The journalists at ABC News have refrained from questioning Barack Obama's unilateral tone at the State of the Union address. Reporter Jim Avila on Tuesday's Nightline went so far as to compare the President to an iconic movie character. Regarding Obama's threats to use executive actions to accomplish his goals, Avila enthused, "This was President Obama, the go-it-alone Terminator, mindful he has only three years left." [MP3 audio here.]
The ABC journalist heralded, "This was a stare down, chest pumping President, angry and resentful about a Congress determined to log jam his ideas." Avila did describe the second term Commander in Chief as "on the downward slide" and as losing his "power to persuade" with Congress. But the reporter failed to offer skepticism about the executive orders.
Avila's critique hinged solely on accomplishing liberal goals:
JIM AVILA: For Obama, it must seem like he has said all of this before. We've certainly heard it before. Minimum wage, version 2013.
OBAMA: Tonight, let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour.
AVILA: That didn't work, so this year he raised the stakes.
OBAMA: In the coming weeks, I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour.
AVILA: Immigration. He's been talking about that since 2008.
OBAMA: Let's get this done. Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months and I will sign it right away and America will be better for it. So let's get immigration reform done this year.
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos touted the speech as a "call to action." On Tuesday's GMA, Jon Karl hyped Obama's plan to unilaterally act "where he can without Congress" and show that "there are things he can do on his own."
According to liberal cheerleaders like Avila, this makes Obama a "go-it-alone Terminator."
A partial transcript of the January 28 Nightline segment is below:
DAN HARRIS: And good evening. When the drafters of the Constitution wrote that the President quote, "shall from time to time give Congress information on the State of the Union," they had no way of knowing what a spectacle it would some day become. And tonight, we've got a look at the big speech as you've never seen it before, from the social media frenzy to the surprise guests from reality TV to history's strangest presidential promises. Here's ABC's Jim Avila.
SERGEANT AT ARMS: Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States.
JIM AVILA: Barack Obama's fifth State of the Union Address had all the weird trappings America is used to. The long walk down the House center aisle to shake hands with congressmen and women who have been camped out for a full day to get that back slapping moment with the leader of the free world. Handing manila envelopes containing the speech to the Vice President and the Speaker of the House, that may never be opened since they can read the Teleprompter from where they sit. The ups and downs in the audiences at applause lines, a total of 40 standing O's on this night. It was all there. So what was new, besides five years of more gray hair for President Obama? And one of the "Duck Dynasty" stars in the audience, snagged the attention of political satirist Brett Erlich.
BRETT ERLICH (political satirist): The President should go duck hunting with Willie and then we can really start to bridge the partisan divide in America.
AVILA: This was a stare down, chest pumping President, angry and resentful about a Congress determined to log jam his ideas. This was President Obama, the go-it-alone Terminator, mindful he has only three years left.
BARACK OBAMA: But America does not stand still and neither will I, so wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do.
AVILA: Not too much applause from the Republicans on that line and even less when Obama told Congress he plans on signing nearly a dozen executive actions, from minimum wage to internet for virtually all of America's schools.
ERLICH: The President basically said to Congress, if you're not going to pass my agenda, I'll do everything I can on my own.
AVILA: Why the new, more combative President? He knows the presidency is on the downhill slide and already his power to persuade is shrinking with Congress. ABC's Matt Dowd has advised Presidents Bush and Obama. So this must be a very disappointing time for President Obama?
DOWD: It's a very isolating time and a lonely time I think for the President. Their ability to get anything done big is basically gone. He has three years left in his presidency and you basically have to face the fact, do I have to sit in this office now with little left to do, that I can actually change the nature of the country, or do what I really wanted to do? That's a very difficult time to be in.