President Obama is currently on a week-long tour of Asia and all three networks took the opportunity to promote the tenure of Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. On Thursday April 24, all three morning shows sat down with Kennedy and heaped praise on the long-time Democrat.
ABC’s Jonathan Karl and NBC’s Chuck Todd both used their interviews to plead for Kennedy to support Hillary Clinton’s prospective 2016 run for president, with Todd beaming that “Ambassador Kennedy said she was looking forward to Hillary Clinton running and thought she’d make a great candidate. [See video below.]
While CBS’s Major Garrett was the only reporter to not seek Kennedy’s endorsement of Clinton on CBS This Morning, he was just as over-the-top in his praise for the ambassador. Garrett trumpeted how “Her powerful name and Caroline Kennedy was greeted here like a celebrity” while cheering on how “Kennedy’s also realizing she attracts headlines here no matter what.
On Good Morning America, Jonathan Karl promoted how “ Throughout his state visit to Japan, President Obama has had his most famous ambassador at his side, Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John Kennedy. A notoriously private person, she now finds her self the most high-profile American in Japan.
The ABC reporter went on to hype how Kennedy “Endorsed Obama over Hillary Clinton in 2008 but told us she’s ready to support Hillary this time, if she runs...But then you can see yourself supporting her this time around?” Karl even felt the need to mention that “Although she once considered running for Senate she says that she is done with politics.
Karl beamed as Kennedy described jogging around the Japanese imperial palace and asked her “ Do people notice you when you’re out in your running clothes, jogging around the palace?
On Today, Chuck Todd followed Karl’s theme in pleading for a Clinton endorsement:
I also asked Caroline Kennedy whether she was ready to support Hillary Clinton in 2016 for president given that she did not do that in 2008 and instead picked Mr. Obama. While she was hesitant to get involved in the 2016 campaign, Ambassador Kennedy said she was looking forward to Hillary Clinton running and thought she’d make a great candidate.
The NBC reporter struck a similar tone to that of Karl by emphasizing that politics was not in Kennedy’s future: “Kennedy who considered running for the U.S. Senate in 2009 says politics is not in her future. Would you ever consider running again after this experience?
Todd’s promotional interview with Kennedy followed a segment on Today on Wednesday, April 23 when NBC’s Peter Alexander swooned that she was “more dignitary than diplomat” and hyped “the thousands who lined the streets here last fall to welcome Caroline Kennedy, riding in a horse drawn carriage.
See relevant transcripts below.
April 24, 2014
7:03 a.m. Eastern [2 min 31 seconds]
NATALIE MORALES: Well meantime it’s day two of President Obama’s trip to Asia. The president attending a state dinner at the imperial palace overnight. This after he held a news conference that included tough talk on the crisis in Ukraine. NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd is in Tokyo traveling with the president. Chuck, good morning,
CHUCK TODD: Well, good morning. It’s been a day filled with pageantry and diplomacy. The Japanese rolling out the red carpet for Mr. Obama, including that state dinner. But trailing the president in Asia has been the crisis in Ukraine. During his first full day in Japan the president was filled with tough talk. On behalf of Japan in support of their territorial dispute with China. And he took on Russia, admitting that Vladimir Putin would not abide by the new Geneva agreement over Ukraine and that further punishment of Russia is necessary.
BARACK OBAMA: We have been preparing for the prospect that we’re going to have to engage in further sanction. Those are teed up. It’s a matter of days not weeks.
TODD: But here in Japan diplomacy reigns. The president is relying on one of his most famous supporters, Ambassador Caroline Kennedy. NBC News sat down with the first-time diplomat who surprised many people by accepting the job. Why Japan?
CAROLINE KENNEDY: Well I think this is such an important country and it’s such an important region and I really couldn’t think of a more interesting place to serve.
TODD: How much Japanese did you know before coming here and how much do you know now?
KENNEDY: I knew not a lot before I came, and I still know not a lot. There’s a lot to learn. It’s a complicated language, but I think it gives you great insight into the culture.
TODD: Some of Kennedy’s words have been lost in translation. She angered some Japanese with a tweet condemning the traditional practice of dolphin hunting. Do you have any regrets about that tweet?
KENNEDY: No, absolutely not. That was U.S. policy.
TODD: Do you feel comfortable speaking your mind on some of these issues?
KENNEDY: Well I hope that I’m an effective ambassador and sometimes that means working behind the scenes and sometimes that means speaking out.
TODD: Still Kennedy who considered running for the U.S. Senate in 2009 says politics is not in her future. Would you ever consider running again after this experience?
KENNEDY: First of all, I wouldn’t consider running in Japan, no. I doubt that I would ever run in the United States either.
