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NBC's Mitchell Swoons: Caroline Kennedy 'Born to Be an Ambassador'

On Thursday's NBC Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell couldn't contain her glee over Carolina Kennedy being appointed U.S. ambassador to Japan: "Caroline Kennedy was almost born to be an ambassador, a picture perfect daughter in a telegenic first family. She captured our hearts all the way through her intense personal heartbreak." [Listen to the audio]

Mitchell acknowledged that Kennedy "has no particular experience in Japan," but quickly brushed it aside: "...she has something that the Japanese consider far more important in an ambassador, and that is a celebrated family name and a direct line to her very good friend in the Oval Office." On Wednesday's Nightly News, Mitchell gushed: "The Kennedy name is magic in Japan."

On Today, in an attempt to bolster Kennedy's lack of credentials for the important diplomatic post, Mitchell declared: "Her grandfather, Joe Kennedy Sr., was ambassador to Great Britain before World War II, her Aunt Jean was Bill Clinton's ambassador to Ireland. Japan has always loved U.S. ambassadors with famous political names..."

Mitchell failed to mention that Joe Kennedy Sr. was a supporter of the Munich Pact that appeased Adolf Hitler.

Mitchell featured sound bites boosting Kennedy's appointment:

MITCHELL: Experts say Caroline will have an impact.

JENNIFER LIND [PROFESSOR, DARTMOUTH COLLEGE]: She's a very respected figure, and her name is a very respected one, so she's going to be taken very, very seriously.

MITCHELL: And keeping her family's legacy alive.

ROBERT DALLEK [KENNEDY HISTORIAN]: I'm sure she's so mindful of exactly of what disappointment means, not only for the country, not only for the Obama administration, but also for the Kennedy legacy.

Following the taped report, co-host Savannah Guthrie wondered: "She certainly has a high profile and celebrity. Does she have any particular expertise with Japan? And if not, what's she going to do to prepare? Maybe Japanese lessons?"

Mitchell noted that Kennedy would undergo some State Department training, but remarked: "I'm not sure that there would be actually learning Japanese, that's a very hard language to learn..."

Here is a full transcript of Mitchell's July 25 report on Today:

7:08AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Well, President Obama is making headlines this morning with the pick of Caroline Kennedy as the next U.S. ambassador to Japan. Andrea Mitchell is NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent. Andrea, good morning to you.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Caroline's New Role; JFK's Daughter Nominated as Ambassador to Japan]

ANDREA MITCHELL: Good morning. Caroline Kennedy has no particular experience in Japan, but she has something that the Japanese consider far more important in an ambassador, and that is a celebrated family name and a direct line to her very good friend in the Oval Office.

Caroline Kennedy was almost born to be an ambassador, a picture perfect daughter in a telegenic first family. She captured our hearts all the way through her intense personal heartbreak. Like her mother, very private, Caroline remains a Kennedy devoted to public service, as she told Brian Williams in 2011.

CAROLINE KENNEDY: There are so many things that we all have to contribute, and there's so many things that need solving and doing.

MITCHELL: In 2008, she helped Barack Obama win the nomination over Hillary Clinton with a critically timed endorsement, comparing Obama to her father.

KENNEDY: There is one candidate who offers that same sense of hope and inspiration.

MITCHELL: A new high profile led to a brief flirtation with running for the Senate to replace Clinton. Elective office, though, was not a natural fit for this Kennedy, but diplomacy could be. Her grandfather, Joe Kennedy Sr., was ambassador to Great Britain before World War II, her Aunt Jean was Bill Clinton's ambassador to Ireland. Japan has always loved U.S. ambassadors with famous political names, and Caroline's father and uncle are credited with helping Japan become a modern economic power after the war. One potential challenge, Japan has no tradition of women leaders. But experts say Caroline will have an impact.

JENNIFER LIND [PROFESSOR, DARTMOUTH COLLEGE]: She's a very respected figure, and her name is a very respected one, so she's going to be taken very, very seriously.

MITCHELL: And keeping her family's legacy alive.

ROBERT DALLEK [KENNEDY HISTORIAN]: I'm sure she's so mindful of exactly of what disappointment means, not only for the country, not only for the Obama administration, but also for the Kennedy legacy.

GUTHRIE: She certainly has a high profile and celebrity. Does she have any particular expertise with Japan? And if not, what's she going to do to prepare? Maybe Japanese lessons?

MITCHELL: Well, you know, all ambassador designates – and thirty-five percent of them are career diplomats, but the rest are these political appointees – and these political appointees all go to a special school at the State Department for weeks and weeks to prepare, to prepare for their confirmation hearings. So there is some lesson. I'm not sure that there would be actually learning Japanese, that's a very hard language to learn, but certainly there are a lot of languages that are easier to learn, and in this case, she probably will be taking lessons in Japanese culture.

GUTHRIE: Yeah, well, no question about that. Andrea Mitchell in Washington, thank you so much.

MITCHELL: You bet.