Emboldening Who? Confusing What?

On the “Today Show” this morning, NBC’s Norah O’Donnell informed viewers that, “with Senator Kerry in mind, the president will say today, ‘if you don’t speak consistently and clearly, you may embolden your enemies and confuse your allies.’”

The president, she was telling us, would imply Kerry’s rhetoric might be aiding the terrorists — a significant volley in an already contentious campaign. Ready to see the sparks fly, we eagerly tuned into the Bush’s speech today and waited to hear him go on the offensive. And then we waited some more. Nothing. No reference to emboldening anybody, no allies unsure of what to do. Kerry wasn’t even mentioned. The closest the president came was the claim that “any sign of weakness or retreat simply validates terrorist violence” — a reference to the recent situation in Spain.

So where did O’Donnell get her information?

According to NBC News spokeswoman Lauren Kapp, “based on conversations had and comments made by senior White House officials in recent days, Norah had the understanding that the president would make a comment of that nature.”

We’re not exactly “emboldened” by the story here at Campaign Desk, but you can count us among the “confused.”

Brian Montopoli

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Brian Montopoli is a writer at CJR Daily.