According to GMA Talking Head, Bush Will Deliver Speech ‘From the Gutter’

Tuesday’s "Good Morning America" attempted to simultaneously trash George Bush while also building up the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, who, according to anchor Robin Roberts, is "electrifying" the presidential race. Meanwhile, the ABC program chose to allow political columnist Mary Ann Akers to assert President Bush will be delivering his 2007 State of the Union address "from the gutter." GMA correspondent Claire Shipman set up the nasty quote by remarking on how little applause is expected during the speech:

Claire Shipman: "And we’re also told that the speech will run about an hour, that’s taking into account anticipated applause. But, of course, they can't be counting on an overwhelming amount of that this year. The State of the Union address is normally an occasion marked by steady applause, lawmakers scrambling over each other to glad-hand the President. This year’s address, Bush's first in front of a Democratic Congress, may have an entirely different tone."

Mary Ann Akers (Columnist, Washington Post website) "Essentially, President Bush is going to be delivering his State of the Union address from the gutter. His approval ratings are dismal. The American people, according to the latest polls, are relying more on Congress than they are on the President to resolve the Iraq war."

Akers has delivered snarky, liberal-pleasing comments in the past. She previously wrote the "Heard on the Hill" column for Roll Call. And in 2006, as a Huffington Post columnist , Akers sarcastically wrote about George Allen’s campaign troubles, noting that the Senator’s newly found Jewish heritage had resulted in a nickname: "Macacawitz."

The piece, which aired at 7:06am, also featured more superlatives about Senator Hillary Clinton’s recent announcement that she’s running for the presidency in 2008. In addition to Robert’s description that Clinton "electrified" the presidential race, Shipman suggested that the real focus during the State of the Union address would be the "hard-to-miss" Senator from New York:

Shipman: "Bush's approval ratings have fallen to 33 percent, the biggest reason being the Iraq war. Adding to the tension on this night, the presence of a brand-new presidential candidate, a hard-to-miss Hillary Clinton."

Hillary Clinton: "It is time to renew the promise of America."

Shipman: "In fact, she's been working overtime to outmaneuver the President on his own turf. She’s just back from a trip to Afghanistan and Iraq. She's already announced she'll propose her own health care legislation. And tonight, her guest at the State of the Union? The son of a 9/11 first responder who needs a lung transplant, giving what had been the President’s emotional trump card, September 11th, a new twist."

A transcript of the brief segment, which aired on January 23, follows:

7:01 (tease)

Robin Roberts: "And this half hour, we’ll be talking to the person who has electrified the field, Senator Hillary Clinton."

7:06

Diane Sawyer: Of course, Iraq is going to be front and center in the State of the Union tonight and the centerpiece will, of course, be the battle over there and what his proposals will be, not only on Iraq, but also the health care system, a hard sell in any year but especially given the President's approval ratings, which have collapsed since--. In fact, Richard Nixon had the lower, only lower approval ratings when he gave his State of the Union back in 1974. And ABC's senior national correspondent Claire Shipman joins us from Washington with a preview. Claire?"

Claire Shipman: "Good morning, Diane. Well, one senior White House official told us this morning what the President really wants to do tonight is focus on so-called top of mind items other than Iraq of course. So, you will hear him talk about health care, energy, immigration, and education. And we’re also told that the speech will run about an hour, that’s taking into account anticipated applause. But, of course, they can't be counting on an overwhelming amount of that this year. The State of the Union address is normally an occasion marked by steady applause, lawmakers scrambling over each other to glad-hand the President. This year’s address, Bush's first in front of a Democratic Congress, may have an entirely different tone."

Mary Ann Akers (Columnist Washington Post website) "Essentially, President Bush is going to be delivering his State of the Union address from the gutter. His approval ratings are dismal. The American people, according to the latest polls, are relying more on Congress than they are on the President to resolve the Iraq war."

Shipman: "Bush's approval ratings have fallen to 33 percent, the biggest reason being the Iraq war. Adding to the tension on this night, the presence of a brand new presidential candidate, a hard-to-miss Hillary Clinton."

Shipman: "In fact, she's been working overtime to outmaneuver the President on his own turf. She’s just back from a trip to Afghanistan and Iraq. She's already announced she'll propose her own health care legislation. And tonight, her guest at the State of the Union? The son of a 9/11 first responder who needs a lung transplant, giving what had been the President’s emotional trump card, September 11th, a new twist."

Akers: "Call them stunts if you will, but they're all very calculated, presidential-looking moves."

Shipman: "Just a year ago, Bush was cracking jokes about the Clintons."

George W. Bush (2006 State of the Union footage): "Including two of my dad's favorite people -- me and President Clinton."

Shipman: "It didn't seem to go over so well with Senator Clinton then and this year, with political ambitions bared, Bush may get an even frostier reception. Now, White House officials insist the President will not ignore the subject of Iraq. There will be substantial focus on that. And that, Diane, is where reaction and body language should get very interesting."

Hillary Clinton: "It is time to renew the promise of America."

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