NBC Eager for Obama ‘Comeback’; Touts Kennedy Award, Book Deal

Taking time away from the network’s daily bashing of the Trump administration, on Friday’s NBC Today, correspondent Andrea Mitchell spent over three minutes hoping for Barack Obama’s “comeback” to the public spotlight and gushing over the former president receiving an award from the Kennedy family.

Mitchell began the report by cheering: “Nearly two months after leaving office, former President Barack Obama is planning his return to the spotlight, named this year's winner of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award.” She touted the supposed reasons for the honor: “In part for his leadership on climate change and expanding health care.” Mitchell then fretted: “Two achievements now at risk with the election of Donald Trump.”

In reality, Mitchell’s next lines revealed the obvious political favoritism at play: “This year's award is especially significant, being presented in May, on the 100th anniversary of JFK's birth. To be awarded by Caroline Kennedy, whom he appointed ambassador to Japan, and whose endorsement, along with her late uncle, Ted Kennedy, was a pivotal moment in Mr. Obama's campaign for the Democratic nomination in 2008.”

The Obama superfan further gushed: “This after Eric Holder, his former attorney general and close friend, told reporters Mr. Obama is, quote, ‘ready to roll,’ looking to help elect Democrats throughout the country.”

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

Mitchell happily promoted: “...the 44th president has been busy. Both he and Michelle Obama have signed record-shattering book deals for their White House memoirs....industry sources say the Obamas will earn upwards of $60 million for the two books.” A soundbite followed of former Obama staffer Jon Favreau excitedly declaring: “He was very honest in first book, Dreams From My Father, and it’ll be interesting to see if he is as honest and open in this memoir, but I expect him to be close to that.”

Mitchell let that laughable statement go by without challenge, despite the numerous false accounts in Obama’s biography.

Instead, she expounded on how “the former president seems to be enjoying himself.” “Causing a stir outside a New York City Starbucks, attending a Broadway play with daughter Malia, and lighting up social media with photos from the family vacation on billionaire Richard Branson's private island,” Mitchell related to viewers.  

Not satisfied with reveling in Obama’s accolades at home, Mitchell went abroad to heap more praise on the Democrat:

His influence extending beyond the United States and into Europe. In France, “Obama 2017" posters are appearing on Paris street corners, with activists there wearing Obama masks, unhappy with their political choices in this year's presidential election....Hoping to recruit America's popular former president.

Wrapping up the love letter, Mitchell noted: “But in addition to their books, the Obamas now are going to be really focusing on their foundation, what the former president describes as a center to develop the next generation of engaged, active citizens.”

Here is a full transcript of the March 3 segment:

7:32 AM ET

MATT LAUER: Want to talk now about the former president, Barack Obama. Six weeks after leaving office, the question is, is he looking to make some kind of a comeback? NBC's Andrea Mitchell has more on that. Andrea, good morning to you.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Good morning. Now after eight years in the spotlight, Matt, and devastating election cycle for Democrats, the question remains – how will the former president stage his return to public life?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The Return of the Obamas?; Fmr. President & First Lady Set to Re-Emerge Into Spotlight]

Nearly two months after leaving office, former President Barack Obama is planning his return to the spotlight, named this year's winner of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award. Mr. Obama tweeting he is “humbled to be recognized.” In part for his leadership on climate change and expanding health care. Two achievements now at risk with the election of Donald Trump. This year's award is especially significant, being presented in May, on the 100th anniversary of JFK's birth. To be awarded by Caroline Kennedy, whom he appointed ambassador to Japan, and who’s endorsement, along with her late uncle, Ted Kennedy, was a pivotal moment in Mr. Obama's campaign for the Democratic nomination in 2008.

BARACK OBAMA [2008] Thank you, everybody!

MITCHELL: Thursday's announcement of the honor for Mr. Obama now jump-starting speculation about the next phase of his public life.

OBAMA [JANUARY 10]: I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days.

MITCHELL: This after Eric Holder, his former attorney general and close friend, told reporters Mr. Obama is, quote, “ready to roll,” looking to help elect Democrats throughout the country. Still, those close to the former president are cautioning he is still months away from re-entering the public fray.

But the 44th president has been busy. Both he and Michelle Obama have signed record-shattering book deals for their White House memoirs. While details haven't officially been disclosed, industry sources say the Obamas will earn upwards of $60 million for the two books. He talked about his book on a podcast with former staffer Jon Favreau.

OBAMA: I’ve given that some thought. Look, hopefully don't just buy the book but read it too.

JON FAVREAU: He was very honest in first book, Dreams From My Father, and it’ll be interesting to see if he is as honest and open in this memoir, but I expect him to be close to that.

MITCHELL: Now out of office, the former president seems to be enjoying himself. Causing a stir outside a New York City Starbucks, attending a Broadway play with daughter Malia, and lighting up social media with photos from the family vacation on billionaire Richard Branson's private island.

His influence extending beyond the United States and into Europe. In France, “Obama 2017" posters are appearing on Paris street corners, with activists there wearing Obama masks, unhappy with their political choices in this year's presidential election.

FRENCH ACTIVIST: We say “oui on peut,” which comes from “yes we can.”

MITCHELL: Hoping to recruit America's popular former president.

But in addition to their books, the Obamas now are going to be really focusing on their foundation, what the former president describes as a center to develop the next generation of engaged, active citizens. And they have pledged that a substantial portion of the money from those books are going to be donated to charity. Matt, Savannah, and Al?

LAUER: Alright, Andrea Mitchell. Andrea, thank you.

CyberAlerts Liberals & Democrats NBC Today Video Andrea Mitchell Barack Obama