Another GOP Debate, Another Chance for ABC's Stephanopoulos to Feature a Democrat
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday continued his streak of having a top Obama operative discuss a Republican presidential debate. Rather than talk to any of the contenders, Stephanopoulos turned to top White House strategist David Plouffe.
Speaking of the Occupy Wall Street protest, Stephanopoulos indicated that the rallies seem to "be growing every day." He blandly speculated, "Is this the liberal version of the Tea Party? And is that a good thing for the White House?" This is in stark contrast to the hard-hitting, derisive questions the former Democratic operative turned journalist had for the Tea Party.
On October 7, 2010, Stephanopoulos worried about Tea Party candidates being "too extreme." On October 19, sensing the coming GOP landslide, the GMA host pushed Senator John McCain, wondering if the new Republicans will "cooperate" with Obama.
On September 13, 2011, after a GOP presidential debate, Stephanopoulos interviewed Obama aide David Axelrod. On September 8, after a Republican debate, the journalist featured White House chief of staff William Daley. The next day, after Barack Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress, Stephanopoulos talked to Vice President.
Now, he did ask a few tough questions to Plouffe on Tuesday. Stephanopoulos put the Obama aide on the spot by wondering, "I know you tied them all together. But last week, Vice President Biden said that the Republican Party is actually strong enough to win. Is he right?"
However, the ABC anchor's go-to choice for guests, regardless of the day's events, seems to be a Democrat.
A transcript of the October 11 segment, which aired at 7:07am EDT, follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And here now to weigh in on all of this and President Obama's jobs bill, which faces a key vote in the Senate today, is the President's top strategist, David Plouffe. Good morning, David. Thanks for joining us this morning this morning. I want to get to the jobs vote in just a minute. But first, weigh in on this Herman Cain phenomenon. A couple of months ago, he actually said that he's following the playbook of the Obama campaign. He said, "David Plouffe wrote a book. And guess what we did? We read the book. Genius! Let me tell you something about Herman Cain. I don't have a problem taking a good idea and using it, even if it did come from Obama." What do you make of Herman Cain?
DAVID PLOUFFE: Well, I guess I'm not an expert in the Republican primary process. I think this is, to use a baseball term, we're still in the first or second inning here. This is going to have a lot of twists and turns between now and early January. What I do think, George, you'll see on the stage in New Hampshire tonight, is all of the candidates subscribing to the same economic policies that led to the great recession. They want to let Wall Street write their own rules, huge tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations. Not invest in things like education. And rebuilding the country. So, that's really the issue here.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you tied them all together. But last week, Vice President Biden said that the Republican Party is actually strong enough to win. Is he right?
PLOUFFE: Well, we're going to have a close election. I mean, some things aren't going to change between now and next November. We're obviously in a tough economy. We're going to have a very close election, as most presidential elections are. We're going to fight for every vote. But what the President is focused on is how to put people back to work in the short-term. And how do we rebuild an economy in the long-term that makes sure responsibility is rewarded and the middle class gets more security. And that's a big difference in this election.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that's why you're calling for a vote on the President's nearly half billion- half trillion dollar American Jobs Act tonight. But it doesn't even yet have the support of all of the Senate Democrats. It's not going to pass tonight. So, a lot of Republicans especially, but a lot of other analysts have said, you're wasting your time. Why not focus now on something that can actually pass?
PLOUFFE: Well, listen, we're going to get the vast, vast majority of Democratic senators tonight. We hope we get some Republican senators because the economy's far too weak. And the question is are we going to do something about it? Or are we going to sit back? The President thinks we ought to put teachers back on the job, put construction workers back on the job. And as he said last week, this is just the first chapter. So, we're going to keep at it and make these senators and these members of the House vote whether they want to give tax cuts to the middle class, whether they want to give tax cuts to veterans.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you're putting them on the spot. But, couldn't you get something done more quickly if you broke it up into individual pieces and tried to pass the ones that have bipartisan support now?
PLOUFFE: Well- we're- Listen- We think it's important for the country to understand what the President and, again, the vast majority of the Democratic Party in the Senate thinks we ought to do right now to help the economy. To create up to two million jobs, to give tax relief to the middle class of this country. Obviously, if this vote doesn't succeed tonight, and that would be a tragedy for the country, we're going to get right at it. And by the end of the year, the question for Washington is, people in both parties, is, are you going to be able to report back to your constituents that you did something to help the middle class, help the economy at a time when it direly needs it?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you about this Occupy Wall Street movement. It seems to be growing every day. Is this the liberal version of the Tea Party? And is that a good thing for the White House?
PLOUFFE: Well, I guess I'd make a general point about it, George, which is that the protests you're seeing are the same conversations people are having in living rooms and kitchens all across America. People are frustrated by an economy that does not reward hard work and responsibility, where Wall Street and main street don't seem to play by the same set of rules. And, so, the question is- For instance on Wall Street reform, which the President passed, most Republicans in Congress, and I believe all of the Republicans on the stage tonight in New Hampshire, they want to unwind Wall Street reform. And, obviously, we need to make our financial system more transparent. Make sure taxpayers aren't on the hook for bailouts anymore. And make sure that things like hidden credit card fees and mortgage penalties are not part of our system. And so that's going to be an essential debate. So, if you're concerned about Wall Street and our financial system, the President is standing on the side of consumers and middle class. And a lot of the Republicans are basically saying, "You know what? Let's go back to the same policies that led to the great recession in the first place."