In a campaign report for Friday's NBC Today, correspondent Peter Alexander touted a sound bite of President Obama telling CBS's Charlie Rose: "...the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people." Alexander added that the President wanted to tell, "A story that gives Americans a sense of 'unity' and 'optimism'..."
Immediately following that glowing description of Obama's communications style, Alexander lamented: "But Romney, who's relentlessly attacked the President for mishandling the economy, quickly pounced: 'Being president is not about telling stories,' Romney said in a statement, 'Being president is about leading.'"
What Alexander failed to mention was the Obama campaign's idea of "unity" and "optimism" is accusing Romney of being a felon. Something which Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter did on Thursday, as she ranted about Romney's time as CEO of Bain Capital.
Alexander did note how contentious the campaign was becoming, but only in general terms that put Romney on defense: "Still, with this campaign becoming bitterly personal Thursday, both sides accusing the other of lying, Romney was once again forced to defend his business experience..."
Seizing on rumors that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was high on Romney's short list of vice presidential running mates, Alexander speculated on potential GOP discord: "Rice has been seen as a long shot, because her pro-choice views on abortion clash with the Republican Party's conservative base.....many conservatives who already doubt Romney's conservative credentials would obviously be deeply upset if Rice were chosen."
Here is a full transcript of the July 13 report:
7:00AM ET TEASE:
MATT LAUER: Could it be Condi? Mitt Romney closer to naming his running mate and there's a new report that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is near the top of the list. This as former President Bill Clinton opens up to Savannah about the state of the presidential race.
7:04AM ET SEGMENT:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: In the presidential race we're learning more about when Mitt Romney will announce his choice for a running mate and just who that might be. NBC's Peter Alexander is here with the details. Peter, good morning to you.
PETER ALEXANDER: Savannah, nice to see you this morning. The intensity has really picked up in this race, with another furious back and forth Thursday. And now add into the mix the new VP speculation as well. Could Condoleezza Rice be Mitt Romney's running mate? This as the President makes a campaign swing through the critical battleground of Virginia today, after opening up about his biggest mistake as president.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Decision 2012; Obama Discusses His Biggest Mistake]
ALEXANDER: With the latest polls showing the presidential race neck and neck and the Obama and Romney campaigns at one another's throats again Thursday, the President made a rare concession in an interview with CBS News.
BARACK OBAMA: The mistake of my first couple of years was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that's important. But, you know, the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people.
ALEXANDER: A story that gives Americans a sense of "unity" and "optimism," the President said. But Romney, who's relentlessly attacked the President for mishandling the economy, quickly pounced: "Being president is not about telling stories," Romney said in a statement, "Being president is about leading." Still, with this campaign becoming bitterly personal Thursday, both sides accusing the other of lying, Romney was once again forced to defend his business experience, responding with this new ad.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Decision 2012; Romney Faces Questions on Bain, VP Pick]
Late Thursday, the Romney campaign tried to switch the topic, blasting this fundraising e-mail to supporters, offering them a chance to meet Romney's choice for vice president. And at almost exactly the same time, the conservative Drudge Report website, with close ties to the Romney campaign, insisted a surprise candidate is near the top of Romney's VP list, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice has been seen as a long shot, because her pro-choice views on abortion clash with the Republican Party's conservative base. And in March she denied any interest in serving as vice president during an interview with David Gregory.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: It's not for me. I love policy. I love public service. I'm awfully happy doing what I'm doing.
ALEXANDER: During a $4 million fundraising swing through Wyoming hosted by Dick Cheney Thursday, Romney praised the former vice president as a "great American leader," but didn't say a word about his own plans for a running mate. And we reached out to the campaign, the Romney campaign, late last night. A spokesperson told us they would not comment on the VP process, that's what they consistently tell us. But many conservatives who already doubt Romney's conservative credentials would obviously be deeply upset if Rice were chosen. As one conservative commentator tweeted, Savannah, last night: "Multiple assurances from team Romney tonight that Condi is not happening for VP." It would still be a big surprise if she was the choice.
GUTHRIE: Okay, so it's over before it begins. Peter Alexander, thank you so much.