George Stephanopoulos Parrots Lefty Paul Krugman to Hit Obama From the Left on Debt Deal

Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Monday hit senior White House advisor David Plouffe from the left, highlighting liberal columnist Paul Krugman's complaints about the debt ceiling deal. The morning show also played up a Democratic congressman's attack that the bill is a "Satan sandwich."

Quoting from the New York Times' Krugman, Stephanopoulos fretted, "Paul Krugman in the New York Times this morning saying that the President 'had an abject surrender. He says that Obama surrendered last December extending all the Bush tax cuts.'"

Reading the lengthy quote, the former Democratic operative turned journalist continued, "'He surrendered in the spring when they threatened to shut down the government and he has now surrendered on a grand scale to raw extortion over the debt ceiling.' Abject surrender?"

Clearly Stephanopoulos is a fan of the left-wing author. On November 15, 2010, pushed his former Clinton White House colleague from the left with another Krugman quote.

He chided, "[Paul Krugman] says taking away the deduction for the home mortgage deduction, the deduction for employer provided health care will end up creating a mixture of tax cuts and tax increases that is tax cuts for the wealthy and tax increases for the middle class."

On Monday, citing the colorful language of the liberal Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Stephanopoulos showcased Democratic unhappiness: "And as you know, a lot of Democrats are upset about that possibility. You saw Congressman Cleaver calling this is a "Satan sandwich."

In an earlier segment, Stephanopoulos highlighted the $1 trillion in spending cuts and worried, "But, this is still a big number. So, it's going have a real impact on just about everyone isn't it?"

A transcript of August 1 segment, which aired at 7:05am EDT, follows:


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, let's go to the White House and our senior White House adviser David Plouffe for his bottom line on all this. Thanks for joining us, David. And let's start out with the big question: Do you have the votes to pass this?

DAVID PLOUFFE: Well, obviously, George, every member is going to have make their determination. We're confident that this deal will and should pass. It's, one, removed the cloud uncertainty over the economy. We're not going to have to repeat this episode in five or six months, significant debt reduction on the front end. And we're going to have a great debate in the fall here in Washington and around the country over the next stage of debt reduction and the only way to reduce the deficit in a significant way, smartly, is to make sure there is to make sure there is smart entitlement reform and closing of loopholes and tax reform.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, David, as you know, the Speaker of House is selling this to his members that any tax increase is impossible in the next deal, what makes you believe that the House Republicans who have been adamant against any tax revenues, are going to be more likely to support them in December than they are now are today?

PLOUFFE: Well, first of all, as you know, in our negotiations with the Speaker, we never  reached a final deal. But, there was tentative agreement for $800 billion ins revenue.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, the caucus was against that.

PLOUFFE: Well, you have seen Republican senators- And you have seen Republican senators embrace a balanced package. So, this is the debate and I think the American people made their voices pretty clear in this debate. One, they wanted compromise and they helped force it at the end. But, secondly, there's just no doubt. Even a majority of Republicans, you know, support a balanced approach. So, we really have to really force Congress over the next few months to try to do their job and lead and produce something that has both tax reform and entitlement reform. And as you said, if that doesn't happen, there's an enforcement mechanism and there will be additional spending cuts. Half of those come from defense and programs like children's health care, Medicaid, Medicare beneficiaries will be protected.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And as you know, a lot of Democrats are upset about that possibility. You saw Congressman Cleaver calling this is a "Satan sandwich." Paul Krugman in the New York Times this morning saying that the President had an abject surrender. He says that Obama surrendered last December extending all the Bush tax cuts. He surrendered in the spring when they threatened to shut down the government and he has now surrendered on a grand scale to raw extortion over the debt ceiling." Abject surrender?

PLOUFFE: Absolutely not. First of all, the tax deal back in December was very important. Think about where the economy would be today with all of the headwinds that we faced if we didn't extend all the payroll tax cuts and business tax cuts. So, this is something, one, these are spending cuts that were identified largely on front end that the President and Vice President did with congressional leaders. They protect things like education and medical research. And this committee is going to be charged, again, with the next stage. But, obviously, we wanted to do something that we thought protected the most vulnerable and that's what this enforcement mechanism would do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Don't you agree, though, that Washington just looks dismal through all of this? I think the country is watching what's happened over the last couple of weeks and said, "We're fed up with all of you."

PLOUFFE: Well, as the President said last night, it was far too messy. And, listen, Monday night when the President spoke to the country and again Friday, he asked the people of America to lift their voices and demand compromise and Capitol Hill was overwhelmed with people calling and e-mailing. Yes, as the President has said, we chose divided government. That doesn't mean we chose dysfunctional government. Now, at the 11th hour, there was a compromise. But, there's no doubt, hopefully moving forward here, people will lower their voices a little bit and seek compromise a little bit earlier. Because, obviously, this was obviously a three ring circus and let's hope it doesn't get repeated anytime soon.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's hope so. Okay, David Plouffe. Thanks very much. Robin?

ROBIN ROBERTS: George, as you know, front-page news all across the country. And I was struck by something I read in the USA Today. It said, " A last-minute deal is like the fire trucks arrived after a home's roof has engulfed in flames. It's good they made it. But, some real damage has already been done." So, George, give us your bottom line on all of this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I think you hit it right there. I mean, I think the country, as I just said with David Plouffe, is looking at all this and saying, "What's going on in Washington D.C.?" You see the President at the lowest approval ratings of his presidency. He's now to about 40 percent. He's in a dead heat with the top Republican for the 2012 race.  At the same time, Congress is at its lowest approval ratings in decades as well. The country is just looking at us and saying we want something different. And, so, you could see a real political earthquake this next election.

ROBERTS: And it has yet to be signed as of yet. All right, George. We'll get back to you.

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