George Stephanopoulos must be spending too much of his free time watching MSNBC as he used their talking points  to attack Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) during an interview on This Week on February 2.
The Republican Congressman appeared with the ABC host and former Press Secretary for President Bill Clinton on Sunday morning and was immediately hit with a barrage of attacks over his opposition to President Obama’s use of executive orders to his views on poverty. Stephanopoulos went so far as to suggest that Pope Francis would reject Paul’s conservative philosophy and claimed that, “You don't think he'd endorse your budget, do you?”
The segment began with the ABC host immediately challenging Ryan over the issue of executive orders, using White House talking points to challenge the GOPer:
You’ve had a tough reaction to this suggesting the president is circumventing the constitution. Do you really think his proposals are unconstitutional? His rate of executive orders is far behind president Reagan, President Bush, President Clinton.
The former Clinton insider didn’t seem to understand Ryan’s objection that:
It's not the number of executive orders, it’s the scope of the executive order. It's the fact that he's actually contradicting law, like in the health care case, or proposing new laws without going through Congress George. That's the issue.
After Ryan challenged the constitutionality of President Obama’s numerous executive orders, Stephanopoulos challenged the Tea Party favorite, pushing him to call to impeach Obama, “But if you think he's lawless, circumventing the Congress, are you going to move to impeach?”
Despite the confrontational nature of this portion of the interview, the worst came during Stephanopoulos’ obnoxious questioning of Paul’s Catholic faith regarding poverty. This line of questioning was an inappropriate low blow from a Democrat disguised as a journalist and began when Stephanopoulos questioned Ryan’s recent comments on Pope Francis:
You praised him [Pope Francis] for taking on the debate about poverty. But also seemed to dismiss his pretty piercing critique of capitalism suggesting he really doesn’t understand it. This is what you said the Milwaukee Journal. The guy is from Argentina. They haven't had real capitalism in Argentina. Was that a little too flip?
The ABC host doubled down on his attack, and asked the devoutly Catholic congressman, “You don't think he'd endorse your budget, do you?” To his credit, Ryan immediately shot down Stephanopoulos’ obnoxious question, which was clearly meant to attack Ryan’s budget for being anti-Catholic and lacking compassion for the poor.
Stephanopoulos’ use of liberal and White House talking points to attack Paul Ryan should come as no surprise to the readers of NewsBusters given the ABC host is a lifelong Democrat. The GMA/This Week’s host eagerness to attack Paul for failing to support the liberal definition of Catholicism is yet just another example of a member of the liberal media’s attack on conservative Catholics in America.
See relevant transcript below.
This Week with George Stephanopoulos
February 2, 2014
10:09 a.m. Eastern
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s turn to the president's State of the Union this week. He called for Congress to act but made it very clear that he would use executive orders to advance his agenda. Let’s take a look.
BARACK OBAMA: Wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, you’ve had a tough reaction to this suggesting the president is circumventing the constitution. Do you really think his proposals are unconstitutional? His rate of executive orders is far behind President Reagan, President Bush, President Clinton.
PAUL RYAN: It's not the number of executive orders, it’s the scope of the executive order. It's the fact that he's actually contradicting law, like in the health care case, or proposing new laws without going through Congress George. That's the issue.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you think he’s violating the constitution?
PAUL: We have an increasingly lawless presidency where he's actually doing the job of Congress, writing new policies and new laws without going through Congress. Presidents don't write laws, Congress does. And when he does like he did in health care, delaying mandates that the law said was supposed to occur when they were supposed to occur, that's not his job. The job of Congress is to change laws if he doesn't like them, not the presidency. So executive orders are one thing. But executive orders that actually change the statute, that's totally different.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But if you think he's lawless, circumventing the Congress, are you going to move to impeach?
PAUL: No, we have a difference of opinion clearly and some of these are going to get fought out in court. You have some court challenges with respect to religious freedom going to the court this spring. But I'm concerned about this trend, which is what he said at the State of the Union, that if Congress doesn't give me the law I want, I'm going to go do it myself. That’s effectively what he said. That's not the way our constitution works. And by the way, when we get sworn in, whether it’s a president or a congressman, you swear to uphold the constitution. And I think these executive orders are creating a dangerous trend, which is contrary to the constitution.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to ask you a final question about some recent you made about Pope Francis. You praised him for taking on the debate about poverty. But also seemed to dismiss his pretty piercing critique of capitalism suggesting he really doesn’t understand it. This is what you said the Milwaukee Journal. The guy is from Argentina. They haven't had real capitalism in Argentina. Was that a little too flip?
PAUL: No, not at all. I think they have crony capitalism in Argentina where you have real exploitation. That is not the free market. That's crony capitalism. We are starting to see some crony capitalism here in America. What I'm excited about the Pope's comments, is he's inviting the debate, he’s not settling the debate, he’s inviting the debate. And he’s asking lay Catholics to say how we would actually tackle these problems and bring the poor in and stop isolating the poor. These are good things. I think he's starting a fantastic debate. And if you look at his comments very closely, he always talks about the welfare mentality. He always talks about the welfare state and how we have to avoid creating a welfare state. Bring the poor in, create upward mobility and free enterprise that gives opportunity to everybody no matter who they are and where they are in life and in America. That's what we are for. He's invited this debate and I think it’s a fantastic conversation we’re having.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You don't think he'd endorse your budget, do you?
RYAN: Of course not. He's a Pope. Popes don't endorse budgets. Popes say let's have a conversation about how to fix the broken status quo, how to bring the poor in, how to not have a welfare state and how to produce upward mobility. Popes don't endorse actual legislative changes or budgets like that.
— Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Jeffrey Meyer on Twitter.