NBC Highlights (But ABC Skips) Obama Aide’s Love Child Scandal
Nine days after ABC announced on Good Morning America that financial correspondent Bianna Golodryga would be marrying top Obama official Peter Orszag, NBC’s Today made sure to highlight the revelation that the budget director has also fathered a child with his (now) ex-girlfriend. Good Morning America skipped this development, as did CBS’s Early Show.
Orszag, the director of the Office and Budget Management and his ex, Claire Milonas, released a statement on the birth of their daughter. In a possible attempt to embarrass rival GMA, Today touted the story with a graphic that screamed, "Oh Baby, Engaged Budget Czar Has Child With Other Woman."
Reporter Norah O’Donnell highlighted, "This comes just one week after the announcement that Orszag was getting engaged to ABC's Bianna Golodryga. She broke the news on national television." O'Donnell then played a clip of Golodryga discussing the engagement on GMA. NBC doesn’t often delight in awkward situations for the Obama administration. But the correspondent also added, "Simply put, this is an embarrassment for one of the President's top advisers and a member of his cabinet."
Today also featured a quote from Washington Post gossip columnist Amy Argetsinger. She mused, "Does this have anything to do with his job? No, I don't think so. It makes you wonder how he manages to get everything done, but he clearly is very good at managing his time."
Back on December 29, GMA anchors cheerfully touted the engagement of Golodryga and Orszag. Guest host Dan Harris cooed, "We should say his name is Peter Orszag. He's an economics advisor to President Obama, and congratulations to both of you." Golodryga herself enthused, "Thank you. Tall, dark, and able to say ‘Golodryga’ and spell it after the first date. That is a winner in my book."
A transcript of the January 07 segment, which aired at 7:12 am EST, follows:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: The White House budget director is making headlines, but it has nothing to do with government spending. His personal life is now front and center in the public eye. NBC's Norah O'Donnell is in Washington with more for us. Norah, good morning to you.
[On screen headline: "Oh Baby, Engaged Budget Czar Has Child With Other Woman"]
NORAH O'DONNELL: Good morning, Meredith. Simply put, this is an embarrassment for one of the President's top advisers and a member of his cabinet.
PETER ORSZAG, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: The package will be deficit-neutral.
O'DONNELL: Peter Orszag is the White House budget director, focused on policy.
ORSZAG: The budget that we are releasing this morning-
O'DONNELL: But now the personal life of the President's youngest cabinet member is in the public eye. The story broke in the New York Post Wednesday online, that the 41-year-old Orszag fathered a child out of wedlock with shipping heiress Claire Milonas. The news forced Orszag and his former girlfriend to put out a joint statement, saying quote, "We were in a committed relationship until the spring of 2009. In November, Claire gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Although we are no longer together, we are both thrilled she is happy and healthy." This comes just one week after the announcement that Orszag was getting engaged to ABC's Bianna Golodryga. She broke the news on national television.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, ABC NEWS: Thank you. Tall, dark and he can say Golodryga and spell it after the first date. That is a winner in my book!
O'DONNELL: A source close to Orszag says Orszag and his pregnant girlfriend broke up before he met his current fiancé eight months ago at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Orszag and his ex, stress this is a personal and private matter. Princeton educated with a stellar resume, Orszag is one of the President's top policy gurus.
AMY ARGETSINGER, WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Washington is a city of wonks and he was a very eligible wonk himself. He had a kind of nerdy, sexy Washington appeal. Rahm Emanuel said that he made nerdy sexy.
O'DONNELL: Even President Obama has called him a propeller head and used him in his stand-up jokes.
BARACK OBAMA: ABC is planning a series called "Dancing With the Czars." TLC's got something called "Jon and Kate Plus Peter Orszag."
O'DONNELL: Orszag was divorced in 2005 and has two children already. As head of the Office of Management and Budget, he is charged with drafting and selling the President's budget, which offers a blueprint of Obama's top priorities.
ARGETSINGER: Does this have anything to do with his job? No, I don't think so. It makes you wonder how he manages to get everything done, but he clearly is very good at managing his time.
O'DONNELL: And in fact, Orszag has to unveil the President's budget blueprint next month right after the State of the Union. Meredith?
VIEIRA: Alright, Norah O'Donnell, thank you very much.