Nightly News | August 09, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Last night we showed you the cover of Newsweek magazine . It shows presidential candidate Michele Bachmann in what looks to most people like a misfire at photo shoot . It's been criticized as a media cheap shot. We've learned a lot more about how the photo made its way to the cover of a national newsmagazine. A report on the fallout tonight from NBC 's Andrea Mitchell .
Representative MICHELE BACHMANN: Thank you. Thank you. Come on out. Tell everybody you can to come out.
ANDREA MITCHELL reporting: Michele Bachmann seemed to be feeling good in Sioux City today; aides say shrugging off a Newsweek cover photo that makes a candidate even opponents call photogenic look anything but. Many people were surprised.
Mr. RYAN LIZZA (The New Yorker): I thought it was a tough cover . I think it was probably a cover meant to be controversial, meant to get some buzz.
MITCHELL: On the cover Bachmann is photographed from below, her eyes wide open, with a caption "Queen of Rage ." Newsweek editor Tina Brown explained, " Michele Bachmann 's intensity is galvanizing voters in Iowa right now, and Newsweek 's cover captures that." Lois Romano wrote the cover story .
Ms. LOIS ROMANO (Newsweek Senior Writer): It's a very provocative photo. She's a very provocative candidate. She is stirring a lot of intense passions among the electorate and a lot of intense passions among her own party, and I think the cover reflects that.
MITCHELL: Bachmann told a supporter at a town hall yesterday she hadn't even seen the cover .
Unidentified Man: OK, it's a big close-up, sort of a wild-eyed photo with the headline "Queen of Rage ."
Ms. BACHMANN: Aha. Well, we'll have to take a look at that, won't we?
MITCHELL: Today the campaign told NBC News the picture was taken during a lighting test before the formal portrait, and that Bachmann preferred other choices. Not so, says Newsweek . A spokesman tells NBC News the photographer's assistant sat in the for the lighting test, that these pictures were among the alternatives they rejected, and Bachmann was never given a choice. Advisers say Bachmann is focusing on Iowa , where she is the front-runner, and might even get a sympathy vote because of the unflattering portrait.
Unidentified Woman: She's a very attractive woman. And seeing her in person, it just didn't really represent her very well.
MITCHELL: Andrea Mitchell , NBC News, Washington.