ABC Fawns Over Liberal Activist Jane Fonda; Hypes Her Brief Role as Nancy Reagan

Liberal Jane Fonda plays Nancy Reagan in a very brief appearance in the film "The Butler," but ABC's Good Morning America hyped the cameo as "very impactful" and "remarkable" in a flatter-fest on Monday.

"It's remarkable. It's not a big role, but it's very impactful," co-host Lara Spencer said. "It's a 20-second appearance in the movie. But it was jam-packed with excitement," Fonda admitted. ABC's puffery for the liberal activist led to a vulgar chat about her Newsroom character's bedroom escapades.

"I also want to congratulate you on your Emmy nomination for The Newsroom," Spencer praised Fonda for her role in the liberal HBO series. "In an interview, you said Leona probably slept with Charlie Rose, Warren Buffett, and John Kerry, but took a pass on Gary Hart. And you said she slept with a lot of presidents."

Fonda descended into her sex life, both in reality and fiction, in what passes for "news" nowadays at ABC:

FONDA: I think she [Leona] would have slept with Aaron Sorkin too, frankly.

SPENCER: Oh yeah.

FONDA: When somebody is that powerful, there's a lot of testosterone and usually a big sex drive. I used to think that someone like that wouldn't have time. Then I met Ted.

Flattery for liberal activists and tawdry tales of the bedroom -- you can find that at ABC's Good Morning America.

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on Good Morning America on August 12 at 8:42 a.m. EDT:

LARA SPENCER: Lee Daniels' "The Butler" boasts six Oscar-winners including Forest Whitaker in the leading role, Oprah Winfrey as his wife, Gloria, and Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan. Take a look.

(Video Clip)

NANCY REAGAN, played by Jane Fonda: I'd like to invite you to the State dinner next week.

CECIL GAINES, played by Forest Whitaker: I'm going to be there, Mrs. Reagan.

REAGAN: Not as a – not as a butler, Cecil. I'm inviting you as a guest.

GAINES: But the President prefers for me to serve in person.

REAGAN: Don't you worry about Ronnie. I'll take care of that. So we'll see you next week. You and your wife.

GAINES: My wife?

REAGAN: It's Gloria. Yes?

GAINES: Yes ma'am.

(End Video Clip)

SPENCER: And we are so delighted to have Jane Fonda with us this morning. Welcome to Good Morning America.

JANE FONDA: Nice to see you.

SPENCER: What was that like, playing the iconic Nancy Reagan?

FONDA: It was great. It was fun. It's a big responsibility to be playing Nancy Reagan.

SPENCER: And how did you feel having seen it? How'd you do?

FONDA: She told friends of mine who know her that she was happy that I was playing her, which touched me very much. And I think she'll be pleased. Because that really did happen. She really did invite the butler. She was like a chief of staff. She was one that wanted to have the summit with the Russians and, you know, smart woman. I was nervous because I really wanted to do my little thing properly, so what I did study was her speech inflections and how she talks.

SPENCER: It's remarkable. It's not a big role, but it's very impactful.

FONDA: I just wanted to be in this movie. I just – I love this movie so much. It's an important movie. You do learn a tremendous amount during the course of the movie, but you get taken in as a human being whatever your race or ethnicity into the story, and just totally absorbed.

SPENCER: What was it like being on that set with all of those incredible actors. Really an extraordinary group of people. Were you able to spend time and bond?

FONDA: Yeah. In spite of how long I've been in the business and how old I am, when I'm in a situation like that I feel like a teenager. I was only there a day and a half.

SPENCER: Wow!

FONDA: It's a 20-second appearance in the movie. But it was jam-packed with excitement.

SPENCER: Oprah is outstanding.

FONDA: Let's talk about Oprah.

SPENCER: Outstanding.

FONDA: Oh my gosh. I forgot it was her. And when you're Oprah, it's hard to forget that's Oprah. She disappeared into the role and was so wonderful. Hard-drinking. Hard-partying partygirl.

SPENCER: Seeing Oprah with a cigarette was like (gasp) for a second.

FONDA: Boogieing –

SPENCER: Boogieing down. I also want to congratulate you on your Emmy nomination for The Newsroom.

FONDA: Thank you.

SPENCER: What a blast to work on that show as well.

FONDA: I love playing the character. She's very, very powerful and owns her power. Wait until you see what happens to my character in the end of the second season.

SPENCER: Oh stop it! Really?

FONDA: It's so much fun.

SPENCER: If you haven't seen it yet, Leona Lansing is the character. You are incredibly powerful. You run the show. You own it. Who do you model it after?

FONDA: Well you think Rupert Murdoch marinated in Ted Turner, my favorite ex-husband.

SPENCER: I love that, "marinated." In an interview, you said Leona probably slept with Charlie Rose, Warren Buffett, and John Kerry, but took a pass on Gary Hart. And you said she slept with a lot of presidents.

FONDA: Yeah she did, from different parts of the world. I think she would have slept with Aaron Sorkin too, frankly.

SPENCER: Oh yeah.

FONDA: When somebody is that powerful, there's a lot of testosterone and usually a big sex drive. I used to think that someone like that wouldn't have time. Then I met Ted.

(Laughter)

SPENCER: You find the time.

FONDA: You find the time. Leona finds the time.

SPENCER: "The Butler." Fantastic film. Jane Fonda, we thank you, as always, for visiting and for all the wonderful work that you give us on The Newsroom. Best of luck at the Emmys.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014