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NBC Cheers: Michelle Obama 'Chose to Fight Back' Against 'Controversial New Book'

On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed to viewers: "A new book you may have heard about written by a reporter for the New York Times about life in the Obama White House paints what is at times a not-so-flattering picture of First Lady Michelle Obama and today she chose to fight back."

In the report that followed, correspondent Andrea Mitchell gushed over the First Lady: "Michelle Obama in Virginia today promoting one of her top priorities, medical care for military families....A popular cause, like her fight against childhood obesity. That and her signature style have defined her role as First Lady." Mitchell then remarked: "Not the meddling spouse portrayed in the controversial new book, 'The Obamas.'"

A clip was played of Michelle Obama declaring in an interview with CBS's Gayle King: "...people have tried to paint of me since, you know, the day Barack announced, that I'm some angry black woman." Mitchell noted: "White House officials say it is a caricature of Michelle Obama that first emerged in the 2008 campaign."

After playing a sound bite of Mrs. Obama on the campaign trail announcing, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country," Mitchell derisively added: "Opponents seized on that comment to paint Mrs. Obama, a Princeton and Harvard Law School graduate, as some kind of radical."

Mitchell touted White House talking points dismissing some of the claims made by author Jodi Kantor: "Mrs. Obama also rejects the book's claim that she clashed with her husband's aides, former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs....White House officials acknowledge moments of tension between the First Lady and the President's staff, but they say far less than in past administrations. They say the book doesn't fully convey the personal bond between the Obamas."

Here is a full transcript of Mitchell's January 11 report:

7:14PM ET TEASE:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Still ahead, as we continue, the First Lady and how she's portrayed in a controversial new book. And tonight she is pushing back.

7:16PM ET SEGMENT:

WILLIAMS: A new book you may have heard about written by a reporter for the New York Times about life in the Obama White House paints what is at times a not-so-flattering picture of First Lady Michelle Obama and today she chose to fight back. Our report tonight from NBC's Andrea Mitchell.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Michelle Obama in Virginia today promoting one of her top priorities, medical care for military families.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Please know that America will be there for you and your families.

MITCHELL: A popular cause, like her fight against childhood obesity. That and her signature style have defined her role as First Lady. Not the meddling spouse portrayed in the controversial new book, "The Obamas." Today Mrs. Obama challenged that portrait, as she did with Gayle King on CBS.

OBAMA: I guess it's more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here, and a strong woman, you know, but that's been an image that people have tried to paint of me since, you know, the day Barack announced, that I'm some angry black woman.

MITCHELL: White House officials say it is a caricature of Michelle Obama that first emerged in the 2008 campaign.

OBAMA: For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country.

MITCHELL: Opponents seized on that comment to paint Mrs. Obama, a Princeton and Harvard Law School graduate, as some kind of radical. Now, the new book by author Jodi Kantor quotes aides as saying the First Lady felt pressured to look perfect, "...because everyone was waiting for a black woman to make a mistake." Mrs. Obama also rejects the book's claim that she clashed with her husband's aides, former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

OBAMA: I can count the number of times I go over to the West Wing, period.

MITCHELL: The book suggests Mrs. Obama did not want to be like Hillary Clinton, who had her own office in the West Wing. According to the book, Mrs. Obama told an aide, "I don't want to be Hillary Clinton. I can't be that person." White House officials acknowledge moments of tension between the First Lady and the President's staff, but they say far less than in past administrations. They say the book doesn't fully convey the personal bond between the Obamas. Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Manchester, New Hampshire.


- Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.