Valerie Plame: Time's Person of the Year?

Jim Kelly, Managing Editor of Time magazine, appeared on Friday's Today show. The segment, airing just prior to 8AM, teased the identity of Time’s "Person of the Year" and indicated it might be a choice that would make liberals very happy. Kelly listed two finalists from the world of politics: President Bush and Valerie Plame. He noted that Bush "hasn’t had a very good year" and then added, "this would not be the first time we put the President on with a bad year. Lyndon Johnson was on in '67 with the war in Vietnam and bad opinion polls." Kelly appeared to be much more intrigued by Valerie Plame as a candidate: "Valerie Plame really interests me because without Valerie Plame there's no Patrick Fitzgerald. there's no Karl Rove in trouble."

Kelly recounted meeting Plame a few months ago, describing her as a "absolutely charming, really interesting person." Matt Lauer jumped in and asked, "But wouldn’t it be kind of different? I mean, she didn’t do anything on purpose to be put in that position. And shouldn’t someone have to initiate some kind of behavior or some kind of action?" Kelly noted this and replied, "Well, that’s fair enough. You could do Patrick Fitzgerald, I suppose."

A transcript, of the relevant portion of the session in which both Lauer and Couric appeared with Kelly:

Katie Couric: "In 1927 Time magazine put Charles Lindberg on their cover its final edition of the year, called him their man of the year and a tradition was born. The honor has been bestowed on leaders, Presidents, and peacemakers. Jim Kelly is Time magazine's Managing Editor and he's here to reveal this year's finalists for Person of the Year....I know you've got six finalists and they represent sort of a wide variety of potential people. Let's start with the world of politics. You have two. You have President Bush and Valerie Plame."

Jim Kelly: "Right, well President Bush hasn't had a very good year. But this would not be the first time we put the President on with a bad year. Lyndon Johnson was on in '67 with the war in Vietnam and bad opinion polls. Valerie Plame really interests me because without Valerie Plame there's no Patrick Fitzgerald, there's no Karl Rove in trouble. And I met Valerie Plame for the first time a few months ago. She is an absolutely charming, really interesting person. And that would be an interesting way to tell the story."

Matt Lauer: "But wouldn't it be kind of different, though? I mean, she didn't do anything on purpose to be put in that position. And shouldn't someone have to initiate some kind of behavior or some kind of action?"

Kelly: "Well, that's fair enough. You could do Patrick Fitzgerald, I suppose. I was just struck by just how unlikely a person like Valerie Plame is to be a part of this whole investigation."

Couric. "She really opened up the floodgates."

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org