NBC's Today Begs 9/11 Widow To Bash Bush and Slam Ann Coulter

Egged on by NBC’s Ann Curry, 9/11 widow and media fave Kristen Breitweiser attacked Ann Coulter and the President on this morning’s Today. On to promote her new book, Wake-Up Call, Breitweiser was portrayed as merely a non-partisan 'stay-at-home-mother,' as Curry never mentioned her 2004 support for John Kerry.

Before playing a clip of Coulter with Lauer, Curry asked Breitweiser: "You know conservatives, as you know, well know, have attacked, criticized heavily 9/11 widows for, including you, for, for some of what you've said over these years, over these five years. In fact on this program, Ann Coulter, the writer, said something to, to Matt Lauer. Let's take a quick listen to what she said."

After the clip Curry prompted Breitweiser: "Your reaction to what, what Ann Coulter said. This has become politicized Kristen." Breitweiser responded: "You know I, I say frankly kudos to Ann Coulter. I think that what she's doing is what I wrote the book to inspire every American to do which is to have your voice heard, to engage in the political process. What I find unfortunate about Miss Coulter is that when you disagree with her she doesn't feel that you have a right to an opinion and I think that's unpatriotic but I think everyone needs to have their voice heard. We live in a wonderful country and..."

Curry, clearly dissatisfied with her answer, then pushed Breitweiser to notch up her attack: "But she's saying that you used your grief. She, I mean she's, what, do you want to respond to that?" Breitweiser took the cue: "All I can say is that I, I hope she never knows what it's like to watch your husband get murdered on live worldwide television with your child standing next to you. To be barred from getting access to answers as to why that happens so that you could just look at your child and be able to explain to them and give them every answer to every question that they have. That's why we did what did. And I'm sorry that it was a battle. I'm sorry that this administration and the Republican Congress that we have now fought us every step of the way to try and learn lessons from that horrific day but that's what our goal was. Our motives were pure and we just wanted answers." Curry ended the interview by supportively reading an excerpt from the book:

Curry: "I've got to end here with something you write. You write to your deceased husband at the end of this book and you say, 'I look at your wedding band as a symbol, much like it was found buried beneath the smoldering rubble and ruins. I believe our country is buried somewhere beneath the current chaos waiting to be discovered so it too can shine again.' Kristen Breitweiser, from your, from your page to God's ears."

Rich Noyes and Jessica Anderson pointed out in 2004 that Breitweiser appeared on the Today show four times in three weeks to criticize Bush's failure to prevent 9/11. In all, the networks invited 20 anti-Bush relatives of 9/11 victims, to just three who were supportive of Bush. (Breitweiser also appeared regularly as a pundit on Hardball.)  From the teasers at the top of the 8:00am hour to the setup piece before the interview Curry did her best to soften the Democratic activist's image.

Curry over footage of Breitweiser playing with her dog at the beach: "Coming up this morning we're gonna be talking about whether America is safer after 9/11. We're gonna be talking to a 9/11 widow who has been speaking out and argue, who argued for the 9/11 commission. She's gonna be talking to us about a new book that she's written about her experience." Then in her setup piece Curry played up the stay-at-home mother, imagery: "Kristen Breitweiser went from wife to widow on the morning of 9/11. A stay-at-home mother the events of that horrific day led her to become an outspoken activist, a role she never imagined. She was a content suburban New Jersey mother devoted to her husband Ron and two-and-a-half-year-old Caroline. After 1644 days of marriage he was gone. Kristen Breitweiser grieved and grieved and then got angry."

The following are complete transcripts of the teasers, setup piece and then full interview with Breitweiser:

[8:10am]

Ann Curry, over footage of Kristen Breitweiser playing with her dog on the beach: "Coming up this morning we're gonna be talking about whether America is safer after 9/11. We're gonna be talking to a 9/11 widow who has been speaking out and argue, who argued for the 9/11 commission. She's gonna be talking to us about a new book that she's written about her experience."

...

[8:31am]

Ann Curry: "Well we've got a very serious topic coming up. We're gonna be talking to one of the 9/11 widows who's written a book about how she's gained such a political education in trying to fight for the creation of the 9/11 commission and she, she also, we want to get her reaction to what Ann Coulter said to you here on this program about, about 9/11 widows. Perhaps, enjoying, as she was describing..."

Lauer: "Speaking of a specific group but had some disparaging things to say."

Curry: "Exactly, exactly. So we're gonna get her reaction to that so she'll be talking to us in this half hour."

...

Lauer: "When we come back a serious story. One widow's emotional journey in the five years since 9/11. We'll talk to her, but first this is Today on NBC."

...

[8:37am]

Ann Curry: "Kristen Breitweiser went from wife to widow on the morning of 9/11. A stay-at-home mother the events of that horrific day led her to become an outspoken activist, a role she never imagined. She was a content suburban New Jersey mother devoted to her husband Ron and two-and-a-half-year-old Caroline. After 1644 days of marriage he was gone. Kristen Breitweiser grieved and grieved and then got angry."

[Kristen Breitweiser: "September 11th was a devastating result of a catalogue of failures on behalf of our government and its agencies."]

