Good Morning America offered another typical softball session
with Bill Clinton on Monday to promote his latest Global Initiative
meeting, but since using George Stephanopoulos might seem too obvious,
they sent normally aggressive Jake Tapper to lob the softballs. Oddly,
the questions that might actually be defined as news were edited out of
the ABC program and left to a much smaller audience of political junkies
on Tapper's Political Punch blog.
Instead of the program featuring queries about Travon Martin or the Supreme Court, Tapper highlighted the "long, bruising" Republican presidential primary and compared it to Clinton's 1992 campaign: "You turned it around. Can [Romney]?"
An ABC graphic trumpeted, "Bill Clinton: Romney Can't Win." Clinton piously asserted that his presidential campaign endured "one long character attack." Tapper had no follow-up or query about Clinton's actual character issues. [ See MP3 audio here.]
The only question that could possibly be construed as tough would be
when Tapper highlighted Clinton's 1996 reelection. The reporter noted
that the then-President was able to convince people they were better
off. Tapper added, "President Obama is not going to be able to put that
question to the people. How does he get reelected?"
Of course, considering the high unemployment and gas prices, that's simply stating the obvious.
Much of the rest of the interview focused on hyping the Clinton Global Initiative's projects.
Tapper helpfully pitched, "At a time when people are so skeptical and distrustful of government, corporations, how do you convince young people that public service can be effective?"
He blandly followed-up: "How do you get them to leave their computer and come and actually get their hands dirty?"
Tapper did ask about the Supreme Court and the Travon Martin shooting case, but ABC declined to air them on GMA. Both questions can be found on the network's Political Punch blog.
However, Tapper's questions there weren't much tougher.
Rather than focus directly on the Obama administration's poorly
received defense of the health care law, the journalist only gently
noted that "the administration spent much of the last week defending
it's health care law in the Supreme Court. As a lawyer and a politician,
what argument did you not hear being made about the constitutionality
of the law?"
Tapper followed up, "Do you think the Supreme Court's too political?"
Last week, ABC mostly ignored the court's hearings on Obamacare.
It should also be pointed out that during the 2008 campaign, GMA devoted 64 minutes to a series of "town hall" interviews for Democrats. Zero for Republicans. They have yet to do a town hall for the 2012 GOP contenders.
A transcript of the April 2 interview, which aired at 7:12am EDT, follows: