ABC's George Stephanopoulos Touts Possible Gloom for GOP

In the midst of bad news for Democrats, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Monday continued to search for a silver lining. Talking to ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, he quizzed, "But, I wonder what makes you nervous? Because some other polls show some warning signs at least for the Republican Party."

The former Democratic operative turned journalist added, "Going back to 1994 when you led the Republicans to victory. The favorability of the Republican Party was 63 percent. It's only 37 percent now." He didn't cite other polls, such as the new Rasmussen survey which finds Republicans with a ten point generic ballot advantage.

Stephanopoulos has a habit of being selective as to what polls, and what parts of polls, he highlights. On July 13, 2010, he discussed an ABC News/Washington Post poll and touted negative numbers for the Republican Party.

However, he ignored a finding that likely voters want the GOP to take control of Congress by a margin of 56 to 41.

On Monday, the co-host wondered if the poll suggests that the Democrats should "turn this into a choice between Democrats and Republicans- not a referendum on President Obama?"

Of course, he ignored the obvious point that although many conservatives and tea parties may be unhappy with Republicans, they also view them as the only vehicle of stopping Obama and the Democrats' agenda.

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:07am EDT on August 2, follows:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: For more on this, let me bring in former House Speaker and Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich. He is also author of the New York Times bestseller To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular, Socialist Machine. Thank you for joining us this morning, Mr. Speaker. And let me begin with something that Speaker Pelosi told Christiane Amanpour yesterday. She said she's not at all nervous about the midterms. Should she be?

NEWT GINGRICH: Well, I think that her style may be to not be nervous, but with 9.5 percent unemployment, with the majority of Americans wanting to repeal Obama's health care plan, with a majority of Americans favoring Arizona over the Obama administration on immigration, with a majority of Americans opposing a mosque at Ground Zero, with a majority of Americans feeling that the stimulus failed and that the Democratic Party is increasingly the party of job-killers, I think that's what's going to be the key this fall. The American people- I mean, Speaker Pelosi was right when she said this will be an election about big choices. The problem is I think a San Francisco liberal doesn't represent the majority of Americans when they make that big choice.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You listed a lot of poll numbers there. But, I wonder what makes you nervous. Because some other polls show some warning signs at least for the Republican Party. Going back to 1994 when you led the Republicans to victory. The favorability of the Republican Party was 63 percent. It's only 37 percent now. And our own polling shows that voters are preferring Democratic ideas, generically, to Republican ideas on a lot of big issues like the economy. Doesn't this suggests that the Democrats to turn this into a choice between Democrats and Republicans- not a referendum on President Obama- might succeed in holding down losses?

GINGRICH: Well, I think they should try to turn it into a choice. The danger they have is it depends on what the choice is. If the choice is, do you want taxes to go up next year, I think you'll find that they lose the debate. If the choice is do you think 9.5 percent unemployment is a sign Democrats have been the job killers- Remember, Pelosi and Reid have been in charge of the Congress since January '07. So they're defending a four-year record in which the economy collapsed. All of it under their watch. The deficits have gone up under their watch. You have to ask people about that $3.8 trillion to quote the number on governor Palin's hand. Do they want that kind of deficit increased? The answer is no. And, so, I think I'd be happy for Democrats to make this a choice election. I don't think that can do that. I think in the end they have to attack the Republicans relentlessly. And, frankly, in 2006, Republican senators found out that technique did not work. Republicans lost six out of six close elections. Just as, I think, Senator Reid has to go home and explain with 14.5 percent unemployment, the highest in the country, Nevada should re-elect him.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you think Democrats are going to lose the House?

GINGRICH: I think the odds are very high they'll lose the House. I think they're going to lose an amazing number of governorships with people like John Kasich and Meg Whitman and Scott Walker. And I think they are very possibly going to be either a slight majority or lose the majority of the Senate, depending on a handful of races in places like California with Carly Fiorina.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about one of the issues you raised. Tax cuts. Of course, a big battle looming over whether or not to renew some of the tax cuts, first pass first proposed by President Bush. Yesterday, over the weekend, Alan Greenspan said that all of them should be allowed to expire. As you know, the President wants the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to expire as well. Are you willing, I know you want to extend all the tax cuts, but in order to do something about the debt and deficits, are you willing to tie the extension of the tax cuts to some kind of specific, long-term commitment to reduce the debt and reduce the deficit?

GINGRICH: Look- As you know, George, for four years, I helped balance the federal budget and we paid off $405 billion in federal debt, while cutting taxes. It was done by controlling spending. I don't think this President will control spending. I don't think the Democrats in the House and Senate will control spending. So, they want the right to run up the biggest credit card in history, more than any teenager in America and then turn around and tell the rest of us we have to pay the credit card. I say, if they'd let us control spending, we could work out a possibility of having tax cuts continue while controlling spending. But, I think to raise taxes on people who create jobs, in the middle of a 9.5 percent unemployment rate, is, frankly, crazy. It's going to increase the number of unemployed Americans. Because, the people the President is talking about, his wealthiest Americans are the people who create jobs. They're the small business owners. And they're not going to hire anybody when the taxes go up.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you're willing- You're willing to cut spending but you're not a deal where you have some kind of deal where you specifically tie the spending cuts to the extension of the tax cuts.

GINGRICH: No.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you one question, because we're just about out of time. I know you've spoken about the possibility of running for president now in 2012. You made similar sounds in 2006 and 2007 and then decided not to run. Why should we take you seriously this time?

GINGRICH: You don't need to. We'll find out next February or March. Callista and I will meet with our family and make a make a decision. But, I do think this is a very different environment. And I think the level of radicalism that President Obama represents offers a very different range of choices for the American people in 2012.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. You and your wife now have a new DVD called Nine Days That Changed the World. You can find that on the web.

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