NBC Gushes Over First Lady's Hairdo and President's Playlist

On Thursday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams took time out of the broadcast to provide this supposed "news" update: "First Lady Michelle Obama turned 49 today. But the big news came as the First Lady's office inaugurated a Twitter account and sent out this picture showing the First Lady's new bangs. Which Vanity Fair's website instantly praised, calling them 'featherly,' and tracing their lineage in hair terms to Brigitte Bardot." [Listen to the audio]

Coverage of the grooming development continued on Friday's Today as White House correspondent Kristen Welker proclaimed: "The buzz over her bangs was immediate. People magazine tweeted: 'Guess who's turning 49 with bangs? Yep. bday girl @michelleobama debuted a fab new cut.' Vanity Fair also weighed in, remarking, 'There's just no other way to put this – got bangs.'"

Far from done with Michelle Obama's new look, the hosts had a panel discussion on the topic later in the show, with co-host Willie Geist declaring: "This is big. First of all, Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the United States, joined Twitter yesterday with the handle @FLOTUS....News-breaking enough. But then, her first tweet was a photograph of herself sporting a new do....she's got the bangs."

Fill-in co-host Tamron Hall fawned: "She looks hot, very Cleopatra."

In addition to the First Lady's hair style, earlier on the program, Geist reported the songs on President Obama's iPod:

And the President showing some range in his musical taste. With his second inauguration on Monday, the commander-in-chief has released his official playlist for the big day. It's got some of his old favorites, like Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered....Other artists that made the cut for the President: Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Biz Markie, Brad Paisley and even the Glee cast singing Lady Gaga. All that on his iPod as he gets ready to start his second term.

Near the end of the 9 a.m. et hour, weatherman Al Roker gave viewers a preview of the hard-hitting journalism they could expect on Monday: "...we'll be live in Washington D.C., bringing you everything from the official events, to the marching bands, to the First Lady's outfits and even that new haircut, those bangs everybody's talking about."

That's probably a preview of media coverage for the next four years as well.

Here is a full transcript of Welker's January 18 report on Today:


MATT LAUER: New term, new 'do. First Lady Michelle Obama changes up her hairstyle with a bang as the final preparations are being made in Washington to host the President's second inaugural.


SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Events for President Obama's second inaugural get underway this weekend and the First Lady will be sporting a brand new hairstyle for the occasion. What's ahead for her in terms of style and substance? NBC's Kristen Welker is at the White House with that story. Kristen, good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: New Year, New Do; First Lady Michelle Obama Unveils New Haircut]

KRISTEN WELKER: Savannah, good morning to you. The First Lady unveiled that new style just in time for her birthday. And you can bet as inauguration ceremonies get underway, everything she does will be under a microscope. The First Lady hit the town Thursday night to celebrate her 49th birthday, and her new 'do. Earlier, she took to Twitter to showcase the sleek new look, just in time for the start of her husband's second term.

And the buzz over her bangs was immediate. People magazine tweeted: "Guess who's turning 49 with bangs? Yep. bday girl @michelleobama debuted a fab new cut." Vanity Fair also weighed in, remarking, "There's just no other way to put this – got bangs." Michelle Obama made her mark a fashion risk taker four years ago, donning a white chiffon gown by newbie designer Jason Woo and J. Crew gloves during her husband's swearing in, setting the expectations exceedingly high this time around.

DAVID YERMACK [PROFESSOR OF FINANCE, NYU]: Every time she walks through the door of the White House out into the public, she knows that all eyes are on her.

WELKER: The First Lady's office is mum about what Michelle Obama will be wearing next Monday. But one thing is certain, her choice could mean big money for the lucky designer.

YERMACK: It's almost like holding a lottery ticket when Mrs. Obama wears a certain designer's garment to a very high-profile event. The stock price can rise well over 1%.

WELKER: Also under scrutiny, her agenda. An official close to the First Lady says she and her team are in the process of "developing" a "second term strategic plan" right now. Her focus so far, helping military families.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I won't be satisfied, nor will my husband, until every single veteran and military spouse who wants a job, has one....Moving is fun, right?

WELKER: And the Let's Move campaign, aimed at combating childhood obesity. Some critics have wondered why the Harvard-educated lawyer hasn't taken on more policy-heavy endeavors.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Do you feel like you have to avoid controversy?

OBAMA: You know, I think that I am strategic. I try to be strategic, because I want to make sure that the things that I do further my husband's administration.

WELKER: And the President is also showing off a new look, sort of. Just moments ago, the White House released this new official portrait of President Obama. This is also on the white house Flicker page. All of this, as he prepares to start another four years as commander-in-chief. Savannah.

GUTHRIE: Alright, Kristen Welker. When you say new look, I'm expecting bangs, but okay, thank you so much.

MATT LAUER: On the President? I don't think that's good for the President, no.