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NBC Bids Hillary Fawning Farewell: Secretary of State's Departure Had 'Energy of a Campaign Rally'

Marking Hillary Clinton's final day as Secretary of State on Friday's NBC Nightly News, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell gushed: "Clinton's State Department farewell was bittersweet. She took time to tour the building, saying goodbye to cafeteria workers....[her] departure had the energy of a campaign rally. As she left, some women were shouting, '2016.'" [Listen to the audio]

On Saturday's Today, White House correspondent Kristen Welker continued the lovefest, proclaiming that Clinton was "starting a new chapter in her storied life," and noting: "Her journey to secretary of state was somewhat improbable. From the White House's first lady, to the Senate, to a tough campaign against her now-former boss."

Welker teed up praise of Clinton's tenure at the State Department: "Foreign policy experts say she didn't have one signature achievement, but she did leave a mark." Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution followed: "On balance, I think that she's notable for a steadiness, for a relatively error-free period, for extremely loyal service to the President."

The headline on screen throughout the Today segment read: "Sleep In Saturday; How is Hillary Clinton Spending Her First Day Off the Job?" Welker wrapped up the puff piece by fluffing Clinton's pillow: "And while today she can sleep in, Clinton's next move is a mystery. She joked to The New York Times in November, 'Maybe I'll get a decorating show.' But speculation about a White House run in 2016 has begun in earnest."

Here is a full transcript of Welker's February 2 Today report:

7:15AM ET

LESTER HOLT: The most traveled secretary of state in U.S. history is jobless today for the first time in decades. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received a warm sendoff in Washington on Friday. And while her political future may be in question, one thing is certain, her short-term plans include a lot of rest. Kristen Welker is at the White House with more. Kristen, good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Sleep In Saturday; How is Hillary Clinton Spending Her First Day Off the Job?]

KRISTEN WELKER: Lester, good morning you to. That's right, Clinton has joked about looking forward to sleeping in this weekend. This after visiting more than a hundred countries, earning praise and some criticism along the way. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton starting a new chapter in her storied life.

HILLARY CLINTON: I cannot fully express how grateful I am to those with whom I have spent many hours here in Washington, around the world, and in airplanes.

[LAUGHTER]

WELKER: Clinton spent a lot of time on airplanes, traveling more than a million miles, from overseeing a shift toward democracy in Myanmar to helping to broker a cease-fire last year, when tensions flared between Israel and Hamas. But the final weeks of her tenure were rocky, when she testified on Capitol Hill about the attack against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Foreign policy experts say she didn't have one signature achievement, but she did leave a mark.

MICHAEL O'HANLON [BROOKINGS INSTITUTION]: On balance, I think that she's notable for a steadiness, for a relatively error-free period, for extremely loyal service to the President.

WELKER: Her journey to secretary of state was somewhat improbable. From the White House's first lady, to the Senate, to a tough campaign against her now-former boss.

BARACK OBAMA: I was a big admirer of Hillary's before our primary battles.

CLINTON: If the roles had been reversed and I had ended up winning, I would have desperately wanted him to be in my cabinet. So if I'm saying I would have wanted him to say yes to me, how am I going to justify saying no to my president?

WELKER: And while today she can sleep in, Clinton's next move is a mystery. She joked to The New York Times in November, "Maybe I'll get a decorating show." But speculation about a White House run in 2016 has begun in earnest.

CLINTON: For the foreseeable future, I don't think that I will be at all political because there's just so much else I need to do.

WELKER: Now sources close to Clinton tell me she really hasn't made up her mind about whether or not she'll run in 2016. It's certainly one of the options that's on the table. But they say right now she is just focused on getting some rest. Lester.

HOLT: Kristen Welker this morning, thank you.