Back in 2009, Brian Williams literally bowed to Barack Obama. Today, he's telling like it is from the Obama campaign trail: the size of the crowds is way down from last time around, and the candidate is not the same man he was in '08.
This is a stunning admission from a man seen as deeply in the Obama tank. Williams made his admission to Chuck Todd on today's Daily Rundown. Takeaway line: "palpably obvious to you: this is not '08. These are not the crowds, this is not the candidate." View the shocking video after the jump.
Let's roll out the old cliche: if Barack Obama has lost Brian Williams, has he lost America? Watch the video and listen to Williams give an assessment that has got to be sending shudders through the Obama camp.
CHUCK TODD: You know, everybody wants to know crowd size. What was it like? What kind of crowd did they get last night? What have you been seeing? Do you feel like there is enthusiasm on the trail from what you watched?
BRIAN WILLIAMS: What we're doing out here is basically devoting half of our "Rock Center" broadcast tonight to a minute by minute what-it's-like. We asked the Romney campaign for the same access, to do the same thing with them. And one of the points I'm going to make: palpably obvious to you, this is not '08. These are not the crowds, this is not the candidate. He's an incumbent looking for re-election. The country's been through a financial shock. And we're in kind of an outdoor park courtyard. It's hard to say any of this with clarity, with surety. but last time this could have been 50,000 people and today I think we're pushing five. So it's just a different time, a different campaign. They're slugging it out. It really will be hand-to-hand combat in the battlegrounds.