NBC Highlights Michelle Obama's Spin: Talking About Wright 'Doesn't Help Kids'

The Obama campaign has chosen NBC's Today show as the venue to try to move beyond the Jeremiah Wright controversy and a preview aired on Wednesday's Nightly News, of the session to air Thursday morning, showcased Barack and Michelle Obama making their case. While Meredith Vieira apparently did ask Barack Obama why he had not denounced Wright sooner, Nightly News viewers heard Barack Obama boast in response that he had resisted doing the “politically expedient” and Michelle Obama resorting to a plea reminiscent of the Clinton era:
We got to move forward. You know, this conversation doesn't help my kids, you know. It doesn't help kids out there who are looking for us to make decisions and choices about how we're going to better fund education.
Anchor Brian Williams set up the story by relating how “Barack and Michelle Obama sat down with Meredith Vieira from Today on NBC as they try to put the drama over their former pastor behind them.” Andrea Mitchell explained Obama was “clearly trying to move past the controversy over the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, but when pressed, explaining why he didn't denounce his former pastor sooner.”

Mitchell moved on to comments on Wright made by Senator Hillary Clinton, which came in what Williams had described as “an unusual setting” -- an interview with FNC's Bill O'Reilly.

Transcript of most of the story on the Wednesday, April 30 NBC Nightly News:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: We turn now to the presidential campaign. Barack and Michelle Obama sat down with Meredith Vieira from Today on NBC as they try to put the drama over their former pastor behind them. At the same time, Senator Hillary Clinton, in an unusual setting, repeated some of her criticism of the whole situation. Our report on politics tonight from NBC's Andrea Mitchell.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Barack and Michelle Obama today campaigning together in Indiana.

BARACK OBAMA AT CAMPAIGN EVENT: The situation with Reverend Wright is difficult. I won't lie to you.

MITCHELL: Before sitting down for an exclusive joint interview with Meredith Vieira for the Today show tomorrow.

BARACK OBAMA, IN TODAY INTERVIEW: This is somebody who married Michelle and I.

MITCHELL: Clearly trying to move past the controversy over the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, but when pressed, explaining why he didn't denounce his former pastor sooner.

BARACK OBAMA: If I wanted to be politically expedient, I would have distanced myself and denounced him right away. Right? That would have been the easy thing to do, that would be the standard stock political advice. I don't think anybody who watched me yesterday thought I was being calculating because it obviously wasn't an easy thing to do.

MICHELLE OBAMA: You know what I think, Meredith? We got to move forward. You know, this conversation doesn't help my kids, you know. It doesn't help kids out there who are looking for us to make decisions and choices about how we're going to better fund education.

MITCHELL: Also in Indiana today, Hillary Clinton, who was campaigning again skyrocketing gas prices, but criticized Obama for not quitting his church sooner when pushed during an interview with Bill O'Reilly on Fox.

HILLARY CLINTON ON FNC: I'm going to leave it up to voters to decide.

BILL O'REILLY: But what do you think as an American. You're an American.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, what I said when I asked directly is that I would not have stayed in that church. I think it's offensive and outrageous and, you know, I'm going to express my opinion. Others can express theirs.

MITCHELL: Clinton is courting O'Reilly's viewers, even though he has been one of her harshest critics....
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center