On Friday’s Good Morning America, ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper blurted out an uncomfortable reality for Democrats, telling co-host George Stephanopoulos that President Obama “can’t run on so many of his major legislative accomplishments” because “they’re not popular.”
That’s why, Tapper explained, the President is attempting to shift the debate from his record to “fairness,” a goal in which he has the cooperation of a compliant media: “These are the issues he wants to talk about, because it’s going to be difficult for him to talk about his record when it comes to his big achievements.”
The camera only showed Tapper as he outlined the “conundrum” facing Obama, so there’s no way of telling exactly how ex-Democratic operative Stephanopoulos reacted. [Audio link here; video after the jump]
The moment came after Stephanopoulos played a clip of Obama’s interview with Diane Sawyer, in which Obama misleadingly claimed that under his administration “we now have the lowest tax rates in 50 years.” (In fact, income tax rates are exactly what they were during the Bush years; federal tax receipts are at a 50-year low because of the poor state of the economy.)
Here’s a partial transcript of the segment, which aired at about 7:10am ET on Friday:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Meanwhile, President Obama, in his interview with Diane Sawyer yesterday, starting to show some leg against the Republican candidates. Diane asked him about the charges coming from the Republicans about class warfare -- take a look.
CLIP OF DIANE SAWYER (to Obama): Governor Romney say this is class warfare and it is social engineering.
CLIP OF PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think whether it’s Romney, or Gingrich, or Santorum or any of these folks, the question to ask them is, we now have the lowest tax rates in 50 years. We had a -- an economy that was built on debt, and flimsy financing deals, and it resulted in a huge crash that lost us the most jobs since the 1930s, and why we would want to adopt something that we just tried, and did not work, doesn’t make sense.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The President echoing themes from the State of the Union -- we can’t go back to those policies of George W. Bush.
JAKE TAPPER: What’s interesting, George, is the conundrum in which President Obama finds himself. He really can’t run on so many of his major legislative accomplishments -- regardless of the merits of health care reform, financial reform, the stimulus -- they’re not popular. So what you see is President Obama putting out other issues to discuss: raising taxes on the wealthy, raising taxes on corporations so as to bring jobs back to the United States. These are the issues he wants to talk about, because it’s going to be difficult for him to talk about his record when it comes to his big achievements.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, White House still betting that their opponent is going to be Mitt Romney?
TAPPER: They sure do, and even though Newt Gingrich is arguably the front-runner, because he has more delegates right now, the Obama campaign keeps attacking Mitt Romney, attacking Mitt Romney, as if there are no other Republican candidates, George.