On Monday's Good Morning America, ABC featured Democratic aide James Carville
to sing the praises of former Democratic aide George Stephanopoulos, now the
co-host of the ABC program. Carville cooed, "I once said, 'If you converted
his IQ to Fahrenheit, you could boil water.'" An ABC graphic reinforced this
by proclaiming, "George Is Smart."
The outspoken political operative later commented on the attractiveness of his friend: "[Stephanopoulos] was kind of an idol and young college girls would go nuts." (One could make the joke that smitten, "young college girls" were the last thing the Clinton White House needed.)
The segment was obviously meant to be light and fluffy. Co-host Robin Roberts glossed over Stephanopoulos' extensive work for Democratic politicians: "And we know you're a phenomenal journalist. And we know about your political background."
David Pomerantz, a high school friend of the future GMA journalist, glowingly justified Stephanopoulos' supposed bad driving: "His mind was always on world peace and these very deep issues. And he just didn't have time for the mundane things like staying in his own lane."
To prove the high intelligence of Stephanopoulos, Pomerantz cited how his friend enjoyed...a magazine: "He was always very well-read. I think he read Esquire magazine in high school. I mean, I think that's the kind of guy he was."
High school teacher Nancy Brunswick proved to be equally effusive: "When I first saw George on TV, it was a little bit unbelievable to me. He was so handsome, so capable, so poised."
A transcript of the January 4 segment, which aired at 8:05am EST, follows:
ROBIN ROBERTS: It is a new year and it is time for us to officially welcome the newest members of our GMA family. And, so, we wanted you to get to know them a little bit better this week.
JUJU CHANG: Starting with George.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Come on, Juju.
ROBERTS: What did you guys do, like rock, paper scissors to see who would come first? And, so, George goes first. And we know you're a phenomenal journalist. And we know about your political background.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Here comes the but.
ROBERTS: No! We thought we'd learn about George through people who know him best.
[Graphic: George Is Smart]
DAVID POMERANTZ (George's high school friend): George is incredibly smart.
WENTWORTH: Incredibly smart.
NANCY BRUNSWICK (George's high school teacher): Intellectual.
JAMES CARVILLE: I once said, "If you converted his IQ to Fahrenheit, you could boil water."
[Graphic: George...the Early Years]
POMERANTZ: George was pretty much of a nerd, as most of us were. He was very studious. He was always very well-read. I think he read Esquire magazine in high school. I mean, I think that's the kind of guy he was. He was a great student and teachers loved him.
BRUNSWICK: He was fun. He was, you know, a leader. He contributed so much to discussions that it was a good influence.
BRUNSWICK: He was a wrestler in high school. George wasn't a particularly great wrestler. He was probably a better wrestler in his mind than he was on the mat.
BRUNSWICK: When I had him in ninth and tenth grade, he was pretty much being groomed for the Greek priesthood. And somewhere along his junior year, probably when he took AP American history, that really sparked his interest in politics.
ALI WENTWORTH (George's wife): The last name Stephanopoulos is the bane of my existence. I mean, I still have to go- S-T-E-P-H- I still have to think about it.
MARY MATALIN (George's friend): Our children still have always known him by and to this day refer to him as George Snuffenoupolus. It will be ever thus.
CARVILLE: His name gets murdered. Sometimes, you couldn't imagine him being George Smith.
[Graphic: George Makes his Debut]
BRUNSWICK: When I first saw George on TV, it was a little bit unbelievable to me. He was so handsome, so capable, so poised.
[Clip from Friends]
COURTNEY COX: We got George Stephanopoulos' pizza! You know? The White House advisor?
CARVILLE: He was kind of an idol and young college girls would go nuts.
MATALIN: I don't think George ever knew how cute- I mean, he was just handsome.
WENTWORTH: When our seven-year-old was three, I was lying in bed with her and we were watching Will and Grace.
[Will and Grace]
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: what's your pleasure?
ERIC MCCORMACK: George Stephanopoulos.
SEAN HAYES: George Stephanopoulos.
WENTWORTH: My three-year-old turned to me and said, "I don't understand. Why do these two guys want daddy?" And I said, "They just think he's a really great news guy."
[Graphic: George Is Full of Surprises]
POMERANTZ: I'm sure George will tell you he's an outstanding poker player. He's not. It hurt when he moved out of town because he was helping to pay for my kids' college education.
WENTWORTH: This sounds like a joke. He can't change a light bulb. Smart guy, Rhodes Scholar. Can't change a bulb.
MATALIN: I don't put George in a tool box.
CARVILLE: He doesn't claim that, boy, he was out fixing stuff. Probably not going to run into him at the Home Depot.
MATALIN: "I was at Lowes today."
POMERANTZ: George is not a good driver. His mind was always on world peace and these very deep issues. And he just didn't have time for the mundane things like staying in his own lane. In high school, he got into more than his fair share of fender benders.
WENTWORTH: He's a competitive guy. We don't play tennis anymore, because it got ugly. And Scrabble, it gets a little cut-throat. He has the cheesiest taste in music.
POMERANTZ George was into disco.
WENTWORTH: I remember when we were dating; we were walking across Central Park. And he started singing to himself. He started singing "Heaven on the seventh floor." And I really for about a second was about to break up with him.
[Graphic: George Is a Dad]
MATALIN: He's as romantic about his kids as he is about his wife. He's just a bundle of love.
WENTWORTH: I say this in all honesty. He's the greatest dad in the world. He does anything for his kids. It makes you, as his wife, adore him even more. George can sing every Hannah Montana song. In fact, we got Miley Cyrus tickets. I said, that's great. Elliot will go with a bunch of her friends. And George says, "I'm going. And I said, "You don't have to go." He said, "Why? I know the songs. I got the tickets, And I went, "Okay." He's not just this really stiff news person at all. He's not at all what people think, which is great. Because he gets to unfold that other side of him.
-Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center.