George Stephanopoulos Fawns Over Joe Biden, Then Hits Paul Ryan With VP's Talking Points

George Stephanopoulos offered a classic case of liberal bias on Wednesday, fawning over Joe Biden and, just minutes later, grilling Paul Ryan with the Vice President's talking points. The Good Morning America host talked to the two men seeking the same job, but offered Biden this not-exactly-tough question on his debate performance: "I have to ask you about your own debate...How did you feel about it? You took some ribbing for all of those smiles and laughs."

While Stephanopoulos only gingerly mentioned Biden's "smiles and laughs," he didn't fact check the Vice President's misstatements from last week. Stephanopoulos zeroed in on Romney's claims, however. On the subject of Libya, the host pressed, "You just heard Vice President Biden say that what we saw was Governor Mitt Romney trying to politicize this tragedy." Tag teaming Ryan, the journalist said of taxes: "But as Vice President Biden just pointed out...he said that Mitt Romney didn't offer one specific idea of how he's going to pay for those plans." [See below for a video montage of the contrast. MP3 audio here.]

Stephanopoulos snidely began the segment by huffing, "I saw you said last night that Mitt Romney crushed it but the first overnight polls give the edge to President Obama last night."

With Biden, however, the host wanted to know "why President Obama brought such a different game to this second debate."

He marveled, "What did you say to him that got such a different performance last night?"

On October 11, Biden offered several misstatements, including asserting that he voted against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (The then-senator voted for them.) Good Morning America did no fact checking of the Vice President.

Yet, Stephanopoulos was only to happy to correct Ryan.

[Thanks to MRC intern Jeffrey Meyer for the video.]

A transcript of October 17 segment, which aired at 7:10am EDT, follows:


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And with that, let's turn to the man who wants to replace Vice President Biden. Congressman Paul Ryan who joins us this morning from Arlington, Virginia. Thank you for getting up early for us this morning Congressman.

PAUL RYAN: My pleasure.  Good to be with you George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I saw you said last night that Mitt Romney crushed it but the first overnight polls give the edge to President Obama last night.

RYAN: Well look, the reason I think Mitt Romney won this debate, is because Americans again saw a leader with a plan to grow the economy and create jobs.  The president couldn’t justify his record.  He couldn’t justify his record on deficits and job creation.  And what Mitt Romney offered was a very specific plan on how to get the country growing and creating jobs again.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But as Vice President Biden just pointed out, at least he said that Mitt Romney didn't offer one specific idea of how he's going to pay for those plans.

RYAN: Look, growing the economy through energy, through better job training programs, for getting people back to work, getting the deficit, cutting the deficit, capping spending, getting small businesses growing again. This is our specific five-point plan. These are bipartisan ideas that have worked before. We're going to do them again. And the specific ideas of how we get off the path that we are on right now, to get this economy growing and creating jobs, and that's what people saw. They saw a leader with a proven track record of bringing people together, getting things done, creating jobs.  And that is exactly why I think Mitt Romney, again, won this debate.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The moment getting so much attention last night, that moment where both candidates talked about the attack on our consulate in Benghazi. You just heard Vice President Biden say that what we saw was Governor Mitt Romney trying to politicize this tragedy.

RYAN: Far from it, George. Look, what's troubling about this Benghazi attack is that it took two weeks for the administration to get their story straight. Is that, what we now know, is that there wasn't even a mob present. This wasn't a reaction to a YouTube video. It took two weeks for the president to acknowledge this. He still went to the U.N. and mentioned the YouTube video six times. The administration sent their U.N. Ambassador to the Sunday talk shows, to suggest that this was the result of a spontaneous mob. That's what's troubling about this, George. And as all the facts come out, hopefully we can learn from this so we don’t repeat this mistake ever again. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: But as you heard last night, the President said that he referred to acts of terror the day after the Benghazi attack. And the moderator, Candy Crowley, backed him up on that.  Was she wrong to do that?

RYAN: Well, she already backtracked from that statement, as you probably now know. She basically said that she was wrong in that assertion. That Mitt Romney is right in what he said. And look, nobody believed at that Rose Garden speech, that the president was suggesting that that particular attack was an act of terror.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The direct quote from the president, "no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation."

RYAN: Right. It was a passing comment about acts of terror in general. It was not a claim that this was the result of a terrorist attack. Why else -- if that was the case, George, then why send Susan Rice out four days later to say this was the result of a spontaneous mob reacting to a YouTube video? Why go on "The View," why go on these other shows, and not say the same thing?  Look that doesn't even hold water. What's troubling about this, is that as we learn more about it, these facts just don't add up.  That’s why we need to get to the bottom of this so we can prevent something like this from happening again.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Did President Obama undo the damage from the first debate last night?

RYAN: Well look, he had a, you know, obviously most people think he had a pretty bad performance the first time.  So we knew he was going to change his tactics coming out in this debate.  And now that they’ve had the chance to cut through the clutter of these 30-second ads and see the kind of leader and man that Mitt Romney is, it's a very clear choice.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Ryan, thanks very much for your time this morning.

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