMA? Furthermore, why, exactly, is GMA doing a live reading of a three year old essay? [H/T to NB reader katainkent.]
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 8:31am on November 21, follows:
DIANE SAWYER: But, we're going to take a second. Because, there was something that made us all stop and think. And you know, it's 60 days now. 60 days until the inauguration of a new president. And we were thinking what it would be like to be a president-elect facing that incredible responsibility. And we saw that President-elect Obama has a favorite photograph, which he looks at. And here are the words that he wrote in Time magazine. An essay. These are his words about that face and why it inspires him. 'As I look at his picture, it's the man and not the icon that speaks to me. It is those imperfections and the painful self-awareness of those failings etched in every crease of his face and reflected in those haunted eyes that make him so compelling. For when the time came to confront the greatest moral challenge this nation has ever faced, this all-too human man did not pass the challenge on to future generations. But I marvel at what gives me such hope is that this man could overcome depression, self-doubt and the constraints of biography and not only act decisively, but retain his humanity. He did not know how things would turn out. But he did his best.' And I love that sentence. 'He did not pass the challenges on to a future generation.'