George Stephanopoulos Recites Dem Talking Points on Economy

"This Week" host George Stephanopoulos appeared on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" to claim that the stock market's 330 point drop on Inauguration Day indicated the need for a swift confirmation of Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. Stephanopoulos, a former top Democratic aide, asserted, "The reason they want to get Geithner confirmed and in place so quickly, they want to have a complete overhaul of this financial rescue package within days."

According to Stephanopoulos, Geithner, who faces questions for not paying $34,000 in taxes since 2001, has "run into a little bit of trouble" on the topic. GMA co-host Diane Sawyer prompted the ABC anchor to tout more Democratic spin when she asked, "But every president wants his first day to have a sentence, a headline. What is the sentence beneath the meetings [Obama is having on Wednesday]?" Stephanopoulos helpfully retorted, "Help is on the way, I think is the sentence."

He went on to tell Sawyer how impressed he was with Obama's biblical reference. After playing a clip of Obama asserting at his inauguration, "We remain a young nation. But in the words of Scripture, the time has come to move away from childish things," Stephanopoulos lectured:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Move away from childish things. Now, what he chose, though, that is in the course of Scripture that is all about love. Love and charity. Yet, he took the tough love message out of that. And I think that was the theme of the speech. We are, as he said, in a winter of hardship. We're going to get of it. But it's going to take a lot of change and a lot of tough measures. And a lot of sacrifice.

A transcript of the January 21 segment, which aired at 7:10am, follows:

DIANE SAWYER: Joining us now with the bottom line, ABC chief Washington correspondent, host of "This Week," George Stephanopoulos. Good morning again.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello.

SAWYER: George, we heard Jake Tapper run through the list of meetings for the day. But every president wants his first day to have a sentence, a headline. What is the sentence beneath the meetings?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Help is on the way, I think is the sentence. And so much of the focus is not even going to be on the White House today, but here on Capitol Hill where Tim Geithner, he's the President's nominee for Treasury Secretary is going to face his hearing. He's run into a little bit of trouble over his own tax problems to head Treasury. But they are getting this done quickly because the financial markets are in collapse.

SAWYER: Yesterday, to everybody's surprise, even as the inauguration was going on, the market collapsed more than 330 points.

STEPHANOPOULOS Worst day ever on an inaugural, that drop in the market. And it's all because of real loss of confidence in the banks of the United States. Banks all around the world. The reason they want to get Geithner confirmed and in place so quickly, they want to have a complete overhaul of this financial rescue package within days.

SAWYER: Day two, now, the morning after the inauguration speech. New thoughts about it?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I'm still focused on President Obama's choice of Scripture, from St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians. He had one that clear line. Take a listen.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We remain a young nation. But in the words of Scripture, the time has come to move away from childish things.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Move away from childish things. Now, what he chose, though, that is in the course of scripture that is all about love. Love and charity. Yet, he took the tough love message out of that. And I think that was the theme of the speech. We are, as he said, in a winter of hardship. We're going to get of it. But it's going to take a lot of change and a lot of tough measures. And a lot of sacrifice.

SAWYER: And he seemed to make clear that he felt some of it was by our own doing. Namely, Wall Street's doing and squandering energy.

STEPHANOPOULOS He had a lot of blame to go around. He talked about Wall Street. He talked about the collective failure of the American people. But also, I mean, let's face it, he was very tough on President Bush in that speech yesterday. When he talked about ending this era when we weren't making the choices we needed to make.

SAWYER: We studied President Bush's face yesterday when that was going on. And nothing visible.

STEPHANOPOULOS Not at all. And what a gracious man overall, yesterday. Not only hugging President Obama on the way out. But, we noticed, as he was walking in, as he was walking onto the podium, he turned to someone on the right and said, "It's a great day for our country." And that's a great comment on our country.

SAWYER: As we said before, there was a folder left on the desk for President Obama. It was labeled 44. Any thoughts about what might be in there?

STEPHANOPOULOS: I wish I could find out. As soon as I do, I'll let you know.

SAWYER: Call me at home.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay.

SAWYER: All right. Thanks so much, George.

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