Stephanopoulos Eagerly Pushes Biden to Bash 'Racial Politics' of Newt Gingrich
Ex-Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos continued to nakedly promote the Democratic agenda, prompting Joe Biden on Wednesday to agree that Newt Gingrich is "playing racial politics" with his attacks on Barack Obama.
Rather than force the Vice President to spout his own talking points, the Good Morning America co-host tossed this softball: "You called the former Speaker's statements ridiculous. But, do you think he's playing racial politics when he calls President Obama a food stamp president?" [MP3 audio here.]
Stephanopoulos's previous question set Biden up to attack: "[Newt Gingrich] said that the President 'will always prefer a food stamp economy to a paycheck economy and call it fair.' Your response?"
Biden, appearing on the show to discuss the State of the Union, responded by mocking, "Uh, it's hard to respond to Newt with those kind of ridiculous statements."
However, the Vice President's comments apparently weren't strong enough, thus prompting Stephanopoulos's "racial politics" question.
In a follow-up segment with Jake Tapper, Stephanopoulos insisted that it would be hard to accomplish legislative goals in 2012 because "the rhetoric [was] so tough after the speech."
The journalist added, "Not only Newt Gingrich saying... this is evidence of the President being a food stamp president. Also, the Republican response. Mitch Daniels that this is more politics of division."
A partial of the January 25th segment can be found below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Battle plan. The President lays out the blueprint for bringing America back, saying he's ready to tax the rich to help get it done. And the night's most emotional moment. Gabby Giffords returns to her seat on Capitol Hill.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's turn to the State of the Union address last night. The President gave a forceful defense of his record and his agenda. No surprise. His challengers were right out with their response right away. Newt Gingrich said it's time to confront the truth about President Obama. He said that the President "will always prefer a food stamp economy to a paycheck economy and call it fair." Your response?
JOE BIDEN: Uh, it's hard to respond to Newt with those kind of ridiculous statements. But, look, the fact is that for 23 months, people have been getting- the private sector's been hiring people. The President talked about what we do think is fair. It's fair to give the middle class a fighting shot here, to bring home jobs, incentivize companies to come home and manufacture here. We're short tens of thousands of, of folks who are tool and die maker We have a different priority set than Newt Gingrich and apparently and our Republican colleagues have. And we think it's fair to focus on the people who built the country, who create the productivity, who are the people who need the jobs, who will go out there and do a good job. And, by the way, there's a reason why, a reason why the in-sourcing is coming back, because our workers are the most productive workers in the world. We should do everything we can to deal with that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You called the former Speaker's statements ridiculous. But, do you think he's playing racial politics when he calls President Obama a food stamp president?
BIDEN: You know, it's hard to tell what- for me- I'm not being- I'm not being facetious. But, it's hard to tell what Newt means. He says a lot.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What can get done this year? As you know, that's what a lot of Americans are focused on. What is the one bill President Obama must have on his desk, must sign into law this year? And how will he work with Congress to get it done? Speaker Boehner said yesterday he hasn't spoke to the President since December.
BIDEN: The extension of the middle class tax cut. Single most urgent thing to do. No excuse. Should be done now, should be done immediately. They should move quickly to give us the authority to be able to lower the interest rates for people that have never missed their mortgage. George, look, I think we're going to get more done than people think. I've been around a lot of State of the Unions. The mood in that place was much more serious than before. I think everybody realizes, Democrats and Republicans sitting out there in the House and Senate- in the House last night that the American public is sick and tired of- it's one thing to have a do-nothing Congress. It's another thing to stop-everything Congress. And I think they've got the message. I think we may get more done that people think this year.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, we will be watching. Mr. Vice President, thank you very much.
— Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.