President Obama's speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin was much
anticipated by the network morning shows on Wednesday. On ABC's Good Morning America, Jonathan Karl announced: "Expectations are high." On CBS This Morning, Major Garrett touted the White House hope that the address would rank among past "famous and memorable speeches." On NBC's Today, Matt Lauer reminisced over the President being "greeted like a rock star" in 2008. [Listen to the audio]
However, after Obama's lackluster performance on Wednesday, there was nothing but silence on Thursday's morning shows, not even a mention of the supposedly "historic speech" that was promised.
Signs of media disappointment with the event showed on the Wednesday evening newscasts. On ABC's World News,
fill-in anchor George Stephanopoulos acknowledged: "What a difference
five years makes....The crowd is much smaller today in part for security
reasons. But on this sweltering day and a challenging week for the
President, the comparison was inescapable."
On NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams admitted: "A speech delivered in sweltering heat to a few thousand invited guests, not the throngs that came to see him for the event we were there to witness back in '08 when he was a candidate for president."
CBS Evening News avoided event optics and the President's performance in favor of promoting his call for nuclear arms reduction.
Earlier in the day, NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd came up with a list of excuses for Obama's poor performance.
By Thursday morning on the networks, it was as if the speech never happened.
Here are some excerpts of the pre-speech hype:
MATT LAUER (NBC's Today, June 19): And Chuck, a little later on the President is going to make a speech in Berlin. Of course he was there in 2008, greeted like a rock star. This is the 50th anniversary of JFK's speech in Berlin and we're expecting a major announcement in terms of nuclear stock piles.
MAJOR GARRETT (CBS This Morning, June 19): The President will be here to deliver a speech in which he'll call for a simultaneous reduction of nuclear stockpiles of the United States and Russian – something the White House hopes will contend – will continue, rather, a sequence of American presidents giving famous and memorable speeches at this very memorable place.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Historic Speech: President Obama To Speak At Brandenburg Gate]
JONATHAN KARL (ABC's GMA, June 18): He will give a speech at the historic Brandenburg Gate 50 years after John Kennedy gave his famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech. Expectations are high. It was in 2008, during the campaign, that Obama addressed one of his largest audiences ever right there in Berlin.