GMA: Bill's Fib Leaves Steph Shaking His Head

Battered by Bill Clinton, Barack Obama might be up against the ropes, but he can count on having Good Morning America in his corner to apply a refreshing sponge and send him back into the ring. Check out Robin Roberts's softballs to the Illinois senator this morning, followed by even more surprising comment -- and body language -- from George Stephanopoulos.

View video here.

The focus was the way Bill Clinton has been going after Obama. Questions from Robin Roberts:

  • In a Newsweek article that's coming out this week, prominent Democrats are saying that what he is doing is inappropriate, an inappropriate role for a former president to take such an aggressive role. Do you think it is inappropriate, the role he has taken?
  • Anything else that you want to set the record straight that he said one thing about you, and you're now saying that's false?
  • [After Obama said he had two formidable opponents, Bill and Hillary] Do you feel at times you're taking on two candidates at one time?
  • You're there in Atlanta, you spoke on Sunday, Dr. King's church, Martin Luther King Day. Just your thoughts on the holiday and what you think Dr. King would think of your candidacy?

If Roberts' softballs were unsurprising, more striking were two reactions about his former boss from George Stephanopoulos. The first came, during his conversation with Diane Sawyer, in the guise of a variation on one of Bill Clinton's most infamous lines.

DIANE SAWYER: Not just what Senator Obama said, but reports in Newsweek that leading Democrats including Ted Kennedy have sent word to the former president that they don't think it's appropriate for him to be on the attack this way. Is he going to stop?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: It depends on what the meaning of "stop" is, Diane.
A bit later, Sawyer played the clip of Obama's statement about the Reagan era, followed by the video of Bill Clinton utterly distorting the senator's words while assuring the crowd "I'm not making this up, folks." Watch as Stephanopoulos shakes his head in reaction to Clinton's dissembling [2:01 into clip linked above]. Sorrow, dismay . . . disgust?
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.