ABC Links 'Landmine' GOP Senate Candidate to Romney, Hypes 'Firestorm'

World News on Wednesday night continued to try and link Mitt Romney to the comments of a Republican Senate candidate in Indiana.  Anchor Diane Sawyer began the program by hyping, "The Romney campaign wrestles today with a landmine on a big issue for women."

On Tuesday, Richard Mourdock said that life is a "gift from God" and that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen." Reporter David Muir insisted the words "have caused a firestorm." On Wednesday's Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos warned that "Romney [is] catching some flak for his ties" to Mourdock.

Muir has a habit of playing up every Democratic talking point. On October 18, Muir obsessed over Mitt Romney's "binder blunder."

On September 27, the journalist prematurely lectured Romney, "I'm curious what you would say to some of your supporters tonight, your donors who might be concerned this could be slipping away?"

A transcript of the World News segment can be found below:


6:30 tease

DIANE SAWYER: The scramble. Does the only movable voter in the Presidential campaign now look like this? The Romney campaign wrestles today with a landmine on a big issue for women.

6:35                           

DIANE SAWYER: And now, we move on to something else millions of Americans are watching tonight, the red-hot race for the White House. Our new ABC News/"Washington Post" poll out today shows the two men deadlocked, Governor Romney on top by a hair tonight. So which group of voters could still break this tie? And why was the Republican camp scrambling on a hot-button issue today? Thirteen days until Americans go to the polls, it's "Your Voice Your Vote." And ABC's David Muir is in the battleground state of Iowa tonight. David?

DAVID MUIR:  Diane, good evening from Iowa tonight. And that hot-button issue you speak of is a women's right to choose and it's back front and center in the news tonight because what a Senate candidate said during a debate. That candidate had just been endorsed in a new TV ad by Mitt Romney. Tonight they are words that have caused a firestorm, from a Senate candidate who just days ago put up this ad, an endorsement from Mitt Romney. Now that Senate candidate, reigniting a flashpoint when asked in a debate if he supported abortion in cases of rape, he said this:

RICHARD MOURDOCK: I came to realize life is that gift from God and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen.

MUIR:  Within hours, the Romney campaign trying to distance itself, saying those comments don't reflect Romney's views. But word today, Romney will continue to support the Republican candidate from Indiana. For Mitt Romney, though, it complicates his final push to appeal to more women voters. President Obama leads among women. But among a key group, white, married middle-class women, Romney is ahead by more than 20 points in our newest poll tonight. Increasing that number could be the key the victory. Romney speaking of women on the trail today in Nevada.

MITT ROMNEY: I think of this single mom right now raising a child or two or three that is scrimping herself - for herself so she could put a good meal on the table.

MUIR: in that final debate, a more moderate tone that might appeal more to women.

ROMNEY: We want a peaceful planet.

MUIR: ) But on the delicate issue of abortion, shifting tone is more challenging. Romney during the primaries--

ROMNEY: Do I believe the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v Wade? Yes, I do.

MUIR: But then, just this month, he told the "Des Moines Register" this.

ROMNEY: There's no legislation with regarding - regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda.

MUIR: The President calling these moderate moves an issue of trust. Today, in Iowa--

BARACK OBAMA: You can choose to turn back the clock 50 years on women and immigrants and gays or, in this election, you can stand up for the kind of America that says we embrace everybody.

MUIR: And tonight, the Obama out with its first ad featuring Michelle Obama.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Every young person in this country has access to good schools.

MUIR: An effort to reassure voters, among them women, who might have given Romney a second look, hoping that they'll stick with the President. The Obama campaign tried to accomplish two goals with that new ad with Michelle Obama. They're trying to reach those women who might be considering Mitt Romney. They're trying to bring them back to President Obama. They're also reaching that key voting block of Hispanic voters. Meantime here tonight, Diane, Mitt Romney is gonna be here in Iowa, moments from now. He'll end the night in the key battleground of Ohio. No surprise there, Diane.

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