NBC's Mitchell Showcases Obama's Touching Moment

On Tuesday's "Today" show Andrea Mitchell highlighted John McCain's struggles, as he was forced to campaign in "red states Republicans don't usually have to defend," but when it came to Barack Obama, she promoted Obama's soft side as she aired a clip of the Democratic nominee hugging a tearful college student as she cooed: "During two days of campaigning in Ohio, the nation's economic crisis got personal when Obama met a 19-year-old nursing student named Hannah, already deep in debt with student loans."

Mitchell then followed that tease with the following back and forth between Obama and the student:

HANNAH: I'm paying for school myself, so-

BARACK OBAMA: How much, how much you in debt?

HANNAH: Right now about $24,000 and I'm only 19.

OBAMA: Alright well we're gonna try to see if we can provide you some relief, alright?

HANNAH: Yeah I need it because the grants aren't enough.

OBAMA HUGGING STUDENT: I know, I know! I appreciate it, c'mon. Nice to meet you.

HANNAH: Thank you.

As for the McCain campaign Mitchell noted, "Gone were last weeks' personal attacks against Barack Obama," but pointed out:

MITCHELL: While McCain and Sarah Palin soften the personal attacks they were accompanied by Hank Williams Jr., with new lyrics for his song "Family Tradition," attacking Obama and praising McCain and Palin.

HANK WILLIAMS JR SINGING: John and Sarah gonna tell you just what they think, they're not gonna blink! And they don't have radical friends to whom their careers are linked!

The following is the full segment as it occurred on the October 14, "Today" show:

MATT LAUER: Three weeks from today the nation will elect the next president and the candidates are hard at work revamping their messages. NBC's Andrea Mitchell is keeping track of all of this for us. Andrea, good morning to you.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Good morning, Matt. Well down in the polls campaigning now in two states, long considered Republican strongholds. John McCain is recasting himself as an underdog and a fighter. And today he will propose new tax cuts aimed at seniors and a capital gains tax cut among other ideas. But Barack Obama got there first on Monday, with some immediate steps for the troubled economy.

JOHN MCCAIN: Don't give up hope! Be strong! Have courage and fight!

MITCHELL: In one campaign speech John McCain used the word "fight," no less than 18 times.

MCCAIN: Fight for a new direction for our country. Fight for what's right for America. Fight to clean up the mess of corruption, infighting, and selfishness in Washington!

MITCHELL: In Virginia and North Carolina, Monday, red states Republicans don't usually have to defend. Gone were last week's personal attacks against Barack Obama. Even some Republicans say those backfired. Under a headline, "Fire the Campaign," commentator William Kristol wrote in the New York Times, "The McCain campaign is now close to being out-and-out dysfunctional." So now a toned down candidate is asking, "Whom do you trust to lead America through a crisis?"

MCCAIN: The national media has written us off. Senator Obama is measuring the drapes. But they forgot to let you decide. We got them just where we want 'em!

SARAH PALIN: Mr. Hank Williams Jr.!

MITCHELL: But while McCain and Sarah Palin soften the personal attacks they were accompanied by Hank Williams Jr., with new lyrics for his song "Family Tradition," attacking Obama and praising McCain and Palin.

HANK WILLIAMS JR SINGING: John and Sarah gonna tell you just what they think, they're not gonna blink! And they don't have radical friends to whom their careers are linked!

MITCHELL: In Ohio, Obama sounded different notes, trying to build on his lead with new proposals for the economy.

BARACK OBAMA: Senator McCain may be worried about losing an election but I'm worried about you losing your jobs. I'm worried about you losing your homes. I'm worried about you losing your life savings.

MITCHELL: Obama's fix, a 90 day ban on foreclosures for people trying to pay off their mortgages. A two year tax break for businesses that create new jobs. Penalty-free withdrawals from retirement accounts of up to $10,000 this year and next, similar to a McCain proposal. And short-term direct loans to cash-strapped state and municipal governments.

OBAMA: It's a plan that begins with one word that's on everybody's mind. And it's easy to spell: J-O-B-S. Jobs!

MITCHELL: During two days of campaigning in Ohio, the nation's economic crisis got personal when Obama met a 19-year-old nursing student named Hannah, already deep in debt with student loans.

(BEGIN CLIP)

HANNAH: I'm paying for school myself, so-

OBAMA: How much, how much you in debt?

HANNAH: Right now about $24,000 and I'm only 19.

OBAMA: Alright well we're gonna try to see if we can provide you some relief, alright?

HANNAH: Yeah I need it because the grants aren't enough.

OBAMA HUGGING STUDENT: I know, I know! I appreciate it, c'mon. Nice to meet you.

HANNAH: Thank you.

(END CLIP)

MITCHELL: McCain advisers hope that the economic plan that they unveil today will help restart their campaign before the self-described Republican underdog gets one more chance to take on Obama in the final debate of this campaign tomorrow night.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.