On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed that Florida Senator Marco Rubio taking a sip of water during his response to the State of the Union was "the televised moment from last night that just might live on forever."
Williams expounded: "Well, it's one of the cruelest aspects of politics in the television age. No matter how well-crafted the content, no matter how thoughtful a person you are, it's the television moments, the superficial, purely visual moments that are often remembered forever instead. And that will certainly be the case with Florida Senator Marco Rubio's GOP response last night."
Happily touting some of the mocking names given to the moment, Williams continued: "It was instantly branded the 'aqua lunge.' Some called it 'watergate'...The water folks at Poland Spring enjoyed their web moment in the sun today. The lunge became a cottage industry."
That "cottage industry" was on full display during Thursday's Today, when co-host Matt Lauer introduced a montage of comedians mocking Rubio: "You know, the late night comics are having a little bit of a field day with one of the most talked about moments from the State of the Union. Senator Marco Rubio's awkward move to get a sip of water during the Republican response. Take a look."
In the video that followed, David Letterman is seen reaching off camera for a bottle of Jack Daniels. Jay Leno declared: "Actually, the most impressive thing about President Obama's speech last night, he did the whole thing without a single drink of water." Jimmy Kimmel remarked: "Why was the water so far away? It would have been – it would have been less awkward if [Rubio] reached down the front of his pants to get it."
Following the montage, fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie sarcastically noted: "I'm sure this won't come up on SNL this weekend."
Moments later, she observed: "You know, you almost got to feel bad, though....They prepared so hard for this speech and this is the thing that people remember."
Apparently NBC is working to guarantee that's all people remember from Rubio's speech.
CBS This Morning on Thursday also aired a montage of comics going after Rubio, with co-host Norah O'Donnell describing the "field day" they were having.
CNN on Wednesday went so far as to absurdly wonder if the water sip might end Rubio's political career.
Here is a full transcript of Today's February 14 segment:
MATT LAUER: You know, the late night comics are having a little bit of a field day with one of the most talked about moments from the State of the Union. Senator Marco Rubio's awkward move to get a sip of water during the Republican response. Take a look.
STEPHEN COLBERT: Let me tell you from experience, it is not easy being on TV. I mean, you've got the sweltering lights, you've got the audience, you've got the cameras. You know [gulps] knowing you're being watched by millions.
[DAVID LETTERMAN REACHES OFF CAMERA FOR A BOTTLE OF JACK DANIELS]
COLBERT: It really can give a person a little bit of cotton mouth.
[COUGHS UP DUST]
JON STEWART: I'm sorry, it's just I'm nervous tonight, you know, for some reason I just – I'm just sweating a bit so I had to just – I'm just going just – just going to – get something to drink here.
[SQUEEZES AN ORANGE AND DRINKS THE JUICE]
[JIMMY FALLON REACHES OFF CAMERA FOR A SMALL BOTTLE OF WATER]
[LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]
STEWART [DRINKING ORANGE JUICE]: I'm just so thirsty. I'm sorry, should have drank something before the show, I don't know why I didn't think of that.
JAY LENO: Actually, the most impressive thing about President Obama's speech last night, he did the whole thing without a single drink of water. Did you see that?
DAVID LETTERMAN: And top ten things going through Marco Rubio's mind at this moment, "That looked presidential, right?"
[STILL SHOT OF RUBIO REACHING FOR WATER ON SCREEN]
COLBERT: You just cover your problem by always maintaining eye contact with the home viewer and connecting – connecting with the audience.
[COLBERT CLIMBS OVER THE DESK WHILE LOOKING INTO THE CAMERA]
JIMMY KIMMEL: Why was the water so far away? It would have been – it would have been less awkward if he reached down the front of his pants to get it.
[COLBERT CRAWLING ON THE FLOOR TO REACH A BOTTLE OF WATER, THEN POURS WATER OVER HIS FACE]
KIMMEL: It would have been less awkward had he been wearing one of these on his head during the speech.
[PHOTOSHOP IMAGE OF RUBIO WEARING HELMET WITH TWO WATER BOTTLES AND A STRAW IN HIS MOUTH]
NATALIE MORALES: They took your suggestion.
AL ROKER: That was my suggestion.
MORALES: The hat or the camel back on the back would have been good.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: I'm sure this won't come up on SNL this weekend.
LAUER: Never. Seriously, why was the water so far away?
GUTHRIE: It was far away.
LAUER: It makes no sense.
GUTHRIE: At that point, it's better to have no water.
MORALES: And just, his look. He's like, okay. It's like a double take.
ROKER: Give him a break.
GUTHRIE: You know, you almost got to feel bad, though.
MORALES: You do. We've all been there.
GUTHRIE: They prepared so hard for this speech and this is the thing that people remember.
[FOOTAGE ON SCREEN OF RUBIO REACHING FOR WATER]
MORALES: I know.
GUTHRIE: It's a thankless-
MORALES: And he did two speeches, he did it in Spanish and English, so he was speaking a lot.
GUTHRIE: A thankless job.