"Good Morning America" reporter John Berman on Thursday hyperbolically warned that Mitt Romney is taking his "ever more scathing, anti-Obama message" to South Carolina. The correspondent then proceeded to play up every new attack on the Republican front-runner.
Speaking of South Carolina, Berman fretted, "It's not just the warm weather, but the warm welcome to his ever more scathing, anti-Obama message." The reporter highlighted a video from Gingrich supporters that lambastes Romney's "big house, big money and the big cuts to some companies."
Berman even recited criticism of Romney by Sarah Palin and touted, "these [Palin attacks] sound like Democratic arguments."
On January 6, the ABC reporter sympathized with Barack Obama, wondering, "How mean will [Romney] get?" On Thursday, GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos sounded a similar theme, lecturing that primaries in South Carolina "get pretty nasty."
Berman has a habit for employing incendiary language. On December 13th, regarding the Gingrich/Romney battle, he proclaimed the "political shivs" are coming out.
A transcript of the January 12 segment, which aired at 7:06am EST, follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now to politics. Your voice, your vote and the battle for South Carolina. Primaries there usually get pretty nasty and with front-runner Mitt Romney hoping to end this fight early, all his rivals are trying to figure out how to launch their last, best shot. ABC's John Berman covering it all. And, John, Romney's early strategy, soar above it.
JOHN BERMAN: Yeah, soaring above armageddon. Because, George, that's what Newt Gingrich has called the South Carolina campaign, armageddon. Do or die for Newt Gingrich, Menacing, but for Mitt Romney it's not quite that dire and this morning, it's filled with some big smiles and some small frowns. Mitt Romney hit the ground in South Carolina overnight with some wild crowds and wide smiles.
MITT ROMNEY: It's so warm outside. This is different than New Hampshire, I gotta tell you.
BERMAN: It's not just the warm weather, but the warm welcome to his ever more scathing, anti-Obama message.
ROMNEY: I think you have to say this has been a failed presidency. I don't think he's tried to make it bad, he just didn't know what to do. He's in over his head.
BERMAN: Another reason to smile? His fat, bulging war chest. He raised $24 million last quarter and still has $19 million in the bank to unleash on his foes. But, with all the smiles, reason to frown? The constant attack on his work running an investment company that created, but also slashed jobs.
RICK PERRY: I understand the difference between venture capital and vulture capitalism.
BERMAN: More frowns? This video out today from some supporters of Newt Gingrich that lambastes Romney's big house, big money and the big cuts to some companies.
WOMAN: I feel that is the man that destroyed us.
BERMAN: Another video from Team Gingrich that goes there. Mocking the infamous episode where Romney strapped the family dog in a cage to the roof of the car.
ROMNEY: We loved the dog. It was where he was comfortable and we had five kids inside the car. My guess is he liked it better in his kennel than he would have liked it inside.
BERMAN: But, not all animals should make Mitt Romney frown, not with Newt's answer to the question, what is his favorite animal?
NEWT GINGRICH: Probably be an elephant.
PIERS MORGAN: An elephant, why?
GINGRICH: They have 105,000 muscles in their trunk.
BERMAN: Who knew? That could make anyone smile. All right. Just a few minutes ago, the President's campaign released its fund-raising totals for the last quarter. $68 million between the campaign and the DNC. It's a lot, but it's not epic. And in the whole picture, what's interesting is the President's campaign manager is trying to light a fire under supporters saying they need more money and not to believe the Republican claim that they'll raise $1 billion. Because, George, he says they won't.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Not a billion. But there's going to be an awful lot of money on both sides of the campaign. You see the candidates trying to calibrate their attacks. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin out there last night saying she pretty much doesn't want to see this fight end yet. She was on Sean Hannity, kind of giving Mitt's rivals a bit of encouragement.
BERMAN: You know, we talked about reasons for Mitt Romney to smile and frown. This might be cause for at least a small grimace, because Sarah Palin says conservatives have yet to coalesce around one candidate. She also says she wants to see proof from Mitt Romney of his claim that Bain Capital created 100,000 jobs. She wants to see proof of that. And what's more, she says she wants to see Mitt Romney release his full tax returns. And, George, these sound like Democratic arguments.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They are exactly the arguments Democrats have been making. Okay, John Berman, thanks very much.