NBC's Matt Lauer and Al Roker, on Tuesday's "Today" show, revealed they enjoyed a "nice" evening at the theater last night, in the presence of Michelle Obama, as she "dazzled New York City for a second time," when she visited the Metropolitan Opera House. After an Amy Robach piece that celebrated Mrs. Obama's return to the Big Apple, Roker and Lauer bragged that they too were in attendance at the American Ballet Theater Spring Gala, along with the First Lady, as Roker gushed: "It was fantastic!"
For her part Robach joined in the Obama family myth-making as she cheered, "Everyone takes notice when the First Lady is out on the town here in the Big Apple and Monday was no exception." Robach, in her piece, even included several soundbites from a delighted New York Times' Jodi Kantor who enthused: "You look at the kind of parties that the Met hosts and if you look at the top ballet galas in New York they always have big celebrities there, but Mrs. Obama is a different order of magnitude."
Kantor later made the inevitable Camelot comparison, "Mrs. Obama is in some ways a very traditional First Lady. Jackie Kennedy Onassis was a great champion of the American Ballet Theater and her visits not only show that she wants people to support these organizations but she's also adding a big dose of presidential glamour."
Robach also highlighted how the New York Times wasn't the only print publication enthralled by Mrs. Obama as "Today's" national correspondent pointed out the First Lady made both Time and Maxim's Top 100 lists, to which Kantor cooed: "I think it shows how broad her appeal is right now."
The following Lauer opening teaser, Robach story, and Lauer and Roker exchanges with Vieira were aired on the May 19 "Today" show:
MATT LAUER: Also for the second time in just two weeks First Lady Michelle Obama has paid a visit to our fair city, looking stunning at every stop. We're gonna have more on her visit just ahead.
MATT LAUER: First Lady Michelle Obama has dazzled New York City for the second time in just a couple of weeks. "Today's" national correspondent Amy Robach has the details on that. Amy, good morning.
[On screen headline: "Back In The Big Apple, First Lady Returns To New York."]
AMY ROBACH: Good morning, Matt. Everyone takes notice when the First Lady is out on the town here in the Big Apple and Monday was no exception. Michelle Obama came to the Big Apple for a Mets double-header yesterday, but there wasn't a baseball in sight. The First Lady hit the Metropolitan Museum of Art by day and the Metropolitan Opera House at night - a tour of high culture which marked her second trip to New York in just two weeks.
JODI KANTOR, NEW YORK TIMES: You look at the kind of parties that the Met hosts and if you look at the top ballet galas in New York they always have big celebrities there, but Mrs. Obama is a different order of magnitude.
ROBACH: The day began with the First Lady joining local schoolchildren in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at The Metropolitan Museum of Arts newly refurbished American Arts Wing.
MICHELLE OBAMA: Our future as an innovative country depends on ensuring that every one has access to the arts and to cultural opportunity.
ROBACH: Her last trip to New York included a speaking engagement at Time magazine's 100 Gala, where she was also honored as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. This trip Mrs. Obama graces the pages of a different sort of magazine, taking a turn from high culture to pop culture. Mrs. Obama was recently named to Maxim's Hot 100 list.
KANTOR: I think it shows how broad her appeal is right now.
ROBACH: Monday night was ladies night at the Metropolitan Opera House. The Second Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden accompanied the First Lady to the American Ballet Theater Spring Gala, previewing the company's eight week season.
OBAMA: I am thrilled to be here in support of American Ballet Theater.
KANTOR: Mrs. Obama is in some ways a very traditional First Lady. Jackie Kennedy Onassis was a great champion of the American Ballet Theater and her visits not only show that she wants people to support these organizations but she's also adding a big dose of presidential glamour.
ROBACH: Supporting the arts is important to both of the Obamas. The President included an additional $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts in his economic stimulus package. Matt?
LAUER: Alright, Amy thank you very much.
MEREDITH VIEIRA: You were at the ballet with the First Lady?
LAUER PUTTING ON A PROPER ACCENT: Yes we were.
AL ROKER: Yes that's right. It was very cultural.
LAUER: Finger sandwiches and tea, we did. Yeah.
VIEIRA: How nice.
LAUER: Al was there.
VIEIRA: You were there too?
ROKER: Yeah had a good time. Got all gussied up. Yeah I had a great nap.
VIEIRA: I was, I was, I was-
ROKER: No, it was fantastic. It was a great evening.
LAUER: It was nice. It was a sampling of all the ballets they're gonna be putting on during the current season.
VIEIRA: Wow, nice.
ROKER: Including one that was especially choreographed with Herbie Hancock playing the piano.
LAUER: Yeah it was cool.
ROKER: Yeah it was fantastic.
LAUER: Really cool.
VIEIRA REFERENCING EARLIER COMMENT ABOUT WEATHER BRINGING GNATS OUT: I was at home-
LAUER: Were ya?
VIEIRA: -swatting gnats. Yeah. That's what I was doing.
LAUER: Clearly not a patron of the arts like we are.
ROKER: That's right.
VIEIRA REFERRING TO ROKER'S TIE: I like the purple, by the way. That's very Michelle Obama. The purple, right?
ROKER: Well thank you.
VIEIRA OVER VIDEO OF MICHELLE OBAMA WEARING PURPLE DRESS: The look is very trendy.
-Geoffrey Dickens is the senior news analyst at the Media Research Center.