All three network morning shows on Monday were thrilled by Barack and Michelle Obama dancing with a 106-year-old White House visitor over the weekend and happily played video from the President’s Facebook page capturing the moment. The fawning coverage on NBC, ABC, and CBS helpfully kept anyone from dwelling on Obama’s controversial decision to skip the funeral of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday.
At the top of NBC’s Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie gleefully announced: “Senior moment! A 106-year-old woman fulfills a lifelong dream, visiting the President and First Lady....The meet and greet and dance that has the internet on fire.” Teasing the story later in the show, fill-in co-host Willie Geist hyped: “This 106-year-old woman's priceless reaction to meeting the President and the First Lady. Trust me, you do not want to miss this.”
Early in the 8 a.m. ET hour, the host devoted over a minute to centenarian Virginia McLaurin meeting the first couple. After playing a long clip of the visit, Guthrie declared: “She is awesome....She led the President and Mrs. Obama in a little dance and she said actually her secret to living longer, just keep moving.”
Geist observed: “You figure she was born in 1910 maybe? The things she's seen in this country, and then to visit the White House.” Co-host Carson Daly chimed in: “That's why this moment is obviously so special for her.”
ABC’s Good Morning America similarly offered a minute-long segment praising the event, as correspondent Cecilia Vega assured viewers: “And finally, hands down the best video we will see today, I promise you.” She cheered: “One woman dancing into the White House like it took her 100 years to get there, because it did.....Guys, she sprinted into the White House so much that President Obama had to tell her to slow it down, ‘Not too quick, Virginia.’ I love that.”
Co-host Robin Roberts proclaimed: “So glad you shared that with us, Cecilia. She is looking and feeling good.” Fellow co-host George Stephanopoulos remarked: “A lot of joy there.”
Flashback to a less joyful moment in August of 2009, when, during a town hall event hosted by ABC News to help the President push ObamaCare, the doctor-in-chief told a woman in the audience that her 105-year-old mother might just need to “take the painkiller” rather than have costly surgery to extend her life.
On Monday, CBS This Morning only managed just under a minute of air time to the White House dance party, with co-host Gayle King gushing: “She was literally dancing with excitement when she met President Obama and First Lady this weekend....Oh, it was great. Imagine what she’s seen in her lifetime. When she first saw the couple, guys, she literally ran to them and the President said, ‘Slow down, slow down!’ That’s great that, that happened.”
Here is a full transcript of the coverage on the February 22 Today:
7:01 AM ET TEASE:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: And senior moment! A 106-year-old woman fulfills a lifelong dream, visiting the President and First Lady.
VIRGINIA MCLAURIN: I thought I would never live to get in the White House.
BARACK OBAMA: She’s dancing, come on! So what’s the secret to still dancing at 106?
GUTHRIE: The meet and greet and dance that has the internet on fire.
7:37 AM ET TEASE:
WILLIE GEIST: Coming up, wish granted. This 106-year-old woman's priceless reaction to meeting the President and the First Lady. Trust me, you do not want to miss this.
8:09 AM ET TEASE:
GUTHRIE: Coming up, the woman who waited 106 years to visit the White House, and her reaction, even better than you might expect. We're going to hear from her.
8:15 AM ET SEGMENT:
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Alright, now to a video that is bound to put a smile on your face. The 106-year-old woman who finally got her wish to visit the White House, and she met the first couple. Take a look.
VIRGINIA MCLAURIN: Hi!
BARACK OBAMA: How are you?
MCLAURIN: I'm fine!
OBAMA: Oh, it’s so nice to see you.
MCLAURIN: It's an honor, it’s an honor.
OBAMA: You want to say hi to Michelle?
OBAMA: Show down now. Don't go too quick.
OBAMA: She's 106!
MICHELLE OBAMA: No, you are not. You are not.
BARACK OBAMA: Well, you gotta – you slow down!
MCLAURIN: I thought I would never live to get in the white house.
OBAMA: Well, you are right here!
MCLAURIN: A black president.
MICHELLE OBAMA: Look at him! Right there.
MCLAURIN: A black wife.
MICHELLE OBAMA: That's me.
MCLAURIN: Yes! And I'm here to celebrate black history.
GUTHRIE: She is awesome. Her name is Virginia Mclaurin, she’s 106 years old, you wouldn't know it based on her moves. She led the President and Mrs. Obama in a little dance and she said actually her secret to living longer, just keep moving.
SHEINELLE JONES: That makes sense. 106?
AL ROKER: That’s amazing.
WILLIE GEIST: You figure she was born in 1910 maybe? The things she's seen in this country, and then to visit the White House.
CARSON DALY: That's why this moment is obviously so special for her.
GEIST: It’s unbelievable.