ABC's George Stephanopoulos Touts Obama's 'Big Day' of Financial Reform, Hits GOP Opposition

Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Friday offered White House spin for the passage of financial reform, enthusing, "...You've got the well looking like it's capped. Passage of financial reform. Big day for the White House." Over two segments, he touted Obama's take: "But, the President called it a big win for the whole country."

Talking to Jake Tapper, the former Democratic operative fretted, "This is another big pillar of his legislative agenda, the stimulus, following health care. Yet, his poll numbers continue to slide. How does the White House plan to address that?"

At Stephanopoulos' prompting, Tapper also repeated the Obama perspective: "[The administration will] say this is what the President wants to do. The policies of the past are what the Republicans want to do."

In a follow-up segment, the GMA co-host interviewed Republican Senator Richard Shelby. This gave Stephanopoulos another opportunity to highlight yet more White House talking points on the Senate's passage of legislation regulating Wall Street.

He chided, "Obama said yesterday, unless your business depends on cutting corners or bilking customers, you have nothing to fear. Specifically, how will this hurt businesses who are playing by the rules?"

Speaking of the mostly party line vote, Stephanopoulos challenged, "And then, at the end, only three Republicans voted for this. USA Today this morning called this an example of mindless, senseless partisanship."

Yet, at no time in either segment did the journalist parrot Republican talking points on the legislation.

A transcript of the Richard Shelby interview, which aired in the 7am hour on July 16, follows:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We turn now for more on this financial reform legislation to Senator Richard Shelby. He's coming to us from London this morning. So, he missed the earthquake. But, Senator, yesterday, you said that this bill is a 2300 page legislative monster. Does that mean that you, like the House Republican leader, John Boehner, want to repeal it?

SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY: We would like to repeal it. But, I think what we have to do now is change the political landscape. And that will probably begin in November, George. We have to wait and see. But, this is not a big victory for the American people.

This bill is not real reform, because we ignored the reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We did not do very much, if anything, to speak of, dealing with the rating agencies.

We have empowered a lot of the regulatory bodies that failed us before and the question is, what have they learned? And it's not going to create jobs, which we desperately need. It's going to cost jobs. It's going to hurt the economy, not help.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Senator, you say it's going to hurt the economy. President Obama said yesterday, unless your business depends on cutting corners or bilking customers, you have nothing to fear. Specifically, how will this hurt businesses who are playing by the rules?

SHELBY: First of all, you're going to create, George, one of the largest bureaucracies, the consumer agencies, that Washington's had in many, many years. And it's going to delve into just about every aspect of every small, medium business, financial institutions, anybody that extends credit, so to speak, in this country.

We don't need this. What we need to do is create jobs. We're all consumers and we like to, to make sure that the consumer has some protection. But, we basically protect ourselves. But, I'll tell you, this is not a jobs bill. It's not good for the economy. It's not real reform, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Senator, what happened here? A couple months ago, you were saying, you and Senator Dodd, the Democratic Chairman of this committee who wrote the bill, were conceptually very close.

And then, at the end, only three Republicans voted for this. USA Today this morning called this an example of mindless, senseless partisanship.

SHELBY: I think it became very partisan. Senator Dodd and I worked for a year and a half, looking conceptually towards a bipartisan bill where we would hopefully pick up 80, 85 senators, which was a great bipartisan show. But, at the end of the day, every time we got close to crystalizing some of our concepts, I believe that the administration got involved and the Treasury got involved and said no. So we wound up with a partisan bill, a bill that I do not believe is real reform and it's not going to be good for the economy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator- Senator, we only have a few seconds left. What is the single most important thing voters will get from Republicans if you take back control of Congress, come November?

SHELBY: I think you're going to see a positive sign of how we can create jobs by less regulation, better tax policies targeted towards small and medium size business that would create the jobs and get America rolling again.

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