George Stephanopoulos Doubles-Down on ABC’s Promotion of Elizabeth Warren

Following a glowing profile of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, sat down with the liberal senator on the Sunday April 27th This Week with George Stephanopoulos and heaped praise on his guest.

The ABC host hyped how Warren’s book was “The first step about having ideas drive the agenda right now in Washington now and in the future. How do you build on it?

As the interview continued, Stephanopoulos pushed Warren from the left and asked the Massachusetts senator “You described some pretty intense encounters with President Obama and his team, including Larry Summers, the former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Has he fallen short in your estimation?” and “As you know the critics say the agency [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] hasn’t done all that much. One criminal prosecution."

The ABC host then lamented over Warren’s hesitations over Hillary Clinton’s support from the banking industry and fretted that “Do you think that, are you worried that somehow she will bow to big business?…Would they roll over Hillary Clinton?…Do you think Hillary Clinton will push back on that as well?

The segment concluded with Stephanopoulos hyping how “it might surprise a lot of your supporters to know that you were a registered Republican as recently as 1996.—1994 in Pennsylvania. That’s what I read. I was just wondering what drew you to the GOP and why did you leave?

Warren responded that:

I was originally an independent. I was with the GOP for while because I really thought that it was a party that was principled in its conservative approach to economics and to markets. And i feel like the GOP party left that. That they moved that said no it's not about a level playing field its now about a field that's gotten tilted. And they really stood up for the big financial institutions when the big financial institutions are just hammering middle-class American families. You know, i just feel like that's a party that moved way, way away.

A real reporter would have pushed back at Warren’s attack on the GOP by pointing out that a lot of conservatives believe that the GOP supports government helping big business but doesn’t run off and join the Democratic Party or go work for President Obama to promote new government regulations.

See relevant transcript below.


ABC

This Week with George Stephanopoulos

April 27, 2014

10:21 a.m. Eastern

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS; And Senator Warren joins us now. So senator, this book “A Fighting Chance.” The first step about having ideas drive the agenda right now in Washington now and in the future. How do you build on it?

ELIZABETH WARREN: Well, the basic message in the book is one about how it is we create a fighting chance. We’ve done this before. But what’s happening now is, that we’ve got a Washington that works for those who can hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers. Their voices get heard in Washington and the rules get tilted in their favor. Working families, not so much. And all we’ve got on our side really is our voices and our votes.  This is about how to level the playing field.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You described some pretty intense encounters with President Obama and his team, including Larry Summers, the former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Has he fallen short in your estimation?

WARREN: Who?

STEPHANOPOULOS: President Obama.

WARREN: Look, I made no secret out of my differences with the administration and how they have treated the large financial institutions. But at the same time, as I talk about extensively in the book, I fought for a consumer agency that would keep people from getting cheated on credit cards and mortgages. If we hadn’t had President Obama in The White House who stood up strong for that agency, who fought for that agency, we never would have gotten that into law. I think that’s powerfully important.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know the critics say the agency hasn’t done all that much. One criminal prosecution.

WARREN: Wow, really? That’s not what I’ve heard from the critics. The critics I’ve heard about are really worried about what the agency is doing. And that is, that little agency has just been in place for a couple of years. It has already forced the larges financial institutions to return more than $3 billion to customers whom they cheated. I think that’s an agency that’s up, that’s feisty and that’s going.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You have been pretty clear, and we showed it in Jeff Zeleny’s piece. You say you’re not running for president in 2016. It seems like you affirmed it again. You also signed a letter, several senators signed a letter earlier this year urging Hillary Clinton to run. So is she your candidate in 2016?

WARREN: You know all of the women, Democratic women I should say, of the Senate, urged Hillary Clinton to run and I hope she does. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: You hope she does, and if she does she is your candidate? You’d endorse her?

WARREN: Hillary is terrific.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, you’ve said she’s terrific many times. You say that again in this book, “A Fighting Chance.” But this book leaves out a pointed criticism from your earlier book “The Two Income Trap.” There you praised First Lady Hillary Clinton for her opposition to this bankruptcy bill pushed by the big banks. But go on to talk about how she “As New York’s senator seemed she could not afford that principled position. Senator Clinton received $140,000 in campaign contributions from banking industry executives in a single year. Big banks were not a part of Senator Clinton’s constituency. She wanted their support, and they wanted hers-including a vote in favor of ‘that awful bill’,” So do you think that, are you worried that somehow she will bow to big business? Those were your words in that book, if she becomes president?

WARREN: Look I’ve made it clear all the way through this book and really what I’ve been working on for the last 25 years, that I’m worried a lot about power in the financial services industry and I’m worried about the fact that basically, starting in the ‘80s, you know, the cops were taken off the beat in financial services. These guys were allowed to just paint a bull’s eye on the backside of American families. They loaded up on risk. They crashed the economy. They got bailed out. And what bothers me now, they still strut around Washington, they block regulations that they don’t want, they roll over agencies whenever they can.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Would they roll over Hillary Clinton? 

WARREN: Well, they break the law and still don’t end up being held accountable for it and going to jail. One of the things that I focus on really hard throughout this book is that that’s one of the prime examples of how the playing field is titled and we’ve to push back against it. It’s a central issue for me. It’s something I’m going to keep talking about.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think Hillary Clinton will push back on that as well?

WARREN: Well, I’m going to keep talking about this issue and I’m going to keep pushing on this issue.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Winning over Democrats though is only half the battle. How do you build a coalition with Republicans? Are there, for example, Republican Senators right now you can work with on these issues?

WARREN: Not only that I can work with, that I am working with. My partner on a new Glass-Steagall bill. Something to separate so that banking is boring and risk-taking takes place on Wall Street not with your savings account and your checking account. A new Glass-Steagall bill, I have one in place, a bill with John McCain., with Angus King an Independent from Maine, Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington. We’ve pulled together a very strong, tough bill that stands up to the financial service industry. We’re working on that and we’ll keep working on that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Final question, it might surprise a lot of your supporters to know that you were a registered Republican as recently as 1996.—1994 in Pennsylvania. That’s what I read. I was just wondering what drew you to the GOP and why did you leave?

WARREN: I was originally an independent. I was with the GOP for while because I really thought that it was a party that was principled in its conservative approach to economics and to markets. And i feel like the GOP party left that. That they moved that said no it's not about a level playing field its now about a field that's gotten tilted. And they really stood up for the big financial institutions when the big financial institutions are just hammering middle-class American families. You know, i just feel like that's a party that moved way, way away.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Warren thanks very much for your time this morning. The book is called “A Fighting Chance.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.