Stephanopoulos Frets Obama Too Ambitious, Seeks Confirmation He's Had 'Most Fulfilling' Year

The day after President Barack Obama's policies were rebuked by the voters of one of the most liberal states when Massachusetts picked a Republican to replace Ted Kennedy, the White House turned to former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos as their preferred vehicle to forward their spin as Obama sat down for an interview with the ABC News journalist.

An accommodating Stephanopoulos, in the excerpt run on Wednesday's World News, failed to consider Obama's policies were too liberal as he asked the chastened President to confirm he was “surprised and frustrated by the vote” and to agree “this has been about the most packed year of your life” and “the most fulfilling?” Obama, naturally, concurred with the puffball inquiry.

The toughest Stephanopoulos got was to advance the notion Obama was a victim of his own ambition: “In your inaugural address, you said then, 'there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans.' Looking back now, don't those critics have a point?” Stephanopoulos also cued up Obama with an informational request: “ What is the strategy on health care going forward? A lot of people have talked about getting the House to pass the Senate bill.”

Wednesday's Nightline and Thursday's Good Morning America will also carry portions of the interview.

Monday night: “ABC Empathizes with White House: Coakley Loss ‘Shakespearean,’ ‘Tragedy of Greek Proportions.’”

The four questions from Stephanopoulos to Obama shown in the interview excerpt aired on the Wednesday, January 20 World News with Diane Sawyer on ABC:

> So looking at that clock, one year ago, you were just about to take the Oath of Office. And now you get this anniversary present from the voters in Massachusetts [Obama laughs]. You know, Robert Gibbs was saying that you were surprised and frustrated by the vote. Is that accurate?

> In your inaugural address, you said then, “there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans.” Looking back now, don't those critics have a point?

> What is the strategy on health care going forward? A lot of people have talked about getting the House to pass the Senate bill.

> STEPHANOPOULOS: I assume this has been about the most packed year of your life.

OBAMA: It has.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The most fulfilling?

OBAMA: Yes...

The ABCNews.com transcript of the entire interview (above I've corrected some of it).

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center