NBC's David Gregory's Presidential Impersonations Don't Extend to Obama

The newsman was a master at George W. Bush's Texas twang, but Obama is more elusive.

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By Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers

It looks like something else is ending along with the Bush administration: new Meet the Press host David Gregory's presidential impersonations. Gregory does a great George W. Bush, getting that Texas twang dead-on. But when it comes to Barack Obama, well, the new president's just not easy to mimic. "I don't find him all that imitable at the moment, but maybe that will change over time," he says. "I think Bush was a guy who you could definitely imitate."

And Gregory would know. He spent loads of time with the former prez when he covered the White House for NBC before taking over the late Tim Russert's post on Meet last month. Bush called the 6-foot-5 Gregory "Stretch." Gregory never returned the favor, though he did call him "Mr. P" once in a while. "It's kind of a one-way street—he comes up with a nickname, and we call him Mr. President."

At 38, Gregory's was a swift rise to the top and may be a model for others. For them, Gregory, who studied international relations at Washington's American University, has some career advice: Skip J-school. "I believe strongly in a liberal arts education," says Stretch. "I don't believe in studying communications or journalism, and I think spending as much time as you can studying critical thinking and writing is the key to everything." Gee, sounds like Russert's son, Luke, a history and communications student, now one of the network's youngest correspondents. So, what about Luke Russert spelling Gregory for vacations? "We'll see," says Stretch. "That's a conversation that we'll have here at NBC." He gives Luke a big thumbs up so far.

Illustration by Ed Wexler for USN&WR

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