ABC's Stephanopoulos: Hillary's the Queen of Stage Management!

Former Bill Clinton aide, and current ABC anchor, George Stephanopoulos appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" to gush over Hillary Clinton's mastery of the relatively simple task of stage management. Discussing the New York senator's win in New Hampshire with GMA co-host Diane Sawyer, he fawned over the placement of individuals at the victory speech: "Hillary Clinton alone at the podium. Young people, faces of hope, behind her. Where is Bill Clinton? Where is Chelsea Clinton? They are not there yet."

The segment seemed to be a cross between a football game and a campaign spot. Stephanopoulos, using a telestrator, circled the various individuals as they appeared onscreen. At the same time, he narrated what sounded like an ad for the '08 White House contender: "Hillary Clinton actually has to motion them up to the stage. Yes, they're reluctant. They don't want to come up. There's Chelsea. There's Bill Clinton, coming up, a little hang dog." The ABC anchor rhapsodized about how Bill Clinton mouthed the words "I'm so proud of you" to his wife. He ended the video replay by describing the New York Senator as "all alone at the podium, the sole victor." Sawyer solemnly added, "Taking charge."

The picture to the right is an example of how Stephanopoulos visually highlighted the footage. The circled individuals are the inspiring "faces of hope."

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:02am on January 9, follows:

DIANE SAWYER: What's the bottom line on those exit polls? We turn to ABC's chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos, host of "This Week." George, in Iowa and New Hampshire, Obama won men. But who came back?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: He did. The women came through and came back for Hillary Clinton. They came back big as well. Barack Obama won women in Iowa, not New Hampshire. Take a look at this. Hillary Clinton wins by 13 points overall with the women vote. Women over 65 even higher, 57 percent. Huge.

SAWYER: That's huge.

STEPHANOPOULOS: 30 points. And also single women. They have been the secret weapon of the Clinton campaign who they were counting on all year long. 51, Clinton. 32, Barack Obama. Women were the difference.

SAWYER: And we know the Clinton campaign says they knocked on 90,000 doors in the last couple of days. But what else was at work? What do you think surprised everybody?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, everybody is trying to figure that out, 'cause, frankly, Diane, both campaigns, both the Clinton campaign and the Obama campaign, on Monday, in our last polls, predicted a big Barack Obama victory. But if you look what happened in the final 72 hours. That debate where it seemed the guys were ganging up on Hillary Clinton.

SAWYER: Yes, all the men there on that stage.

STEPHANOPOULOS: On top of that, that moment on Monday, led the news on Monday night. Hillary Clinton showing some emotion, tearing up. That was a Hillary Clinton that no one had seen before especially women.

SAWYER: What about the idea of the generation gap and new guard driving out the old guard?

STEPHANOPOULOS: The new guard didn't come out as much in New Hampshire as they did in Iowa. Now, we did see the change voters still stick by Barack Obama. 55 percent for Barack Obama to 28 percent for Hillary Clinton. But the voters who cared about experience? Absolute blowout. 71 for Clinton and only five for Barack Obama. And then this idea of empathy. We asked voters about somebody who cares about people like them. A big win for Hillary Clinton. 41 percent.

SAWYER: So, there's an empathy and vulnerability the Obama camp--

STEPHANOPOULOS: Empathy and experience gap.

SAWYER: Have to look at this morning. Okay. The scenes that you saw out there --

STEPHANOPOULOS: The Clinton campaign learned some lessons from Iowa. Let's take a look at the tableau on election night of Iowa. It was kind of faces of the '90s. Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state. Wes Clark.

SAWYER: Again, this is Iowa.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Still Iowa. Bill Clinton, a whole bunch of white guys in the background. Now, move over to New Hampshire, very, very different scene last night. Hillary Clinton alone at the podium. Young people, faces of hope, behind her. Where is Bill Clinton? Where is Chelsea Clinton? They are not there yet. Hillary Clinton actually has to motion them up to the stage. Yes, they're reluctant. They don't want to come up. There's Chelsea. There's Bill Clinton, coming up, a little hang dog. Going to give her a hug for just a second. Watch this, he'll mouth for the camera, "I'm so proud of you" and then exit, stage, right. He will be gone. Hillary Clinton, all alone at the podium, the sole victor.

SAWYER: Taking charge.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org