ABC: 'Potentially Groundbreaking' Syria Deal' 'Taking Heat' From 'President's Critics'

 According to the reporters on Monday's Good Morning America, Barack Obama's "potentially groundbreaking" plan for Syria faces "heat" from critics who think it's a "bad deal." In a shift from last week, ABC allowed more skepticism for the President's handling of the ongoing situation. Yet, Jon Karl still touted, "John Kerry accomplished a big first step. Getting [Russia] to agree that Syria must give a comprehensive accounting of all its chemical weapons within one week."

George Stephanopoulos wondered if "this weekend's potentially groundbreaking deal will really eliminate Assad's chemical weapons." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The GMA/This Week anchor touted his "exclusive interview" with the President from Sunday, but noted that Obama's "critics say he made a bad deal on Syria."

After Karl highlighted that the President is "under fire from all sides," he featured two Republicans attacking the evolving deal:

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: We're depending on the goodwill of the Russian people if Bashar Assad violates this agreement.

REP. MIKE ROGERS: This is a Russian plan for Russian interests.

CBS This Morning also featured a clip of Rogers and noted that the GOP Congressman is "concerned the tentative deal with Russia may fall apart." On NBC's Today, Savannah Guthrie insisted that "top lawmakers are blasting President Obama over the deal."

Last week in comparison, ABC acted as a cheerleader for the handling of Syria. Martha Raddatz deemed the "threat of force" as the reason a deal came to be.

Last Monday, she parroted Obama: "And moments ago, I sat down with President Obama who seemed to be signaling the tough stand by the U.S. may have caused a dictator to back down."

A transcript of the September 16 GMA segment is below:


7am tease

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Headlines from our exclusive interview with President Obama as his critics say he made a bad deal on Syria. And new this morning, why did one of his most trusted advisers bow out of the running to run the Federal Reserve?

7:09

2 minutes and 24 seconds

ABC GRAPHIC: President's Critics Fire Back on Syria

STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to move now to the latest on the crisis in Syria and whether this weekend's potentially ground breaking deal will really eliminate Assad's chemical weapons. A critical report expected from the U.N. expected today. The President was cautiously optimistic in my interview yesterday. But he's taking more heat from critics and ABC's Jon Karl is tracking it all from the White House.

JON KARL: Intense negotiations with the Russians, John Kerry accomplished a big first step. Getting them to agree that Syria must give a comprehensive accounting of all its chemical weapons within one week. Despite the tentative deal this morning, the President is still under fire from critics on all sides for how he's handled the crisis. In an exclusive interview with George on This Week, President Obama said he's made clear progress, though he hasn't gotten support for military force.

BARACK OBAMA: What I have said consistently, throughout, is that the chemical weapons issue is a problem. I want that problem dealt with. That's my goal. And if that goal is achieved, then, it sounds to me like we did something right.

KARL: But many in Congress says the President has struck a bad deal. It requires too much trust of the Russians.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: We're depending on the goodwill of the Russian people if Bashar Assad violates this agreement.

REP. MIKE ROGERS: This is a Russian plan for Russian interests.

KARL: George put the question of Russia's role directly to the President.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you trust he has the same goal? Do you really trust that?

BARACK OBAMA: I don't think Mr. Putin has the same values that we do. And I think, obviously, by protecting Mr. Assad, he has a different attitude about the Assad regime.

KARL: This morning, the U.N. Is preparing to release it's long-awaited report on the gruesome chemical weapons attack last month. It's a report that won't assign blame. But the White House, George, says it will make it clear who was responsible, the Assad government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Jon, the President refocusing on the economy today. Markets surging overnight on the news that his top pick for Federal Reserve Chair, Larry Summers, is dropping out.

KARL: This is quite a story. This is the biggest economic decision , potentially, the President will make in his second term. By all accounts, he wanted Larry Summers to be his Fed chairman. But he had opposition from liberals, from his own base who thought Summers was too close to Wall Street and he was forced to withdraw.

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