After Touting Obama's 'Presidential Leadership' on Hurricane, ABC Hypes How It 'Plays Politically'

A day after he touted Barack Obama's "presidential leadership" in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Good Morning America's Jon Karl hyped how "cooperation on disaster relief works. It also plays well politically." Karl touted a new ABC poll finding "78 percent of likely voters said the President has done a good or excellent job handling the storm." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

On Wednesday, Karl praised that Hurricane Sandy has "given [Obama] a chance to show some presidential leadership." On Thursday's GMA Karl misleadingly told viewers, "In all eight of the states where the candidates are campaigning the hardest, the President is either tied or winning." Except the ones where he isn't.

As Karl made this assertion, a graphic appeared onscreen with states such as Florida, Colorado and Virginia, among others. According to an October 30 WeAskAmerica poll, Romney has a one point lead in Florida. Gravis Marketing finds the Republican up three in that state. 

An October 29 Rasmussen poll in Colorado finds Romney up three. Now, an October 30 WeAskAmerica survey gives the state to the President by three points. Obviously, there is divergence, but it's sloppy at best to suggest that Romney is behind in "all eight" battleground states. (The average of Real Clear Politics also gives the former governor a slight edge in Virginia.)
 
A transcript of the November 1 segment is below:

7:13

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn to the race for the White House now. It's your voice, your vote with just five days to go. And both sides back to all-out campaigning after the break imposed by Hurricane Sandy. ABC's Jon Karl is covering it all from the big Florida battleground this morning. And, Jon, we have new evidence, some new evidence, that President Obama's response to the super storm has solidified his position. 
 
JON KARL: That's right, George. Polls show a solid approval of the president's response to the storm and narrow leads in all of the battleground states. But with just five days left, this campaign is about to return with a vengeance. Not only did President Obama tour the storm damage with New Jersey governor Chris Christie. He also seemed to make a new Republican best friend. 
 
CHRIS CHRISTIE: I cannot thank the President enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state. 
 
KARL: The President returned the favor. 
 
BARACK OBAMA: I have to say that Governor Christie, throughout this process, has been responsive. He's been aggressive in making sure that the state got out in front of this incredible storm. 
 
KARL: Cooperation on disaster relief works. It also plays well politically. In the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, 78 percent of likely voters said the President has done a good or excellent job handling the storm. In the wake of the storm, Romney has struck a more positive tone, campaigning in Florida. But not directly criticizing the President. 
 
MITT ROMNEY: Good Democrats love America just like good Republicans love America. 
 
KARL: As for Paul Ryan, he took a short Halloween detour to his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, taking his kids trick or treating. His daughter dressed as Obama supporter Katy Perry and one of his boys as the grim reaper. The ABC News/Washington Post poll shows the race is tied nationally. 49 percent for Mitt Romney. 49 percent for Barack Obama. But each side seems convinced they're winning. The Obama campaign points to the battleground states. In all eight of the states where the candidates are campaigning the hardest, the President is either tied or winning. The Romney campaign points to Michigan, Pennsylvania and Minnesota, three states thought to be solidly Democratic, but where Obama is now playing defense. The President is back on the campaign trail today. Going to Wisconsin, Colorado and Nevada. Mitt Romney will be campaigning in Virginia. And George, you can expect both of them to be campaigning virtually nonstop between now and Tuesday. 
 
STEPHANOPOULOS: No question about it, Jon. They're going to be focused on these white Battleground states and the pink there in North Carolina, over the next several days. We want to give you a sense of each side's strategy. What the Obama campaign is really trying to do is build a firewall in these three big American states, Ohio, Wisconsin and Ohio, where he's ahead in all three states. Watch what happens if he's able to win those. He gets to 271 electoral votes. And even if Mitt Romney then wins all of the other battlegrounds right there, he'll come up just a little bit short, which may explain, Jon, one of the reasons the Romney campaign is trying to put new efforts into Minnesota and Pennsylvania and Michigan, where they have been behind so far. But if they're able to pick off any one of those three states, that's enough to put him over the top. And one of the things we're seeing, you talk about the travel in the last few days. These battleground states, Jon, are also completely inundated by ads. But we've got some fun, well -- fun for us, but not so much fun for this little girl, who is pretty sick of it, right? 
 
KARL: Yeah. I've got to tell you, George. If you get tired of all the ads, the personal attacks, the lies and distortions, you would understand how four-year-old Abigail Evans feels. Take a listen. 
 
LITTLE GIRL: Just because I'm tired of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. 
 
MOTHER: That's why you're crying? Oh. It will be over soon, Abbie. Okay? The election will be over soon, okay? 
 
YOUNG GIRL: Okay. [Starts crying.]
 
STEPHANOPOULOS: Both campaigns and all of us might have to apologize to Abbie. But now let's get some more news from Josh. 
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org