Stephanopoulos Breaks Pro-Democratic Streak - 'Crisp' Romney to Get 'Boost' From Debate

ABC's George Stephanonopoulos carried a eight-out-of-nine record of declaring the Democratic presidential candidate the winner into Wednesday night's Obama-Romney presidential debate. Surprisingly, the Clinton administration veteran affirmed that Mitt Romney scored points on President Obama: "I think Governor Romney definitely more crisp in his presentation tonight....he was able to be aggressive without being offensive."

Stephanopoulos later claimed that "Governor Romney will get the boost that challengers usually get coming out of these debates," while downplaying President Obama's own performance: "I didn't see any knockout punches....didn't see breakthrough moments or major mistakes by either candidate." [audio available here; video below the jump]

Three minutes after the end of the debate, Diane Sawyer turned to the Good Morning America anchor for his immediate reaction. After making his "crisp" assessment of Romney and predicting a "boost" for the Republican, Stephanopoulos added, "The big question: did he do anything to dramatically change the trajectory of the race?"

Diane Saweyer, ABC News Anchor; & George Stephanopoulos, ABC News Anchor | NewsBusters.orgBack in 2000, the ABC personality thought Al Gore won the first debate, but crowned then-Governor George W. Bush the champion of the second: "Governor Bush had a very, very strong night tonight and probably won the debate, in part because...he looked so surefooted on foreign policy." One wonders why Stephanopoulos wouldn't give such a clear assessment about Romney's performance.

The transcript of the relevant portion of the segment with Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos on ABC's coverage of Wednesday's Obama-Romney presidential debate:

DIANE SAWYER: And let me turn to you right now, George. Nobody knows politics better than you. Here it is - bottom line - was there a clear winner tonight?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: I think Governor Romney definitely more crisp in his presentation tonight. He was leaning into the debate, where President Obama was a little bit more laid back. I also think he was able to be aggressive without being offensive. So, even though there were – I didn't see any knockout punches-


SAWYER: No-

STEPHANOPOULOS: I didn't see breakthrough moments or major mistakes by either candidate. I think Governor Romney will get the boost that challengers usually get coming out of these debates. The big question: did he do anything to dramatically change the trajectory of the race?

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center