On Thursday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Kristen Welker only managed to give 23 seconds to the State Department buying up $70,000 worth of President Obama's various books. However, on October 21, investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff offered a full report about Herman Cain's presidential campaign buying copies of the businessman's new book.
Isikoff portrayed the large purchase of Cain's book as a scandal and even a potential violation of campaign finance laws: "That means profits for Cain himself and could run afoul of campaign laws, say watchdog groups." In contrast, Welker described the Obama book buying in a single sentence, followed by a sound bite of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: "The White House didn't have anything to do with this..."
Welker mentioned the Obama book scandal in the midst of detailing "damage control" being done by Republican presidential candidates. Meanwhile, ABC and CBS ignored the story all together.
In the first half of her report on Today, Welker touted the President's proposal to reduce student loan payments and avoided including any criticism of the plan: "In Denver on Wednesday he unveiled a student loan relief program and also tried to re-energize one of his core constituencies, young voters....he will use executive action to speed up a program already approved by Congress that could help as many as seven million student loan holders."
Here is a full transcript of Welker's October 27 report:
MATT LAUER: Now to politics and the presidential race. President Obama is back at the White House this morning after wrapping up his three-day trip out west while one of his Republican rivals was forced to do a little damage control on Wednesday. NBC's Kristen Welker has more on that. Kristen, good morning to you.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Drowning in Debt; Obama Unveils Plan to Help Students Pay For College]
KRISTEN WELKER: Good morning to you, Matt. President Obama is back to business at the White House today with a full schedule. In Denver on Wednesday he unveiled a student loan relief program and also tried to re-energize one of his core constituencies, young voters.
BARACK OBAMA: Student loans, the whole four years.
WELKER: At the University of Illinois at Chicago, Andrea Watson is graduating in December, burdened with $40,000 in student debt.
ANDREA WATSON: It's very intimidating and it's very scary to know that before I even get that first real career job I'm just going to have thousands and thousands of dollars over my head.
OBAMA: Hello, Denver!
WELKER: President Obama said he will use executive action to speed up a program already approved by Congress that could help as many as seven million student loan holders.
OBAMA: College isn't just one of the best investments you can make in your future, it's one of the best investments America can make in our future, so we want you in school.
WELKER: The President's action will allow graduates to consolidate certain federal loans to get lower monthly interest rates and it will cap student loan payments at 10% of a graduate's salary.
GARY BURTLESS [BROOKINGS INSTITUTION]: Knowing that there's a limit on how much they have to repay in a given month, that depends on how much they're earning in that month, should relieve a lot of people's anxiety about whether they can afford higher education.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE; Decision 2012; Perry, Cain Do Damage Control on Campaign Trail]
WELKER: Meanwhile, on the GOP campaign trail, Texas Governor Rick Perry, after earlier questioning President Obama's birth place, did a little damage control, saying he has no doubt that President Obama is an American citizen. Herman Cain gave the keynote speech to a Tea Party rally in Texas Tuesday and was immediately followed by Tea Party member Apostle Claver.
APOSTLE CLAVER: If anybody is a racist it's the Democratic Party that's the racist.
WELKER: In a statement to NBC News, a spokesman for Cain said in part, "Our campaign is all about promoting civil dialogue."
And responding to a published report that the U.S. State Department has purchased over $70,000 worth of books President Obama has written, White House spokesman Jay Carney:
JAY CARNEY: The White House didn't have anything to do with this, and I think it's an embassy by embassy bad decision based on what they think is, in buying books, what makes sense for them in terms of advancing American foreign policy interests.
WELKER: And GOP candidate Michele Bachmann mailed it in on Wednesday, literally mailed in a filing fee and other forms to New Hampshire officials so that her name can appear on the primary ballot there. This after five of her paid staffers in New Hampshire resigned, citing lack of support and poor communication. Matt.
LAUER: Kristen Welker at the White House this morning. Kristen, thank you very much.