ABC's Robin Roberts Hits Rand Paul for 'Private Country Club' Victory Party
Good Morning America's Robin Roberts on Wednesday oddly highlighted Rand
Paul's Senate primary victory party at a country club as an indicator that he's
not a real outsider. After informing the Republican that voters are "tired of
how Washington is," she derided, "Some people find it a bit ironic that your
victory party last night was at a private country club in Kentucky. Doesn't that
kind of send a mixed message there?"
Former Democrat turned journalist George Stephanopoulos also discussed Tuesday's primaries and again complained that voters were "punishing candidates that do work across party lines."
Speaking to former George W. Bush pollster Matt Dowd, he fretted, "Whether it's Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania or Robert Bennett in Utah. So, Matthew, how do candidates protect themselves in this environment?" Of course, Dowd pointed out that one reason voters defeated Specter, the White House's preferred candidate, was they thought he "switched parties merely to save his own skin."
Stephanopoulos has been promoting this talking point for days. On Monday's World
News, the anchor worried that Americans say "they want the parties to work
together, yet they seem to be most against now the Senators, the incumbents, who
did work across party lines."
A transcript of the Rand Paul segment, which aired at 7:05am EDT on May 19, follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's go to our dueling strategists now, Donna Brazile for the Democrats. Also, Matthew Dowd, he was George W. Bush chief pollster. He has worked for candidates of both parties. And, Matthew, let me begin with you. Boy, the message last night was unmistakable. If you're part of the establishment, you're part of the problem.
MATTHEW DOWD: That's absolutely true. If you're part of the establishment on either side of the aisle, you're part of the problem. And it's race after race. It started last year. It continued this year. This was not an anti-establishment Democratic- or anti-Republican. It is an anti-establishment, politics-as-usual message, loud and clear.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Donna, that could come against Democrats overwhelmingly because they hold control of both houses right now.
BRAZILE: George, there's a stiff wind facing incumbents from both political parties. Also, I think another key takeaway is if you are part of the establishment, or you receive endorsements from the establishment, then you're in deep trouble because voters don't really care if someone back in Washington D.C. says you're a good candidate. They want to know exactly what you will do to help them. That's another key message out there, George. And that is, voters want candidates to really get along. They want the parties to work together. They want results out of Washington, not partisan bickering.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you say that, Donna. Let me pose this to both of you. It seems like they've been punishing candidates that do work across party lines. Whether it's Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania or Robert Bennett in Utah. So, Matthew, how do candidates protect themselves in this environment?
DOWD: Well, I think the biggest part of this thing is they have to hold themselves accountable and hold the system accountable. And be authentic about it. I think what happened with Arlen Specter is the voters did not think Arlen specter was authentic. They think he switched parties merely to preserve his own skin. And when voters see that and you're not authentic about what you're doing, he compromised. But it looked all like politics as usual. And, so, they want to get things done. And they want, as Donna says, they want to get things done together, people doing it hand in hand. But they want it done authentically, not just another political machination to get their own reelection done.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Donna, the best news for the Democrats last night, that House seat in Pennsylvania. That's actually going to go in the key column right now. One sign that the Democrats may be able to keep control of the House in November.
BRAZILE: You know, once again, the Democrats have a big census. Mr. Critz ran as a party democrat. Not as a person who was carrying Pelosi's, you know, message or President Obama. He ran as a person who would bring jobs. The Republican candidate wanted to nationalize elections. The voters said, "Focus on us, we don't care about the national politics."
STEPHANOPOULOS: Matthew, before we go, let me ask you about what could be the best Republican news of the night. It came out of Connecticut. The Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, running for Senate there, is believed to be a shoo-in, but got in trouble for embellishing his service record during the Vietnam era. Take a look.
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: We have learned something very important since the days that I served in Vietnam.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Of course, he didn't serve in Vietnam. He served stateside. So, yesterday, he had to make a press conference where he took responsibility for the misstatements, but didn't back down at all.
BLUMENTHAL: I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Matthew, did he contain the damage yesterday?
DOWD: Oh, I think there's still damage from this. When you basically make up something and you've told the voters that and now, it turns out not to be true. He's taken this race from a race that was a lock, basically for Democrats, to a race that's probably going to be a tossup. So, he hasn't contained the damage. It's still possible he could win. But he certainly, by his own action, took a race he had locked up and made it a winnable race for the Republicans.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Donna, ten seconds left.
BRAZILE: He's an incredible public servant. I hope he can go out there and convince voters he did misspeak.
-Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.