Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Monday couldn't help but laugh at Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's obvious joke about George W. Bush. Stephanopoulos was in Russia to cover the signing on of a nuclear arms reduction treaty and offered this softball to Medvedev: "What do you make of Barack Obama, the man?"
The Russian President joked, "He's a very comfortable partner. It's very interesting to be with him. The most important thing that distinguishes him from many other people, I won't name anyone by name, he's a thinker. He thinks when he speaks." Not holding back, the former Democratic operative turned journalist laughed.
He then quipped, "You had somebody in your mind, I think." Medvedev added, "Obviously, I do have someone on my mind. I don't want to offend anyone."
Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that an American journalist would share a good laugh with Russia's leader over a former U.S. Commander in Chief. After all, it was ABC President David Westin who, on October 23, 2001, refused to say whether or not the Pentagon was a legitimate target for terrorists:
The Pentagon as a legitimate target? I actually don’t have an opinion on that and it’s important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now....I can say the Pentagon got hit, I can say this is what their position is, this is what our position is, but for me to take a position this was right or wrong, I mean, that’s perhaps for me in my private life, perhaps it’s for me dealing with my loved ones, perhaps it’s for my minister at church. But as a journalist I feel strongly that’s something that I should not be taking a position on. I’m supposed to figure out what is and what is not, not what ought to be.
– ABC News President David Westin to students at a Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism event on October 23, 2001 and shown four days later on C-SPAN.
(Westin retracted his comments a week later.) Overall, Stephanopoulos did ask Medvedev some tough questions. But, shouldn't Medvedev's derisive comments at least have warranted a follow-up from the GMA host? Perhaps a simple, "What do you mean by that?"