George Stephanopoulos, Expert on Liberal Talking Points: 'You Know What Democrats Say'
How has George Stephanopoulos spent his week? The former top aide to Bill Clinton pushed Democratic talking points on all his guests at the Republican National Convention, continuing the practice on Thursday. After allowing that Paul Ryan "electrified" the crowd in his speech last night, the host fretted, "But it's quite a gamble, especially here in Florida, to put Medicare front and center like that, isn't it?"
Talking to Jeb Bush on Good Morning America, he continued, "You know what Democrats say. They say he reinstates those cuts in order to finance the tax cuts for the wealthy." If anyone "knows" what Democrats would say, it's Stephanopoulos. On Wednesday night, minutes after the vice presidential candidate finished his speech, he informed the world, "I got an e-mail from a top Democrat saying the speech was audacious in its dishonesty."
On Wednesday's GMA, Stephanopoulos interviewed Marco Rubio and quoted the liberal mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa. He parroted, "He [Villaraigosa] said you can't just trot out a brown face or as Spanish surname and expect people to vote for your candidate. He was referring to you tomorrow night."
Stephanopoulos reminded, "If Mitt Romney's going to win this race, he is going to have to do better with Hispanic voters than he is doing right now, right?"
On Tuesday, the ex-Democratic operative, reading off a sheet of paper, grilled Chris Christie about New Jersey's comeback: "You know, the Democrats are already ready for you to talk about the New Jersey experience. They're pointing out, ahead of your speech, that New Jersey is near the bottom of states in unemployment."
Stephanopoulos on Thursday also eagerly pushed Bush to repeat his attacks on conservatives, hyping, "And you said in a forum here in Tampa, that this conservative philosophy will prevail if republicans stop acting stupid. What did you mean by that?...What have Republicans been doing that's stupid?"
If there's anyone who can be expected to know exactly what the Democrats are thinking, it's Stephanopoulos. Perhaps it has something to do with a 2009 revelation that Stephanopoulos engaged in daily conference calls with fellow Democrats James Carville and Rahm Emanuel.
A transcript of the August 30th segment can be found below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk now to the former Florida governor. Jeb Bush joins us here. Good to see you, governor.
JEB BUSH: Good morning, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, Paul Ryan electrified the crowd last night. But it's quite a gamble, especially here in Florida, to put Medicare front and center like that, isn't it?
BUSH: You know what? I thought it was an inspired choice, because it immediately allowed the Republicans to go offense. Now, the conversation is about the $700 billion-plus dollars of cuts over ten years, that's used to finance the--
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about that. Those cuts are included in Paul Ryan's budget.
BUSH: But not to expand entitlement. To protect the trust fund over the long haul. Obamacare, you're basically double-counting. He's claiming credit for making this revenue-neutral. Which is true if you count these cuts. But that accelerates the demise of Medicare. And that's a good conversation to have here in Florida and across the country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know what Democrats say. They say he reinstates those cuts in order to finance the tax cuts for the wealthy.
BUSH: [laughs]: Well, you know, look, we've already had that conversation. And you know, that's a good argument to have for Democrats. If they want to take money away from people consistently, it will create this cloud of uncertainty that allows us to have no economic growth, no hope, no optimism. And I think Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney have a compelling case that's better.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, Paul Ryan last night really laid out a conservative philosophy, as well. And you said in a forum here in Tampa, that this conservative philosophy will prevail if republicans stop acting stupid. What did you mean by that?
BUSH: Well, I'm a huge Paul Ryan fan, because I think he's kind of the Jack Kemp conservative that is hopeful and optimistic, that our message needs to be that way. It needs to be aspirational, rather than scolding. The tone has to be positive. And Paul Ryan is the exact kind of Republican that I would be advocating.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What have Republicans been doing that's stupid?
BUSH: Sending a signal as it relates to issues like immigration, that it's only about border control, rather than how we create a climate of growth. It's a gateway issue for an emerging voting population in our country, Hispanic voters, Asian voters. The country's becoming increasingly diverse. My message was really about the long haul. Demographics are destiny. And if you just ignore it, you do it at your peril.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Big moment for Mitt Romney tonight. You know, I was talking to Rick Santorum who ran against him last night and he said that Romney has to reach down and show more of himself than he's ever been willing to do before. Is that the right advice?
BUSH: It is good advice. This is something that's going to be hard for Mitt Romney. He has to-- Where it matters is connecting with other people's concerns. I don't think he has to be, like, this new-age kind of guy all of a sudden. He's not going to be that way.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's interesting. Both your father and your brother, at their big moments, did do that. It's kind of a central requirement for running for president. Isn't it?
BUSH: It connects emotionally before then- That gives you the chance, I think, to allow people in. You're allowed in. And then you can make your case.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor, it was an emotional moment for your family, I imagine, when they showed that film of your father and your brother and their wives. And it got a great reaction here from the crowd. I know you've said you understand why your brother shouldn't be here, in Florida. But is he watching? What did he say to you about the convention?
BUSH: I think he's watching. I know he's interested in it. He cares about this country. But his attitude is, "look, I had a chance. I served. I did my best. It's Mitt Romney's night. It's his turn. I'll do whatever I can to help him."And strangely enough, it may be better to stay away to provide the most help.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your night, tonight. You'll be speaking right before your best surprise. Who is your guess on who the big surprise guest is?
BUSH: I don't know. I don't know. But it's pretty cool that there is a surprise at a convention. Hasn't been one of those since 1960, I think.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's been a long time. Governor, good luck tonight.