When Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced she had taken in $26 million in campaign donations on Monday, "Good Morning America" focused on the "historic," "staggering," and record shattering nature of the total. But on Tuesday, April 3, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney received only suspicion over his equally impressive announcement of a $23 million fund-raising total.
GMA host Robin Roberts repeatedly asked Romney questions such as "where is the money coming from, Governor?" Ms. Roberts also wondered how the candidate’s Mormon faith factored into his fund-raising. She even challenged the Republican hopeful to take a page from John Kennedy and address his faith:
Robin Roberts: "Many are wondering if you will do, take a page from former President Kennedy, who had addressed the nation about his Catholic upbringing. Do you anticipate, anticipate doing the same?"
Mitt Romney: "Well, you know, time will tell about that. There's probably not a single interview I do with you guys that doesn't raise that issue, so of course we talk about it from time to time....And all you have to do is look at my wife and me and our marriage of 38 years and my family and recognize our values are as American as you'll find anywhere in this great country."
In comparison, on April 2, ABC reporter Kate Snow filed a report on Hillary Clinton’s fund-raising. Now, while it is true that Clinton’s total did break records, Snow only briefly mentioned the sources of the New York Senator’s money (such as Hollywood liberals). For the piece, airing at 7:11am, Diane Sawyer introduced Kate Snow this way:
Diane Sawyer: "We turn now to the presidential race for 2008 and staggering dollar signs. In fact, Senator Hillary Clinton has taken in a record $26 million in the first three months of the year, she has announced. And ABC's weekend anchor Kate Snow is here with the rest of it. Kate?"
Kate Snow: "Well, Diane, big numbers are seen as is a sign of strength. Small numbers can mean the end for a candidate. And while we still don't know this morning how the leading Republicans stack up, we have heard from several Democrats and we sure know who is on top. What does Barbra Streisand have in common with rapper Timbaland? They both chipped in to help Hillary Clinton make history. Shattering the record held by Al Gore when he ran for president, Senator Clinton raised $26 million over 10 weeks."
ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos went on to describe Clinton’s fund-raising total as a "shock and awe announcement" and there was no further mention of the Senator's Hollywood connection.
On April 3, however, GMA co-host Robin Roberts did term Romney’s total "staggering," but quickly moved past that and began grilling him about Mormonism and its connection to his surprising fund-raising total:
Robin Roberts: "Well, Claire, now we're going to talk to the man of the morning, former Governor Mitt Romney. We spoke from Watertown, Massachusetts to discuss those staggering fund-raising totals that are the talk of the town. Governor Romney, we certainly do appreciate your time this morning. Third in the Republican polls, but you have everybody's attention this morning. So, where is the money coming from, Governor?"
Romney: "Well, frankly, from all over the country. I think from all 50 states. I'm very heartened by the fact that people who have heard my message and have seen me have been willing to part with some money and send it my way. It's giving us a great boost, a great start, and, of course, it's very encouraging and heartening to know the message is connecting with people across the country, particularly in the early primary states."
Roberts: "You say the money is coming from all the states. The ‘New York Times’ this morning is reporting that 15 percent of the money raised in your campaign is coming from the state of Utah. Many speculate that it has something to do, of course, with your being a Mormon. Does your, does your religion factor in at all in your campaign and in your fund-raising?"
Romney: "Of course not. The number one state is California and I lived, of course, for several years in Utah and helped organize the Olympic games there. So it's pretty natural that some of the folks who know me there and that are good friends have been supportive of my effort of my effort there. I think this is a campaign about changing Washington. Americans want a person who is willing to make some real dramatic change there and transform government to make it more responsive to the needs of our people, to bring stronger families, better jobs, better schools, better health care. And they're tired of all the bickering in Washington. They don’t want a life-long politician. They want somebody who will actually bring change."
Roberts: "Many are wondering if you will do, take a page from former President Kennedy, who had addressed the nation about his Catholic upbringing. Do you anticipate, anticipate doing the same?"
Romney: "Well, you know, time will tell about that. There's probably not a single interview I do with you guys that doesn't raise that issue, so, of course, we talk about it from time to time. But, you know, what I find as I go across the country is the people I talk to want a person of faith to lead the country, but they don't particularly care what brand of faith the person has, so as long as they have American values and we have shared values. And all you have to do is look at my wife and me and our marriage of 38 years and my family and recognize our values are as American as you'll find anywhere in this great country."
So, while GMA focused its Clinton report entirely on the impressive nature of her financial totals, Romney had to deal with questions about where his money came from.
It’s also important to remember that on March 26, GMA hosted Clinton for a 30 minute, multi segment "town hall" meeting. The event featured soft ball questions and no mention of the fact that Hillary Clinton has taken millions of dollars from liberal Hollywood celebrities. Although GMA has promised that the town hall event will be a series with several political candidates, a second edition has yet to be announced. When ending the April 3 segment with Mr. Romney, Roberts only vaguely promised, "I know that we will be talking to you in the, in the days and weeks and months ahead in the campaign trail."