On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams declared that Hillary Clinton's lunch with President Obama put the possible 2016 Democratic contender "a safe distance from the scandal in New York that now includes a longtime aide." Introducing a report on the meeting, Williams noted how "Bill and Hillary Clinton are trying to keep their distance from any associations with Anthony Weiner, whose wife is a longtime Hillary Clinton aide and confidante..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Continuing to fret over the impact the scandal may have on the Clintons, correspondent Andrea Mitchell decried Weiner's continued candidacy for New York City mayor: "Weiner has become a tabloid nightmare for his wife, Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's aide. And for the Clintons, resurrecting embarrassing flashbacks they'd hoped were long forgotten. Weiner said again today, he isn't going away..."
Wrapping up the segment, Mitchell sympathetically conveyed: "Friends say the Clintons are mortified and wish he would take the hint. Many wonder why Huma would let Hillary get dragged into this."
The Nightly News report echoed Mitchell's reporting on Monday's Today, in which she lamented how the Weiner scandal was "terribly painful" for Clinton.
On Tuesday's Today, Mitchell touted another meal attended by the former secretary of state: "Hillary Clinton is having breakfast this morning with the Vice President at his residence. A private meeting of the two likely rivals for the Democratic nomination in 2016, and at a safe distance from the Anthony Weiner scandal that is the talk of New York politics."
Mitchell again noted that the ongoing controversy was "an unwelcome reminder of scandals past" for the Clintons, concluding: "Friends say that the Clintons view Weiner as that son-in-law you'd never want in the family. But there is no sign they are pressuring Huma to get him out, despite concern in their inner circle of potential fallout for Hillary Clinton herself."
Here is a full transcript of Mitchell's July 29 Nightly News report:
7:00PM ET TEASE:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: The Clinton connection. Hillary Clinton meets privately with the President. They are shown enjoying lunch a safe distance from the scandal in New York that now includes a longtime aide.
7:07PM ET SEGMENT:
WILLIAMS: Back here, Bill and Hillary Clinton are trying to keep their distance from any associations with Anthony Weiner, whose wife is a longtime Hillary Clinton aide and confidante, and who is insisting, despite his behavior and a sharp drop in the polls, that he is staying in the race for New York City mayor. Our report on all of it tonight from NBC's Andrea Mitchell.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Hillary Clinton arrived for lunch with the President. On a spring-like day over salad, grilled chicken, and pasta jambalaya, aides said they were catching up. Did they talk about the mayhem in Cairo, how to handle Vladamir Putin, 2016 politics, or Anthony Weiner? Nobody was saying, but Weiner has become a tabloid nightmare for his wife, Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's aide. And for the Clintons, resurrecting embarrassing flashbacks they'd hoped were long forgotten. Weiner said again today, he isn't going away.
ANTHONY WEINER: I don't take my cues from the headline writers in the newspapers. I never have. Those are the very same people that didn't want me to run.
MITCHELL: Even though his campaign manager quit over the weekend, and in Staten Island, Weiner got a scolding from retired teacher Peg Brunda.
PEG BRUNDA: Had I conducted myself in the manner in which you conducted yours, my job would have been gone.
MITCHELL: Still, Weiner told a local Staten Island paper.
WEINER: My wife has given me a second chance. She's now – you know, she's a partner, a partner through thick and thin, and she's been amazingly supportive and enthusiastic about this campaign.
MITCHELL: When the paper asked what he'd tell his son some day about the scandal, Weiner joked, "First of all, the kid's going to grow up in Gracie Mansion. So I'm going to say, 'Kid, don't complain.'" But others are complaining, including the Governor.
ANDREW CUOMO: This is summer political theater in New York. We laugh, because if we didn't laugh, we would cry. Right?
MITCHELL: A new Quinnipiac poll out today has Weiner's support tanking. A majority of Democratic primary voters now want him to get out.
Friends say the Clintons are mortified and wish he would take the hint. Many wonder why Huma would let Hillary get dragged into this. As for Clinton, she's pushing forward. In fact, after today's lunch with the President, tomorrow she's having breakfast with her chief Democratic rival in 2016, if she runs, Joe Biden. Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington.