Democratic President Goes to Europe, So ABC Touts Past GOP Goofs

"Good Morning America" reporter Yunji de Nies on Tuesday touted supposed gaffes of past Republican presidents in a segment on Barack Obama's trip abroad. De Nies intoned, "But one unlucky misstep and everyone remembers." As she said this, video of George W. Bush's 2005 trip to Beijing appeared onscreen. (In the footage, the then-President can be seen trying to go out the wrong door.) More Republican footage followed.

First, 1992 video of George H.W. Bush throwing up in Japan was highlighted and then a 2006 picture of George W. Bush rubbing the neck of German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared. De Nies described these two events as "the upset stomach of a President" and an "awkward moment between two world leaders." Introducing a clip of veteran ABC correspondent Sam Donaldson, she continued, "Sam Donaldson remembers watching Ronald Reagan fight to stay awake at the G7 summit in Venice."

De Nies then cheered, "Jackie Kennedy got pretty close to perfect in Paris where her French language skills stole the show" and followed that by opining, "Hillary Clinton showed off her softer side [on foreign trips]." In fairness to the network reporter, she did feature a clip of Reagan's famous address at the Berlin Wall and added, "Nancy Reagan knew how to wow them with her style."

Regarding Michelle Obama, ABC's Ann Compton opined, "She simply has to be perfect. She has to be interested in what her hosts show us. She has to be very supportive of her husband's positions and she has to look fabulous." Compared to NBC and CBS's coverage, "Good Morning America" was the least effusive over the current presidential trip.

The "Today" show played the song "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" to slow motion video of Michelle Obama. On "The Early Show," correspondent Elizabeth Palmer gushed, "To be honest, most Europeans were going to like whoever replaced President Bush. But there's no doubt Michelle and her husband have an extra je ne sais quoi."

A transcript of the March 31 "Good Morning America" segment, which aired at 7:18am, follows:

DIANE SAWYER: Coming up now, as we know, we go back to the President going abroad. The first couple traveling overseas. It is a diplomatic event but it's also always a chance to show American style. And here's ABC's Yunji de Nies.

ABC GRAPHIC: Not Your Average Tourist: Presidential Travel Do's and Don'ts

YUNJI DE NIES: A President on the world stage can write a new chapter in history.

JOHN F. KENNEDY: Ich bin ein Berliner

RONALD REAGAN: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

SAM DONALDSON (ABC News): It's part showmanship. It's part knowing your subject and, let's face it, it's part luck.

DE NIES: But one unlucky misstep [Onscreen video of Bush trying to go out the wrong door during his trip abroad.] and everyone remembers. Like the upset stomach of a President or an awkward moment between two world leaders. [Picture of George W. Bush massaging the shoulder of Angela Merkel.] Sam Donaldson remembers watching Ronald Reagan fight to stay awake at the G7 summit in Venice.

DONALDSON: He would start to fall asleep and Shultz would hit him and then he'd sort of fall asleep and Baker would knock him one. And, of course, we had to show that. We can be a mean bunch.

DE NIES: It's not just him, all eyes will also be on her.

ANN COMPTON (ABC News): She simply has to be perfect. She has to be interested in what her hosts show us. She has to be very supportive of her husband's positions and she has to look fabulous.

DE NIES: Jackie Kennedy got pretty close to perfect in Paris where her French language skills stole the show.

[Jackie Kennedy speaking French.]

DE NIES: Her husband quipped that she, not he, led the visit.

KENNEDY: I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.

DE NIES: Nancy Reagan knew how to wow them with her style. Hillary Clinton showed off her softer side and no matter how empowered first ladies may be at home, overseas they need to know their role or risk a potential backlash.

COMPTON: If Michelle Obama thought that campaign press and the White House press corps are tough, wait till she gets a sampling of European press, where even someone they idolize they can turn on very, very quickly.

DE NIES: And they will be watching it all. Will Mrs. Obama wear any European designers? How will she interact with the queen? And, Robin and Diane, they will even be sizing up her table manners.

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