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NBC News's controversial comparison using Cory Remsburg

NBC News's controversial comparison using Cory Remsburg

A two-minute standing ovation forArmy Sgt. Cory Remsburg was arguably the most memorable moment of President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night. NBC News's "First Read" daily roundup digested the scene as such (emphasis added):

Credit: Getty

Last night’s speech also ended on an emotional -- and upbeat -- note when Obama recognized Army Ranger Cory Remsburg, who was almost killed in Afghanistan and continues to recuperate from a brain injury. “My fellow Americans, men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy,” the president said. “Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble, we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. But for more than 200 years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress.” That story could also apply to Obama himself: Nothing in his seven years on the national political stage (2007-2014) has come easy. The 2008 race for the Democratic nomination. Even that general election. The health-care law. The re-election campaign. And now the president’s current situation in which he finds himself bloodied and bruised after the botched health-care rollout. Perseverance is an important quality for any president. Bill Clinton was usually able to talk his way out of sticky situations. But Obama’s M.O. is to grind it out. That, more than anything else, was the message he wanted to send last night -- both he and the country are grinding it out.

At the least, it's a curious parallel drawn between Obama's political journey to the near-death experience of Remsburg, which impaired his mobility and left him blind in one eye.

NBC News's Mark Murray, one of three guys who write First Read, explained the phrasing.

"We were not comparing Remsburg’s story directly to Obama, who in a way has lived a charmed life (especially before becoming president)," Murray told TheBlaze Blog. "But we were talking about the story of perseverance – and that does apply to Obama. Stumbling, making mistakes, and getting up from defeat. That is the story that we said could apply to Obama."

Asked specifically about the "bloodied and bruised" line in First Read, Murray said that was not meant to be a comparison between Remsburg and Obama's health care policy battles. "Just talking about the story of perseverance," he said. "And no doubt, the president and his supporters see the story of perseverance as the lesson of the Obama presidency, if it is to be successful."

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