Ex-ABC Anchor Gibson Asserts Romney Forced ‘Far To the Right’ and Calls Anti-Tax Pledge ‘Absurd’

Demonstrating that he would have made the same news judgments hostile to Mitt Romney as those who succeeded him at ABC News, in an address Thursday night to students at Quinnipiac University, Charles Gibson declared “the Republican Party has done Romney no favors by forcing him so far to the right that he may not be able to scramble back by November 6th,” castigated Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge as “absurd, absolutely absurd” and denigrated as “silly” the point that 47 percent don’t pay federal income tax.

He fretted, yet “it becomes a legitimate subject for debate for a lot of people who are Governor Romney supporters.”

A Sunday post on TVNewser, “An Election Prediction from a Former ‘World News’ Anchor,” alerted me to the video the college in Connecticut posted on YouTube. Merrill Knox advised: “In his address, ‘The (Im)Balance of Power in Washington: How Things Went Off the Rails and How They Can Be Fixed,’ Gibson candidly discussed the upcoming election, even making a prediction for who will win (around the 23:00 mark). Watch:”
 

Audio of three Gibson comments: MP3 clip

I did, and confirmed he predicted, based on polling in swing states, that Obama will be victorious. I also caught a few instances of left-wing thinking, transcribed below.

The student newspaper, the Quinnipiac Chronicle, relayed Gibson’s swipe at the Fox News Channel: “A network that has to say that they’re fair and balanced probably isn’t.”

(Gibson’s all-too-common in the media concern about the GOP nominee being too conservative was also echoed Sunday by Bob Schieffer on CBS’s Face the Nation:

What if Mitt Romney had said, “Look, I’m a moderate? You know, I know we have conservatives in this party and I know we have the Tea Party, but the fact is I’m a moderate. I was a moderate governor. Haley Barbour is not going to get elected governor of Massachusetts anymore than I would be elected governor of Mississippi.” It seems to me that -- that somehow Mitt Romney has been pushed beyond a point where I wonder if he really is sometimes.”)

Three quotes transcribed from Gibson’s September 20 appearance at the university in Hamden, Connecticut:

The Republican Party has done Romney no favors by forcing him so far to the right that he may not be able to scramble back by November 6th. Polls show Obama with a solid lead among women. Is Romney’s postion on reproductive rights really what he’s had to claim in the primaries? Polls show Obama with a solid lead among Hispanics. Is Rommey truly anti-immigration? Does he really oppose the Dream Act? An seniors, many who now oppose ObamaCare, but no one wants politicians meddling with their Medicare. To me, all that adds up to an Obama win.

In response to a question about how to “overcome” the anti-tax pledge:

Republican Congressmen have told me if they don’t sign it [anti-tax pledge] they’re dead, they’re gone. Well that’s absurd, absolutely absurd. In one of the debates I thought there was a very good question asked about what kind of proportion would you take between tax cuts and revenue raising taxes. Would you take $5 of revenue cuts for every dollar of new taxes? No, they said. How about ten-to-one? No. Twenty-to-one? No. Fifty-to-one? No. That’s absurd, that’s just absurd. You cannot tie yourself down that way, and I think it’s just a very good example of what’s wrong with the Congress right now.

Misconstruing the point about 47 percent not having to pay the federal income tax into “47 percent of the people don’t pay taxes,” Gibson dismissed the relevance:

You know, 47 percent of the people don’t pay taxes in this country. But it’s so much more complicated than that, that the statement is silly. And yet, you know, it becomes a legitimate subject for debate for a lot of people who are Governor Romney supporters.

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