TODD: I also asked Caroline Kennedy whether she was ready to support Hillary Clinton in 2016 for president given that she did not do that in 2008 and instead picked Mr. Obama. While she was hesitant to get involved in the 2016 campaign, Ambassador Kennedy said she was looking forward to Hillary Clinton running and thought she’d make a great candidate. Back to you guys.
MORALES: Alright, Chuck Todd in Japan, thank you.
Good Morning America
April 24, 2014
7:03 a.m. Eastern [2 minutes 11 seconds]
ROBIN ROBERTS: And George now to President Obama’s tough talk on Russia. And raising the stakes in the war of words with President Putin, threatening consequences if they don’t back down in Ukraine. ABC’s Jon Karl is traveling with the president in Tokyo. Good morning, Jon.
JONATHAN KARL: Good morning Robin and George. As President Obama begins his week-long Asia trip here in Japan, he’s talking tough on Russia. Warning Vladimir Putin that new sanctions are teed up and ready to go if he doesn’t reverse course on Ukraine. At a joint press conference with Japan’s prime minister, President Obama warned he will soon slap more sanctions on Russia, if they don’t stop supporting Russian separatists in Ukraine.
BARACK OBAMA: This is a matter of days not weeks. Assuming that they do not follow through, we will follow through on what we said, which is that there will be additional consequences on the Russians.
KARL: Throughout his state visit to Japan, President Obama has had his most famous ambassador at his side, Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John Kennedy. A notoriously private person, she now finds her self the most high-profile American in Japan.
CAROLINE KENNEDY: It’s not about me. It’s about the United States. And so that’s a really wonderful, you know to be able to represent my country in a country that shares our most fundamental values.
KARL: In her first U.S. TV interviews since becoming ambassador, Kennedy talked about her life in Tokyo, on and off the job.
KENNEDY: Oh I love to run around the Imperial Palace and it’s just such an incredible thing to look at that.
KARL: Do people notice you when you’re out in your running clothes, jogging around the palace?
KENNEDY: It depends how fast or slow I’m running.
KARL: Ambassador Kennedy also talked a little politics with us. She endorsed Obama over Hillary Clinton in 2008 but told us she’s ready to support Hillary this time, if she runs.
KENNEDY: I’m sure she’s looking forward to being a grandmother. I know she’s got to decide soon. So, you know, I hope so.
KARL: But then you can see yourself supporting her this time around?
KARL: This is the very first time Caroline Kennedy has held public office. And will likely be the last time as well. Although she once considered running for Senate she says that she is done with politics. Robin and George?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, Jon thank you.
CBS This Morning
April 24, 2014
8:02 a.m. Eastern[2 min 40 seconds
NORAH ODONNELL: In Japan. President Obama says new sanctions are “teed up” if Russia takes any more steps to destabilize Ukraine. The president finished a busy day with a state dinner in Tokyo. Japan’s Emperor and Empress where there along with the prime minister. Earlier the president called for the two countries to work harder to finish an Asia Pacific trade agreement. Negotiations broke off today.
CHARLIE ROSE: The president’s visit to Japan is a high-profile occasion for his official representative. It’s a familiar role for Caroline Kennedy who’s quickly turned into a no-nonsense diplomat. Major Garrett is in Tokyo where he interviewed the new United States Ambassador. Major, good morning.
MAJOR GARRETT; Good morning. Her powerful name and Caroline Kennedy was greeted here like a celebrity. She talked to us about her decision to jump into some of the most culturally sensitive issues here in Japan and how she engages in diplomacy in a region increasingly on edge. Caroline Kennedy, part of American political royalty, is now President Obama’s eyes and ears in Tokyo.
CAROLINE KENNEDY: It’s a complicated region with a complicated history. North Korea is a threat that is, you know, causing great concern, I think for throughout the region and the world. That’s our number one security challenge here. But I think overall the U.S./Japan alliance is very strong.
GARRETT: Kennedy has tested that alliances publically opposing a longstanding Japanese tradition of dolphin hunting. And expressing disappointment with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for visiting a controversial war shrine. You have surprised some people by your outspokenness. Should they have been surprised?
KENNEDY: Well, the United States attracts attention here in Japan as it does around the world and so I think everything we do is scrutinized and publicized. And, you know, those are-I think those issues caught a lot of attention but, in fact, the more important issues are the things we’re working closely together on that don’t attract attention.
GARRETT: But the ambassador attracts attention everywhere and that means surmounting a significant language barrier. Been here three months, how’s your Japanese?
KENNEDY: My Japanese is-I’m working on it.
GARRETT: The best word you can say?
GARRETT: That means thank you, something that most Japanese are still saying to President Obama for sending such a close political ally and recognizable figure here as ambassador. Kennedy concedes it might be more difficult to be a diplomat to an ally than to a rival because every bit of criticism, no matter how small, attracts huge headlines. But of course Kennedy’s also realizing she attracts headlines here no matter what. Norah?
ODONNELL: Alright, Major arigato, thank you.