NBC's Meredith Vieira was so excited about White House social secretary Desiree Rogers' decision to honor St. Patrick's Day by having the White House fountain spray green water, that she exclaimed: "You're doing a fantastic job." But if the new social secretary, indeed, was doing such a "fantastic" job where was she when the decision was made to give the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown the tacky gift of 25 DVDs?
Vieira, on Tuesday's "Today" show, interviewed Rogers as she stood in front of the green fountain and cooed that the Obamas: "Want this White House to be more accessible to the folks around the country. They call it the people's house." and asked, "How much input do they have in all of these decisions, Desiree, that are made?" Rogers responded that "we talk weekly about these decisions." However Vieira never questioned if it was the Obamas or Rogers that decided a box set of DVDs was a proper gift for Brown, considering the British Prime Minister delivered, as Newsbusters' Warner Todd Huston pointed out, the more thoughtful gifts of a: "Pen holder carved from the timbers of the sister ship of that which gave the wood to create the famous ‘Resolute Desk,' the desk that has been in America's charge since 1880. He also gave Obama the framed commission for that famous ship, the HMS Resolute. His third gift was a seven-volume biography of one of England's greatest leaders, Winston Churchill."
The following is a complete transcript of the segment as it was aired on the March 17, edition of the "Today" show:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: We are back inside Dublin Castle here in Dublin, Ireland. And while the people here celebrate, back home President Obama is tipping his hat to the Irish as well. We told you that he's going to be meeting with the prime minister of Ireland today, along with some Irish entertainment at the White House. And even that famous fountain on the South Lawn of the White House, well, it's gone green for the day. And standing by, Desiree Rogers, White House social secretary. Desiree, good morning to you, and happy St. Patrick's Day.
DESIREE ROGERS, WHITE HOUSE SOCIAL SECRETARY: Good morning, Meredith.
VIEIRA: So I'm loving the green water coming out of that fountain. Whose idea was that? Was that the President's idea?
ROGERS: Well, you know, Mrs. Obama and I talked about this. Coming from Chicago, we thought it would be a great way to pull the two towns together. In Chicago, we annually, on St. Patrick's Day, dye the river green, so why not the White House fountains? They liked the idea.
VIEIRA: And I know, yeah, and I know that they want this White House to be more accessible to the folks around the country. They call it the people's house. How much input do they have in all of these decisions, Desiree, that are made?
ROGERS: Well, we talk weekly about these decisions. I think one of the things we want to do today is just celebrate Irish culture. We've got about 400 people coming in from around the country. Some are Irish, but many are not. And we really, really want to salute the Irish today. And for the people who can't be here, well, guess what? They get to see this great fountain today on the "Today" show.
VIEIRA: You know, Desiree, you are the social secretary. People hear that and I think they automatically assume that, that means she's the party planner. But those are words that sort of make you cringe because your job is much more detailed than that. What, what exactly is it that you do, if you had to put a blanket statement over it?
ROGERS: Well, one of the things that we do is we put images on top of the Obama presidency. So visuals, you know, who's coming into the White House? We want to be able to really celebrate all that's great about America, whether it's the Irish today or the Greeks soon or art and culture, theater, film. I mean, we really want to be kind of the showpiece for the American presidency. And I think one of the things you think about when you think about the American presidency is the White House. So we want to make certain that we've got a lot going on here.
VIEIRA: I'm sure that you also have to be sensitive to the times as well, because so many people are hurting because of the economy.
ROGERS: Exactly right. I mean, there's always a balance. And we really have tried to make certain that the things that we're doing aren't, you know, completely, you know, if you will, over the top. Simple things, like a green fountain, for example. And so it's very important that we realize what's happening in our country today. But at the same time, I think that it's important that we do have some joy and we do take some time to celebrate all that's American.
VIEIRA: Well, you're doing a fantastic job, I tell you, Desiree Rogers. Thank you so much. Loving the green today.
ROGERS: Thank you.
VIEIRA: And, again, happy St. Patrick's Day.
ROGERS: Same to you guys in Dublin.