"Nightline" anchor Terry Moran, who has been gushing over Barack Obama from the very start, filed an enthusiastic report on Monday's show and asserted that "confidence is what President-elect Obama is all about." Over video of the train ride that took the Democrat to Washington, the veteran ABC correspondent cooed, "It has been a grand journey all the way to the great moment tomorrow."
During the segment, which recounted how Obama was preparing to assume the presidency, Moran only talked to advisors and fans of the (then) President-elect. After one supporter, who accompanied Obama on his train ride, declared that they were all one big family, the "Nightline" anchor dutifully recited, "That's the spirit his advisers say he wants to summon in the nation when he speaks for the first time as president tomorrow."
After talking to senior political advisor David Axelrod, Moran rhapsodized, "So, Barack Obama approaches the presidency with confidence, at peace." Showing concern, however, he asserted, "But if you look closely, you can already see how the office he has sought, and tomorrow assumes, is changing him...He's gone a little gray."
Moran has been touting the greatness of Obama for quite some time. Just after the election of the candidate, on the November 5, 2008 "Nightline," he noted the fact that "so many people greeted this election as a human rights milestone and a repudiation of the deeply unpopular President George W. Bush."
Going all the way back to November 6, 2006, NewsBusters readers will remember Moran's most famous example of adulation. Pondering a 2008 run, Moran raved:
TERRY MORAN: You can see it in the crowds. The thrill, the hope. How they surge toward him. You're looking at an American political phenomenon. In state after state, in the furious final days of this crucial campaign, Illinois Senator Barack Obama has been the Democrat's not-so-secret get-out-the-vote weapon. He inspires the party faithful and many others, like no one else on the scene today...And the question you can sense on everyone's mind, as they listen so intently to him, is he the one? Is Barack Obama the man, the black man, who could lead the Democrats back to the White House and maybe even unite the country?
A transcript of the January 19 segment, which aired at 11:35pm, follows:
TERRY MORAN: What a thrill it is to be in Washington tonight. This city is buzzing out there, even in the cold and the reason, of course, is that here, [pointing to the Capitol] just over there, in a little over 12 hours Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. He faces huge challenges, of course, but what a moment it will be. The nation's first black president taking the oath of office on capitol steps built by slaves with his hand to the same Bible Abraham Lincoln used at his first inauguration. It is a very public moment. And a very private one. [B-roll of Obama helping out at a charitable event.] That's your next president there, the guy hanging the curtains. Barack Obama spent his last day before assuming the biggest political office in the world rolling up his sleeves in volunteer service.
PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: This is good practice because I'm moving into a new house tomorrow. [He's painting now.] May have to do a few touch ups here.
MORAN: This morning, he was sprucing up a dorm room in an emergency center for homeless teens in Washington. He approached his work with confidence.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: But, seriously, you knocked it out kind of fast. What is your technique?
OBAMA: Well, you know, I mean, seriously, this isn't like rocket science. You take the pole and the roller and then you roll.
MORAN: As he prepares to take office, confidence- what seems to be an inner serenity about the challenges ahead-
OBAMA: It was very nice to meet you.
MORAN: -confidence is what President-elect Obama is all about.
VALERIE JARRETT (Incoming White House senior advisor): He's at peace. He really is.
MORAN: Valerie Jarrett is one of Obama's longest serving aides and a close friend of the Obama family for almost 20 years. She will be a senior adviser in his White House. Where does that come from? That sense of calm, that sense of inner groundedness? [sic]
JARRETT: Yeah, I think it starts with disposition. I think that he was raised by people who loved him dearly, who believed in him, who taught him basic values of hard work and responsibility and obligation to give back and his mom who was kind of the kindest person he ever knew. He always says how just wonderfully deep her spirit was and how she really raised him to care about the important things in life. He's got Michelle who helps keeps him grounded each day.
MORAN: And today, they were both out there, the next president and the first lady, volunteering. Obama had called for this day of service across the country, a way of celebrating the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday, invoking the spirit of the civil rights leader.
OBAMA: On day where we remember not just a dreamer, but a doer. An actor. Somebody who dedicated his life to working at the grass roots level on behalf of change. It is fitting that all of you today commemorated Dr. King and got involved in this process of remaking America.
MORAN: The President-elect's friends and closest advisers say the biggest change in Obama since the election is his palpable happiness at being reunited with his family after two years on the campaign trail. Senior adviser David Axelrod has also known Obama for years, was at his side the whole campaign.
DAVID AXELROD (senior political advisor): Barack Obama's never someone who gets too high or too low, but now that his family is around all the time, there's a lightness of spirit there, even as he ponders the difficult issues he's going to deal with.
MORAN: The Obama family was clearly having a ball at yesterday's star-studded concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial-
[Clip of U2]
MORAN: -which culminated in U2 performing the song that had become a staple at Obama campaign events, "City of Blinding Lights".
AXELROD: I think the concert on Sunday was something he relished and afterwards, I mean, he said, "Well, you can't beat that."
MORAN: It has been a grand journey all the way to the great moment tomorrow. Over the weekend, a train trip from Philadelphia to Washington, all the way joined by people Obama had met on the campaign trail around the country. You had fun on this train?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh, we have had a blast. We're like one great big family here.
MORAN: One big family. That's the spirit his advisers say he wants to summon in the nation when he speaks for the first time as president tomorrow. What does he want to accomplish in this speech?
AXELROD: It will be a speech about where we are as a country. But it's also going to be a speech about who we are as a people and how over the course of two centuries we have become who we are.
MORAN: So, Barack Obama approaches the presidency with confidence, at peace. But if you look closely, you can already see how the office he has sought, and tomorrow assumes, is changing him.
OBAMA: Hello, America.
MORAN: He's gone a little gray.
JARRETT: He has gone a little gray.
MORAN: Do you expect him to be white in four years?
JARRETT: Well, that's what tends to happen to you. But, I think men get away with looking more distinguished with the gray hair, but we have noticed.
MORAN: You rib him 'bout it a little bit?
JARRETT: Of course, every chance I get. He says he's earned each and every one of the gray hairs. So, we hope he'll continue to do that.
MORAN: Well, they all go gray, it seems to come with the office he assumes tomorrow.