ABC's Bill Weir Glows Over Obama's 'Transcendent' Night of 'Communal Joy'
"Good Morning America" reporter Bill Weir gushed on Wednesday morning about the "transcendent" reaction to Senator Barack Obama's presidential victory. Discussing Tuesday night's jubilant crowds in New York City, where the ABC program is produced, Weir described the "melting pot of communal joy."
Weir enthused that the celebration was "the kind not seen on New Year's Eve or championship parades. At the crossroads of the world, voices from around the world shouted of the greatness of America." He added, "When the announcement was made, literal dancing in the streets...And people were locking in embraces, watching the speech there as well."
The journalist even recounted how he attempted to remind an African American mother of America's history with slavery. After this woman and her daughter saw a graphic on a jumbotron of all the presidents, one that included Obama as the nation's 44th commander in chief, Weir went over to the pair and attempted to invoke a negative reaction. He explained, "And I leaned over and said, you know, 12 of those men owned slaves. And the mother turned to me and said, 'That stain is washed.'"
A transcript of the segment, which occurred at 7:32am on November 5, follows:
SAWYER: But, first, lets get more of a sense of what was going on in America's streets and across the nation as Americans came out in millions to mark the historic election. Joining us now with all the highlights from across the country, GMA weekend anchor Bill Weir. Bill?
BILL WEIR: Diane, as you know so well, when you work here in the crossroads of the world, you get used to group jubilation in various forms. But last night was transcendent. It was something else entirely. But, this was the site of just one party. For Barack Obama supporters last night, the center of the universe was Chicago. He drew six-figure crowds on the campaign trail. So, it was hardly shocking when 150,000 packed Grant Park, in Obama's hometown of Chicago. All of them, a little less nervous, a little more hopeful, with every state called, until about 10:00 local time, when history was announced.
CHARLIE GIBSON: Barack Obama will be the 44th president of the United States.
WEIR: And tears began to flow. At Shiloh church, in the nation's capital, An explosion of emotion. It spilled down Pennsylvania Avenue, to the gates of the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We all did it! You! You! You!
WEIR: And from Morehouse College in Atlanta, to Martin Luther King Boulevard in Harlem, African-Americans let fly shouts of joy and relief 200 years in the making. But 60 percent of Obama's votes came from white people in places like San Diego and Seattle. And in the heart of New York City, a melting pot of communal joy. And your thoughts on this historic moment?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh, we are so excited.
SECOND UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: This is a day the Lord has made.
WEIR: The kind not seen on New Year's Eve or championship parades. At the crossroads of the world, voices from around the world shouted of the greatness of America. And it really came in ebbs and flows. When the announcement was made, literal dancing in the streets and then, it calmed down. And people were locking in embraces, watching the speech there as well. But, the one moment, Diane, that will be forever seared in my memory. I happened to be watching an African-American mother and daughter and their knees literally buckled. And I looked up at our jumbotron, to see what caused it. And it was this graphic that you put together of the now 44 presidents of the United States. And when they recognized that image, it was- it was convulsions, sobs and laughter at the same time. And I leaned over and said, you know, 12 of those men owned slaves. And the mother turned to me and said, 'That stain is washed.' Diane?
SAWYER: Oh my, Bill. Well, I wanted to put that page up, because I was always struck in high school looking at the history books when I got to that page of American presidents and they all looked so much the same.