According to Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos, an increase in unemployment from 7.8 percent to 8.3 percent is a recovery. The ABC co-host pressed Chris Christie to agree that, just as the Governor is proclaiming a New Jersey comeback, "...Can President Obama make the same claim about the United States?"
According to Stephanopoulos's talking points, "Across the country, unemployment has gone from about 10.2 percent to 8.3 percent...The United States is on a comeback?" Of course, the problem with this is that unemployment on January 20, 2009 was 7.8 percent. It's now 8.3. percent. An increase of .5 percent constitutes an American comeback? [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The GMA anchor repeatedly pushed Obama talking points on Christie, who has endorsed Mitt Romney. Stephanopoulos highlighted the former Massachusetts governor's insistence that the President has fought a war on religion.
Stephanopoulos quizzed, "And that comes on top of Santorum comments saying that the president has a phoney theology. Is this the debate Republicans want?"
(Until Obama pivoted off of his original contraception stance, few journalists were worrying if this was a debate Democrats "want" to have.)
Later, Stephanopoulos dumped more negativity "We have a new AP poll out this morning showing President Obama opening up an eight and nine-point lead over Governor Romney and Rick Santorum. Is this campaign hurting your party?"
The journalist offered the same liberal attack on February 1, 2012: "You know, a lot of Republicans are starting to worry that a long primary fight, the negativity of a long primary fight is going to hurt the eventual nominee?"
A partial transcript of the segment can be found below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Also breaking now, new battle lines in the race for President. Mitt Romney lashes out at President Obama, accusing him of fighting religion. As this fight over faith breaks out, Republican superstar Chris Christie joins us live.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to talk to one of Mitt Romney's top supporters right now, New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Thanks for joining us.
CHRIS CHRISTIE: Thanks, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about these comments about religion coming up right now. This 2008 speech from Rick Santorum saying that- he said Satan has his sights set on America and is making progress. Now, Santorum is not backing down. But he also says it's not relevant. Is he right?
CHRISTIE: Oh, listen, I think anything you say as a presidential candidate is relevant. I mean, it's by definition, relevant. You're asking to be the president of the United States. So, I don't think he's right. I think it's relevant what he says. I think people want to make an evaluation, a complete evaluation of anybody who asks to sit in the Oval Office. So, I think it's relevant in that respect. Do I think that's what we should be talking about as party and emphasizing at the moment? No.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that's what I wanted to get to next, because you saw Mitt Romney last night saying President Obama has fought against religion. And that comes on top of Santorum comments saying that the president has a phoney theology. Is this the debate Republicans want?
CHRISTIE: I don't think so. But, what I will tell you is that the idea of the fighting against religion part of this goes more to the Osamacare issue and the invasion of Obamacare into maybe some religious freedom issue. I think that's an interesting conversation, an important one to have in the context of overall Obamacare. What is that going to mean for the country if it goes forward after the Supreme Court arguments in the spring? But, in the end, I think, at least what I see in New Jersey, George is that what people want to hear about what are you going to do for the economy? How are you going to create more jobs? How are you going to put my neighbor to work? How are you going to put me to work so that we can get back to supporting our families?
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that's what you talked about yesterday in your budget speech. You introduced your budget in New Jersey yesterday. Called for a ten percent income tax cuts, investments in education. You also titled what you called "the New Jersey comeback," pointing out that unemployment has gone from about 10.1 percent to about nine percent. Across the country, unemployment has gone from about 10.2 percent to 8.3 percent. So, can President Obama make the same claim about the United States? The United States is on a comeback?
CHRISTIE: I'm sure he will and I think, listen, that's his right to do. The people will evaluate the same way the people of New Jersey will evaluate, you know, my claims and my evaluation of where the state is headed as well. But you think about us. In 2009, we lost 117,000 private sector jobs, George. Since I've been governor, we've added another 60,000 private sector jobs back. So, what I said was the New Jersey comeback has begun. It's not complete. And we have more work to do. And that's why I think, for us, after people made a lot of sacrifices, shared sacrifices, now shared benefit for everybody by getting some of their money back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And John McCain says that this long campaign and the tone of it is actually hurting Republican candidates. We have a new AP poll out this morning showing President Obama opening up an eight and nine-point lead over Governor Romney and Rick Santorum. Is this campaign hurting your party?
CHRISTIE: Well, I think it always does. I thing you saw it with the Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama drawn out affair as well.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Although their favorability ratings stayed high during that fight.
CHRISTIE: Well, they did, George. But it's still, vis-a-vis McCain, who had wrapped it up, it was a much more competitive race as they continued to beat each other up and I think that's just natural. What will happen, though, I think is once we settle on a nominee, and I think it will be Governor Romney, and I think it will be by April or so.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That early?
CHRISTIE: I think it will be that early. I think he'll establish momentum- Maybe not have the delegates in hand. But will clearly be the person who is going to get the nomination. Then you will see it will tighten up again. Because then people say, okay, now I'm comparing Mitt Romney to the president. And I think you'll see it tighten again. And I think we've seen this in political races before. So, I'm not dreadfully worried about that part of it, but I do think it should remind us as party, we should have never changed the rules, because what we're doing now is creating ourselves problems we didn't need.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Christie, thanks very much.