Sitting in a Washington bar with the Morning Joe crew on MSNBC Tuesday morning, former NBC anchor grew emotional remembering the 1960s. "I get very emotional. It has been hard for me to walk through the streets. And I think that the day is going to be very emotional." Brokaw even grew bold enough to tell the "bigots and rednecks" he met in the Sixties "when we were evolving as a country" to suffer through the Obama inauguration: "Take this. You know?"
The Morning Joe crew was discussing how Barack Obama was so different than past administrations in their lack of drama and in-fighting:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: As I was explaining to my wife, as my conservative brethren continued to beat me up, 'Why do you say, you know -- this guy is not going to be a leftist, how do you know he will not?' -- I said because of the people he is surrounds himself with. They are steady people. They are professional. A lot of ugliness you have seen in White Houses over the past 16 years, absent with this group.
BROKAW: Comfortable in his own skin, to use that phrase, he had the self-confidence. It was not overbearing and could laugh at himself easily. He could hammer him and criticalof a quote. At one point he burst out laughing, I was in the middle of reading back one of these things. "Some people said nice things about me as well."
Listen, I just want to say one thing. Having been in the South in the '60s and Los Angeles, in Watts and northern urban areas, when we were evolving as a country, I'm thinking of all the bigots and rednecks and people I met along the way. I'm saying to them, "Take this." You know?
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I like that thought. I think you might be right.
A few minutes earlier, Brokaw talked it over with Mike Barnicle and Gen. Colin Powell:
BROKAW, with a quavering voice: I get very emotional. It has been hard for me to walk through the streets. And I think that the day is going to be very emotional. I think that's good for the country. It’s a reminder again of who we are and our inherent strengths. And the inherent strengths are, is that this is an immigrant nation. We have come from all over the world to build this country and this society. And now we have the son of an immigrant as president, first generation. And the rule of law is the underpinning for it. And we’re always at our best when we are more than the sum of our parts.
Barnicle added: "There’s nothing wrong with crying about this country, is there?" Powell agreed: "I’ve been crying left and right for the last few weeks."
It probably did not occur to them that Obama opponents might be crying for opposite reasons.