Stephanopoulos Hypes ‘Political Hurricane from Todd Akin’ While Barbour Scolds Schieffer for His Akin Obsession

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos opened his Sunday show: “Good morning and welcome to This Week. Storms brewing. The GOP convention threatened by Tropical Storm Isaac and that political hurricane from Todd Akin...”

Over on CBS, guest Haley Barbour scolded Bob Schieffer who had wondered how Republicans get the focus “back” onto the economy? Barbour called Schieffer out for his obsession on Akin: “If your first four questions are about it [Akin], it’s kind of hard getting the subject back on the economy when you want to talk about Todd Akin.” Oblivious to his role in deciding what is newsworthy, Schieffer lamely pleaded: “I want to talk about the news.” 

Schieffer had plugged the Face the Nation segment: “We’ll also talk to key Republicans: Party chair Reince Priebus, party platform chair Marsha Blackburn, and former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour about a campaign that’s suddenly shifted from jobs and the economy to Medicare and abortion.”

Audio: MP3 clip which matches the video above of Stephanopoulos followed by Schieffer's questions and Barbour's rebuke

Before getting to that panel, Schieffer hit Senator Marco Rubio on the GOP platform’s abortion language.

After his loaded opening, ABC’s Stephanopoulos pressed Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell about Akin, abortion and the GOP platform, while prompting Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to chime in, before leading the roundtable with eight minutes on the “GOP War on Women?”

From the floor of the Tampa Times Forum, the August 26 Face the Nation:

BOB SCHIEFFER: Haley Barbour, you’ve been to a lot of these things. You were a chair of the party at one point. Do you somehow feel like Republicans just can’t seem to get a break these last couple of weeks. We had these Congressmen I just talked about, swimming around in the Sea of Galilee and then this fella Akin comes along with this bizarre twist on abortion and all of that. And then the weather hits. Can you get it back?

HALEY BARBOUR: Well, I’ll tell you obviously, Obama and the Democrats want to change the subject to anything but Obama’s record. So I’m sure they’re out there praying for rain. They go even further than that. You take this Todd Akin guy you’ve been talking about in Missouri, Harry Reid, the Democrat Senator leader’s PAC, put more than a million dollars into the Republican primary contest to help Todd Akin win the Republican nomination. Now we know why. The fact is, at the end of the day, the American people know this election is going to be a referendum on President Obama’s record. Marco Rubio said it -- are you better off than you were four years ago? Is America better off than it was four years ago? And Barack Obama wants the conversation to be about anything else.
...

SCHIEFER: What about this guy Akin? I mean, here Mitt Romney comes out -- I mean, it seems to me like there was a time in politics when the leaders could get together and tell somebody to take a hike. You can’t really do that-

MARSHA BLACKBURN: I have to tell you, in our party, when somebody commits a Biden-ism, like Akin did, you know his remarks are indefensible, they’re disgusting, you can say all sorts of things, but the thing is we do speak out about it. Here’s the thing, the American people are talking about jobs, the economy and doing something with this national debt. The debt clock is running. We’re almost to $16 trillion, and I think more than ever before, the American people are saying tell me how you’re going to get us out of this. It’s the number one issue with women. Jobs, the economy. Number two is getting ObamaCare off the books. Women are the drivers when it comes to health care. All these distractions, they look at as distractions, and they’re saying, “How do we get this country back to work? Tell me what your plan is.”

SCHIEFFER: Well, but down there in that Senate race down there, he was running ahead, Akin was, of the Democrat by about three our four points. I think it’s now flipped, and I think the Democrat Claire McCaskill, is up by about seven. Mr. Priebus, are you guys going to let that stand?

REINCE PRIEBUS: We’ve been clear how we feel about Akin’s comments.

SCHIEFFER: Yeah, but he’s still there.

PRIEBUS: I think I’ve labeled him biologically stupid. This is why we’ve asked him to step aside and let someone else to take over. We have a few weeks for that to happen. If it’s really about liberty and freedom and about changing the course of this country off the Barack Obama pathway that we’re on, then Todd Akin has to put the cause above himself and realize that we can have a better chance in that seat. And, you know, we’re moving on. We’re worried about electing Mitt Romney President. We’re worried about holding the President accountable, telling the Mitt Romney story here next week, and that’s what we’re focused in on, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: Miss Blackburn says what you all said in the beginning, this is going to be all about the economy. But I’m wondering how do you get it back to that, Governor Barbour? What has to happen at this convention?

HALEY BARBOUR: Well, I was going to say, Bob, the first thing is, if your first four questions are about it, it’s kind of hard getting the subject back on the economy when you want to talk about Todd Akin. The fact of the matter-

SCHIEFFER: I want to talk about the news.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center