NBC’s Mitchell Criticizes Obama ‘Stunning Absence’ at Paris Event

Monday on NBC’s “Today,” network correspondent and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell criticized President Barack Obama’s “stunning absence,” at the Paris unity march Sunday.

Partial transcript as follows:

MITCHELL: Good morning, Savannah. That was a stunning absence. Just look at the pictures of the unity march Sunday: 40 world leaders, including all of your — even Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu  along with his adversary Palestinian President Abbas. But not President Obama, not Joe Biden, or anyone from the cabinet. The president was at the White House, the vice president was at his home in Delaware. This comes after notable absence of really strong reaction from the president since those horrors in France last week, some comments that he made in the Oval office and a photo opportunity, a line or two, added to a community college event in Nashville. Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris on a counter-terror meeting but he did not march. At the time he was actually doing interviews with Meet the Press by satellite and other TV networks. Secretary of State Kerry seems to be the only top official with the real explanation. He was [indecipherable] a climate summit in India. He will now go to Paris Thursday when he’s already planning — to have been nearby in Geneva for new talks with Iran. Of course, there are security concerns. I talked to officials. Any time the president or vice president travels and their presence could have inconvenient those who did attend. But one former official said it sure seems ham-handed. Savannah.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, “Today” co-host: And the real quick, Andrea, I mean, is this trip by Kerry now more damage control than diplomacy?

MITCHELL: Sure, sure it’s damage control. He’s very close relationship with the French. He spoke in French from the State Department when this all happened but he was going to be in Geneva, showing up on Thursday, even though he’s still doing a very important travel in Asia right now. That certainly does seem a little bit after the fact.

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