ABC's Jake Tapper: Joe Wilson Seeks Limelight 'Like a Moth to a Flame'
Published: 9/11/2009 1:05 PM ET
For the second day in a row, ABC's Jake Tapper inserted a snarky, left-leaning attack into a report on Good Morning America. Highlighting Republican House member Joe Wilson's "You Lie!" outburst during Barack Obama's address to Congress on Wednesday, the reporter chided, "But although Wilson apologized to the White House for his lack of civility, he quickly took to the limelight of conservative media...like a moth to a flame."
On Thursday, Tapper recounted the President's speech and condescendingly explained, "At times, it was almost like the President were a principal and Congress a bunch of unruly school kids."
In fairness to Tapper, on Friday's GMA, he did emphasize Republican opposition to the address, featuring this quote from Senator Jon Kyl: "Bottom line, I thought the speech was partisan, uninformative, disingenuous." He also wryly pointed out just who the participants of an Obama-led meeting with senators over health care were: "The President also emphasized, with the Democratic crowd, how much he wants to work in a bipartisan way."
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:01am EDT on September 11, follows:
SAWYER: So, let's get straight to Jake Tapper, senior White House correspondent. What's going on behind those doors, Jake?-Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center.
JAKE TAPPER: Well, the President has become the lobbyist in chief for his health care reform plan. As one senator said, on Wednesday night the President set out his goals. And now, he's getting to a place where he's more firmly entrenched in trying to achieve those goals. The president summoned 16 moderate Democrats, and independent Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman, to the White House to give them the hard sell. They came by bus.
BARACK OBAMA: I will not tolerate us continuing to pay more for less in health care. The time is right. And we are going to move aggressively to get this done.
TAPPER: The President brought in budget director Peter Orzag to convince some of the budget hawks in the crowd that it's possible to pass health care reform without adding to the deficit. And that the effort will slow the unsustainable skyrocketing of health care costs. Sources say the President showed flexibility when discussing the government-run public option. "It's part of health care reform," the President said. "It is not health care reform." That's a message that's upsetting liberal lawmakers.
REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D-NY): Frankly, unless he's more clear about this notion of the public option, we are going to continue to be tugging in different directions.
TAPPER: The President also emphasized, with the Democratic crowd, how much he wants to work in a bipartisan way. That's a claim Republicans find hollow.
SEN. JON KYL (R-AZ): Bottom line, I thought the speech was partisan, uninformative, disingenuous.
TAPPER: Republican leaders seemed embarrassed by the outburst of South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson.
REP. JOE WILSON: You lie.
TAPPER: But although Wilson apologized to the White House for his lack of civility, he quickly took to the limelight of conservative media-
SEAN HANNITY: The man that has everyone talking.
TAPPER: - like a moth to a flame.
WILSON: I do apologize for speaking out. But what was said was not accurate.
TAPPER: With a new website devoted to Wilson as a spoil sport, plus, late-night comedians riffing on him-
CONAN O'BRIEN: Obama accepted Wilson's apology. Then invited him to appear before a death panel.
DAVID LETTERMAN: Top ten "South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson excuses."
TAPPER: -Wilson has entered the public consciousness.
LETTERMAN: Number two, it's been weeks since a Republican politician embarrassed the state of South Carolina. Number one, nobody cared when McCain yelled bingo.
TAPPER: And the White House apparently frustrated with having to defend health care legislation that does not meet the President's ideals has posted on their website Obama's plan, which is a two and a half-page outline, few details in there, Robin. But they're more comfortable defending that than what's on Capitol Hill. Robin?