Curry: "She and other widows became well-informed activists, known as the Jersey Girls, they told their stories..."

[Breitweiser: "My three-year-old daughter's most enduring memory of her father will be placing flowers on his empty grave."]

Curry: "...sought answers, pressed officials and demanded a 9/11 commission."

[Tom Kean: "From your grief you have drawn strength. You have given that strength to us."]

[Breitweiser: "What I do have control over is trying to affect change in this nation and to make us safe."]

Curry: "They fought for legislation to do that, becoming media and political savvy along the way but Kristen says her most important job is being her now seven-year-old daughter's mom. Kristen Breitweiser has written a book about her experiences called Wake-Up Call: The Political Education of a 9/11 Widow. Kristen, good morning. First of all let's just say that your daughter's starting school today so I know it's an important day for you. You reveal in this book that you suffered some panic attacks for years after, initially, after 9/11. That you could not hear a plane go overhead without your heart seizing, without being, having difficulty breathing. After all you've been through in fighting for the creation of the 9/11 commission, looking closely in a way that most of us have not been able to, at, at the security or perhaps lack thereof, as you might say, in America. Are your, are your panic attacks gone? Are you feeling better about how safe we are?"

Breitweiser: "Obviously they get less in degree as the time pulls away from the anniversary and from the day itself but I think what's upsetting is that we fought very hard in Washington to try to make the nation safer. We wanted an investigation to simply get answers why our loved ones were killed and five years out it's, it's very upsetting to find that we're not as safe as we can be, that the 9/11 commission recommendations were not paid attention to."

Curry: "What would be the one thing if you could change, change to make us safer?"

Breitweiser: "I think as an overall thing I prefer not to still be in a reactionary posture as a nation. I don't think that we should still be reacting to like the London airline plot."

Curry: "Which you, by the way, predicted in your book might happen and in fact that is what was foiled in, in, in British Isles."

Breitweiser: "That plot is from the mid-90s. It's not news to us and yet we're just not making it a priority. A perfect example. One of the reasons 9/11 happened, that we're told that it happened, was a failure to connect the dots. Five years later the FBI spent $170 million, still has an inoperable computer system, still cannot connect those dots."

Curry: "And you still and, and you also want bomb-sniffing dogs, for example."

Breitweiser: "Clearly."

Curry: "You know conservatives, as you know, well know, have attacked, criticized heavily 9/11 widows for, including you, for, for some of what you've said over these years, over these five years. In fact on this program, Ann Coulter, the writer, said something to, to Matt Lauer. Let's take a quick listen to what she said."

[Begin clip]

Matt Lauer: "9/11 widows. 'These broads are millionaires lionized on TV and in articles about them reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' death so much.'"

Ann Coulter: "Yes."

Lauer: "Because they dare to speak out?"

Coulter: "To speak out using the fact that they're widows. This is the Left's doctrine of infallibility..."

[End clip]

Curry: "Your reaction to what, what Ann Coulter said. This has become politicized Kristen."

Breitweiser: "You know I, I say frankly kudos to Ann Coulter. I think that what she's doing is what I wrote the book to inspire every American to do which is to have your voice heard, to engage in the political process. What I find unfortunate about Miss Coulter is that when you disagree with her she doesn't feel that you have a right to an opinion and I think that's unpatriotic but I think everyone needs to have their voice heard. We live in a wonderful country and..."

Curry: "But she's saying that you used your grief. She, I mean she's, what, do you want to respond to that?"

Breitweiser: "All I can say is that I, I hope she never knows what it's like to watch your husband get murdered on live worldwide television with your child standing next to you. To be barred from getting access to answers as to why that happens so that you could just look at your child and be able to explain to them and give them every answer to every question that they have. That's why we did what did. And I'm sorry that it was a battle. I'm sorry that this administration and the Republican Congress that we have now fought us every step of the way to try and learn lessons from that horrific day but that's what our goal was. Our motives were pure and we just wanted answers."

Curry: "Very quickly, I don't have a lot of time but I've got to get your president, your reaction to the President's announcement yesterday that he's pulling al Qaeda operatives from secret prisons and having them go to Guantanamo to face, basically to face justice. He wants to put them on trial as he says here, 'Nearly 3000 Americans on September 11th, 2001 can face justice,' and that's why he's doing it. Your reaction? Good move or bad move?"

Breitweiser: "You know, finally. I mean, you know, I've been asking why we're not prosecuting these gentlemen. We're a nation of laws, we are saying to the world that we bring terrorists to justice and I want to see someone, anyone held accountable for 9/11 and the murder of 3000 people."

Curry: "I've got to end here with something you write. You write to your deceased husband at the end of this book and you say, 'I look at your wedding band as a symbol, much like it was found buried beneath the smoldering rubble and ruins. I believe our country is buried somewhere beneath the current chaos waiting to be discovered so it too can shine again.' Kristen Breitweiser, from your, from your page to God's ears."

Breitweiser: "Thank you."

Curry, shaking hands: "Thank you so much this morning. Pleasure."

Breitweiser: "Thanks."

Curry: "And if you'd like to read an excerpt of Wake-Up Call: The Political Education of a 9/11 Widow you can find it on our Web site at today.msnbc.com."

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