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NBC's Russert Says He Made `Dumb' Statement

NBC News reporter Luke Russert said he made a "dumb" misstatement on the "Today" show Wednesday when he suggested that smart people supported Barack Obama for president.

Almost immediately, Russert took a hazing in the Web world. Wrote Tim Graham of the conservative Media Research Center on the NewsBusters blog: "Out of the mouths of young, untrained reporters come the unspoken beliefs of the liberal media."

Russert, son of the late "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert, is covering youth issues for NBC News. He filed a report for "Today" about campaign activity at the University of Virginia, and talked about it live afterward with Matt Lauer.

Russert, 23, said about the university: "The smartest kids in the state go there so it is leaning a little bit toward Obama."

Oops. Now he's either implied that students at other colleges in Virginia aren't as smart as those at the University of Virginia or that you have to be dumb not to support Obama. Or both.

He said in a blog later Wednesday that he misspoke and "made what is without a doubt, quite simply a dumb comment."

"I meant to say that many of the kids who go to UVA are from affluent, highly educated households who are leaning (toward) Obama and hence their kids lean Obama," he said. "Plenty of smart college kids will vote for John McCain from UVA and plenty of smart kids go to Virginia Tech or George Mason and they, too, could end up being big Obama voters.

"Today was one of my first lessons in the perils of live television," he said. "Lesson learned."


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