“The real lingering question for me is,” former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw asserted on the 5pm EDT Friday edition of MSNBC's Hardball, “was this a one-man band, or were there others in the administration who were linked to his efforts?” Brokaw added, as if it were the natural thing to wonder about: “And, of course, the question that will be raised by a lot of people not in any way fans of this administration, 'what did Dick Cheney know and when did he know it?'”
Brokaw, however, also criticized the news media for “all the speculation leading up to this” when “we ended up with one indictment today.” Looking forward, Brokaw predicted that “I don't think that he [Fitzgerald] has an indictment in mind for Karl Rove,” which, Brokaw noted, “is going to be an acute disappointment to a lot of people who are not fans of this administration.” (Brief transcripts of these comments follow.)
From about 15 minutes into the 5pm EDT edition of the October 28 Hardball with Chris Matthews in DC and Brokaw in Manhattan, on to promote his Friday night special, Tom Brokaw Reports: In God They Trust, two short transcripts I cobbled together quickly from the closed-captioning and then compared to the video of what aired:
Brokaw: “The real lingering question for me is, was this a one-man band, or were there others in the administration who were linked to his efforts to do that. And, of course, the question that will be raised by a lot of people not in anyway fans of this administration, what did Dick Cheney know and when did he know it. You know, they're joined almost cheek by jowl, they ride to work every morning, they've been very close philosophically and personally for a long time.”
A bit later:
Matthews: “The stories that will be written around the world, they'll be on Nightly tonight, they're going to be in the big papers tomorrow. Will the White House be able to couch this as a bad day, but basically they won the argument, they were not proven guilty of leaking this name?
Brokaw: “Yeah, I think that there's, there is some conditioning going on here. We were, you know, all the speculation leading up to this, that I said earlier in the day, that reminded me of sports writers sitting around before the Super Bowl knowing with certainty about what was going to happen and then the kickoff occurs and the game plan changes all together. We ended up with one indictment today. There was a lot of talk about how many people this could spread to during the course of the investigation and that the leaker probably would be named in some fashion. I agree with Michael [Isikoff], watching Mr. Fitzgerald, both listening to his verbal descriptions of where he is in the investigation and watching his body language. I don't think that he has an indictment in mind for Karl Rove. There are some lingering questions that he wants to get resolved. So, the administration probably is taking some solace tonight in what you just said, that they were not the source of the leak and that it didn't extend all the way to Karl Rove, which I know is going to be an acute disappointment to a lot of people who are not fans of this administration politically or otherwise.”