ABC's Jake Tapper: Obama Thinks He's President; Denies Media Access
Not every reporter covering Barack Obama's world tour is entranced by the words and imagery of the Democratic candidate. On Thursday's "Good Morning America," political correspondent Jake Tapper jabbed at Obama's overconfidence, describing the senator's July 24 speech in Berlin as "one the Obama campaign is billing at almost presidential. Even though he is not the president."
Reporting from inside the Obama plane, Tapper complained in a snarky tone, "Inside, the plane has been redesigned to separate the senator and his staff from us lowly reporters." He added that Obama officials told journalists that they could brief reporters as anonymous officials. Tapper grumbled, "One of them said that's what we did at the White House during the Clinton years. We pointed out they don't work at the White House." Regarding the Obama plane, the ABC journalist also pointed out: "The American flag on the tail wing has been replaced by an enormous Obama O."
Tapper's complaints about lack of access and campaign hubris sound like the type of typical gripes you would expect and hope to hear from journalists about all candidates. The fact that Tapper's statements are so rare shows just how deep the media love is for Obama.
A transcript of the July 24 segment, which aired at 7:08am, follow:
DIANE SAWYER: We want to turn now to the race for '08. The new poll out showing Barack Obama leading 47 to 41 percent over John McCain and it comes as the candidates engage in two very different campaign schedules. Our correspondents are opening their notebooks this morning to take you behind the scenes and we'll get to ABC's David Wright for a look at John McCain in just a minute. But, beginning with senior political correspondent Jake Tapper in Berlin with Barack Obama this morning. Jake?
JAKE TAPPER: Guten Tag, Diane. Well, we just arrived in Berlin a few hours ago. Everything about this trip has been choreographed to make Senator Obama appear like President Obama and that's certainly the case with the speech he's going to deliver later today here at the Victory Column in central Berlin. Senator Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met this morning, just a few hours after Obama's pre-dawn visit to Jerusalem's western wall, his last stop in Israel. For the first stop of his European swing, Obama's campaign has been pulling out all the stops, distributing these flyers in German to round up a huge crowd for his speech tonight, one the Obama campaign is billing at almost presidential. Even though he is not the president. From the scenic vistas in Jordan where local reporters clambered for his attention --
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: Reporters are the same everywhere, aren't they?
TAPPER: --to his hobnobbing with world leaders, to his military exercises in Israel and Iraq, everything about this trip is meticulously designed to make you comfortable with Obama as commander in chief. That started with his newly retrofitted plane. The American flag on the tail wing has been replaced by an enormous Obama "O." And the slogan "change we can believe in" is on the sides. [Tapper is now inside the plane.] Inside, the plane has been redesigned to separate the senator and his staff from us lowly reporters. And this was the site of a big media mutiny the other day as Obama officials insisted they'd be able to brief us on background as anonymous officials. One of them said that's what we did at the White House during the Clinton years. We pointed out they don't work at the White House. Other flourishes, an Obama napkin holder after we refueled in Ireland.
OBAMA: The world is keenly interested in this election. And I think they're hungry for a sense of where America is going. So, you know, certainly there's a curiosity factor involved.
TAPPER: Some authorities are anticipating a crowd as big as one million, but Senator Obama said we should not set our expectations too high for the crowd. He expects it to be more like in the tens of thousands. Diane?
SAWYER: All right, Jake. I want to say, Jake, I don't want to be around if there's a media mutiny and you're one of the mutineers. I would be running for the hills. Okay. Thanks so much.