Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts, who has conducted a number of fawning interviews with Barack and Michelle Obama, pushed Ann Romney in an exclusive interview on Thursday to release more tax documents. She needled, "Your husband has been adamant about only the two years that will be released. Why will he not follow the example of others on both sides of the aisle?"
After Mrs. Romney reiterated that her husband wouldn't release more than two years and that they had nothing to hide, Roberts hectored, "Why not show that then? Why not release the- because then it's a moot point and people move on." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Regarding a Democratic ad making fun of Ann Romney's horse riding, the host expressed no outrage for the liberal attack. She neutrally wondered, " How do you respond to something like that?"
In contrast, on May 19, 2008, Roberts interviewed Mr. And Mrs. Obama about nasty GOP claims. She sympathized, "Should you get through this process and you have the general election ahead of you, that this is what you can expect more and more of. Are you prepared for that?"
On September 9, 2009, she cooed to the President, "How difficult is it to stay on message?"
On May 10, 2012, Roberts scored an exclusive interview with the President as he reversed his opinion on gay marriage. The co-host asked Obama no tough questions. She thrilled,"I'm getting chills again" just thinking about the segment.
It's true that Roberts lauded Mrs. Romney for being "incredibly gracious." She also included a follow-up segment about MS and how the political spouse has dealt with the diseaase. But the journalist still managed to grill the wife of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. That's something Roberts rarely does when interviewing the Obamas.
A transcript of the July 19 segment can be found below.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And boy, you had a fascinating interview yesterday with Ann Romney.
ROBIN ROBERTS: Nothing was out of bounds. I could ask her anything and she was so incredibly gracious. And her husband, Republican challenger, of course, Mitt Romney, has a slight edge this morning over President Obama. According to the latest New York Times poll/CBS poll It's all- it's being driven by fears about the country's economy. I spoke exclusively with Ann Romney about what her husband's planning. It's your voice, your vote and I started by asking her how close her husband is to picking a running mate.
ANN ROMNEY: We're not quite there yet. And we're going to be there soon. There's so many good choices. That's making it especially difficult.
ROBERTS: You have said you want it to be somebody that your husband- they match in personality. No one knows your husband better than you. So, who is that type of person?
ANN ROMNEY: I think in saying that, I was thinking of passion for this country, being able to serve, being able to- having experience, having real experience. Being able to be ready, day one.
ROBERTS: Everyone wants to stay on message. You do. The Obama administration. The American people. And there seem to be so many different distractions. One being your husband and the tax returns. Both Bushes gave multiple years, ten and 12 years. President Obama gave seven years of tax returns. Your husband has been adamant about only the two years that will be released. Why will he not follow the example of others on both sides of the aisle?
ANN ROMNEY: You know, I think there are reasons for all of these things. You know, you should really look at where Mitt has led his life and where he's been financially. He's been a very generous person. We give ten percent of our income to our church every year. Do you think that is the kind of person that is trying to hide things? Or do you things- No, he's so good about it. Then when he was governor of Massachusetts, didn't take a salary in four years. You know, he is a person-
ROBERTS: Why not show that then? Why not release the- because then it's a moot point and people move on.
ANN ROMNEY: Because so many things that will be open, again, to attack. You don't want to give more material for more attack. That's just the answer. And we have given all people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life. And, so-That election, again, will not be decide on that. It will be decided on who will turn the economy around and how are jobs coming back to America.
ROBERTS: Then there's the controversy on whether Mitt Romney outsourced jobs while running Bain Capital.
OBAMA AD: As a corporate raider, he shipped jobs to China and Mexico.
ROBERTS: Independent fact-checkers criticize this Obama ad, saying Romney had already left the company. But an Obama campaign aide suggested Romney may have lied about when he left and committed a felony, prompting this response from Romney.
MITT ROMNEY: He sure as heck ought to say he's sorry for the kinds of attacks coming from his team.
ROBIN ROBERTS: And this from the President.
BARACK OBAMA: No. We won't be apologizing.
ANN ROMNEY: I'm not disappointed. I'm not surprised. I believe it was beneath the dignity of the office of the president to do something as egregious as that. To attack someone on that level is, I believe, beneath his dignity.
ROBERTS: Away from the campaign trail, Ann Romney has been waging another battle, against Multiple Sclerosis since her diagnosis 14 years ago. Have you had a discussion with your husband, if he is elected, how that could effect, if it does flair up, his presidency?
ANN ROMNEY: You know, that was part of the discussion when we decided whether to go forward again, because we certainly would not have gone forward if I had been in an active part of my disease. Because it would have been something I would have needed my husband to be there with me. But the thing that you can't ever know about life is what tomorrow will bring. So you just step forward and just go on. And, so, for us right now, I really believe that he's the right person at the right time. He has a clear understanding of how to create jobs. So many Americans are suffering right now that are out of work. I really, really believe in my heart that he's the right person at the right time to bring hope and recovery.
ROBERTS: Part of Romney's MS therapy is to ride horses. It's a high-end sport that made her and her husband a target for critics, like in this new ad by Democrats. How do you respond to something like that?
ANN ROMNEY: You know, honestly, do you know how I really feel? I want to laugh. It makes me laugh. It's like, really? You know, there's so many people out of work right now, and there's this guy right here that has the answer for fixing the economy. And all these attacks, they're going to try everything. And that is what people have to ask themselves when they go in the voting booth in November. Are you better off? Do you thing we need a change? Basically, my philosophy is, they're going to fire the coach. I already, sort of, know the answer. At the end of the day, they're going to fire the coach, 'cause things are not going well.
ROBERTS: And the coach being President Obama?
ANN ROMNEY: Right.
ROBERTS: I know Mrs. Romney said she laughed off the ad with the Dressage horse. Well, the DNC has pulled that ad, said they didn't mean to offend her. But they're not going to use that anymore.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, they pulled it overnight. But, boy, that first answer she gave you, so interesting. We haven't made a decision yet in vice president.
ROBERTS: They're a team. They are a team.