Touting the newly-elected mayor of Ithaca, New York, 24-year old Democrat Svante Myrick, on Wednesday's NBC Rock Center, host Brian Williams drew parallels to Barack Obama: "He grew up a bi-racial kid with an unusual name. He went into politics. If that story sounds familiar, then you must meet the young man they must now call 'Mr. Mayor.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Introducing the segment, Williams told viewers to "think about what of this story sounds familiar." During her report, correspondent Kate Snow promoted the comparison: "When he was in high school, Myrick's grandmother gave him a copy of Barack Obama's book, 'Dreams From My Father.' And for another bi-racial kid struggling with his identity, growing up without his father, raised by a white mother, he saw himself in that story."
Williams praised Myrick's story: "It may be years before we know if he's destined for anything larger, but what he's done already is so remarkable and such a testament to what's still possible in this country..." Snow began by declaring: "At his swearing-in on January 1st, he certainly sounded like a mayor." A sound bite followed of Myrick using Obama-like rhetoric: "I'm so full of hope."
Snow emphasized Myrick's liberal ideology: "Growing up in a family that was always just scraping by shaped Myrick's political views....He says food stamps and the free lunch programs at school helped feed his family." She later added: "At a time when government programs are being slashed, Myrick sees value in a government that worked for him."
Snow encouraged Myrick to elaborate on his support for government welfare: "You've said that you're not self-made." Myrick replied: "No. That is not my story. I mean, this is not the story of a self-made man. This is the story of a community that conspired together to raise, you know, a child. And that is – that's the truth."
Following the report, Williams wondered: "Kate, do you have any doubt we'll be covering this guy for a long time?" Kate gleefully remarked: "I'm hopeful he'll remember me when he's at a higher level.... Here's the funny thing, he could not run for president until 2024, Brian, because he won't be 35 until 2024. Think of that."
Snow concluded: "The Mayor's a likeable guy. He's a likable guy. He's a Democrat, he's got some very, you know, set views based on his upbringing. But he's a very likeable guy. I think he's got some future."
Here is a portion of the February 29 story:
WILLIAMS: Welcome back. We mentioned this earlier, and think about what of this story sounds familiar. A bi-racial man with an exotic name, raised by his single white mother and grandparents, overcomes lean times in life, makes it to an ivy league school, runs for office and wins. Well, this story, however, is the story of Svante Myrick, who has become the mayor of Ithaca, New York at the tender age of 24. It may be years before we know if he's destined for anything larger, but what he's done already is so remarkable and such a testament to what's still possible in this country, that Kate Snow went upstate in New York State to meet the man they now call "Mr. Mayor."
KATE SNOW: If Svante Myrick was nervous, he didn't show it, even though everything had changed overnight.
SVANTE MYRICK: That's me.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yes, it is.
SNOW: At just 24 years old, Myrick is the youngest mayor ever elected in the city of Ithaca, New York, a Democrat in a liberal college town. This is his first day on the job.
MYRICK: This is weird. This is my – my office now.
SNOW: At his swearing-in on January 1st, he certainly sounded like a mayor.
MYRICK: I'm so full of hope.
SNOW: Growing up in a family that was always just scraping by shaped Myrick's political views, supporting the local food kitchen is important to him. He says food stamps and the free lunch programs at school helped feed his family.
MYRICK: I know that personally I would not be here, were it not for these programs.
SNOW: When he was in high school, Myrick's grandmother gave him a copy of Barack Obama's book, "Dreams From My Father." And for another bi-racial kid struggling with his identity, growing up without his father, raised by a white mother, he saw himself in that story.
MYRICK: I thought, well, if this, you know, guy with that name and those ears can do it, then a guy with this name and these ears can do it.