While NBC marked the one-year anniversary of the Bin Laden killing with a fawning Inside the Situation Room profile of President Obama, on Thursday, the cast of Today
chided former White House aide Reggie Love for revealing that he and
the President "must have played 15 games of spades" during the 2011
operation. [Listen to the audio]
After playing the sound bite of Love, co-host Matt Lauer quickly added: "We should note, from what we understand, the President was in the Situation Room during all of the actual raid." He then remarked: "We wonder how they feel about Mr. Love writing about this." Fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie joked: "Bring, bring. Reggie it's the White House, line two." Weatherman Al Roker chimed in: "Remember that non-disclosure thing you signed?"
Lauer predicted that Love was "not going to be on the basketball court for a while" with the President after the admission.
Guthrie concluded: "Yeah, don't mention the spades game that went on."
When Brian Williams interviewed Obama for that one-hour campaign infomercial about the raid in 2012, the awestruck Nightly News anchor breathlessly wondered: "Is it true you ate Costco food, as to not draw any attention? And multiple pizzerias were contacted as to prevent any one large order from drawing attention to the gathering?...can you confirm those food details?"
Apparently Love's account of a bored commander-in-chief playing cards was just not as interesting as the White House staff sharing wholesale delicacies.
Here is a full transcript of the August 15 exchange on Today:
7:21AM TEASE ET
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Coming up on Trending, a story making a lot of headlines. How did President Obama spend part of the night Osama Bin Laden was killed? The surprising admission coming from a former aide.
8:10AM SEGMENT ET
MATT LAUER: Alright, we're back now, 8:10, with What's Trending Today. These are the stories you're talking about online. And trending on Politico, the night of the raid on Bin Laden.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Playing Under Pressure; President Played Cards on Day Bin Laden Was Killed]
By now we all know that this is an iconic photo. It's of President Obama in the White House Situation Room. Lots of members of his national security team there.
[PHOTO ON SCREEN OF OBAMA AND STAFF IN SITUATION ROOM]
Of course, that was a tense, a nerve-racking time. But now we're learning just how anxious the President really was, courtesy of Reggie Love, the aide once known as his body man. Here's how he says President Obama passed the time on that eventful day.
REGGIE LOVE: Most people were like down in the Situation Room, but he was like, 'I'm not – I'm can't – I'm not going to be down here, I can't watch this entire thing. So, he, myself, Pete Souza, the White House photographer, Marvin, we played – we must have played 15 hands – 15 games of spades.
LAUER: Okay, the White House is declining to comment on this. We should note, from what we understand, the President was in the Situation Room during all of the actual raid. And we wonder how they feel about Mr. Love writing about this.
GUTHRIE: I was about to say, 'Bring, bring. Reggie it's the White House, line two.'
AL ROKER: Remember that non-disclosure thing you signed?
LAUER: Not going to be on the basketball court for a while.
GUTHRIE: Yeah, don't mention the spades game that went on. Anyway, interesting nonetheless.