NBC Touts Hillary Clinton Gaining 'Strength' From Mandela While 'Under Daily Political Attack'

On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams gushed over a speech Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made on a trip to South Africa: "...she talked about the strength she received from Nelson Mandela back when she was first lady and the Clintons were under daily political attack."

Williams read a quote from Clinton: "I was beginning to get pretty hard inside. I was beginning to think, who do they think they are? What can I do to get even?" He then added: "She talked about Mandela's lesson of shedding bitterness and working toward reconciliation."

Williams fawning over Clinton citing Mandela was reminiscent of then-Dateline co-host Maria Shriver placing Clinton on the same level as Mandela during a January 1996 interview on NBC's Today:

In the book, one of the chapters of the book, you said the most important thing we can give a child is a shovel and I want to ask you to explain that in a second, but you also quote a letter in there that Nelson Mandela wrote to one of his daughters while he was in prison, and I'm paraphrasing a bit, but he wrote that there is no personal misfortune that one cannot turn into a personal triumph if one has the iron will and the necessary skills. You clearly have an iron will, you clearly are skilled. How are you going to turn this personal misfortune into a personal triumph?

On Wednesday, Williams began the brief news item about Clinton's trip by proclaiming: "First of all, she's been dancing up a storm. Probably a welcomed release in an exhausting job. At the latest celebration last night, the beat got intense and some near grinding broke out. The kind of thing Dean Acheson could only dream about in his day."


Here is a transcript of the August 8 report:

7:21PM ET

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Some frivolity but also seriousness during Secretary of State Clinton's visit to South Africa this week. First of all, she's been dancing up a storm. Probably a welcomed release in an exhausting job. At the latest celebration last night, the beat got intense and some near grinding broke out. The kind of thing Dean Acheson could only dream about in his day.

Later, at a speech at the University of the Western Cape, she talked about the strength she received from Nelson Mandela back when she was first lady and the Clintons were under daily political attack. She said, quote, "I was beginning to get pretty hard inside. I was beginning to think, who do they think they are? What can I do to get even?," close quote. She talked about Mandela's lesson of shedding bitterness and working toward reconciliation.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC