Why was ABC’s George Stephanopoulos smiling during his segment on Tuesday's Good Morning America? About ten minutes into the 7am half hour, following a report on Karl Rove’s optimistic outlook for the Republicans in the upcoming midterm election, and an interview with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Rahm Emanuel, Stephanopoulos grinned during this exchange with Diane Sawyer:
Diane Sawyer: "We just heard Rahm Emanuel say that the American public is going to turn over the tabletop for the Democrats. We also heard that Karl Rove is smiling. I think it's time to bring in ABC's chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos for a reality check this morning. Which way is it trending--"
George Stephanopoulos: "I'm smiling too, Diane."
It seems safe to assume Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton White House aide, was not smiling in agreement with Rove’s positive assessment of the GOP’s chances for maintaining their majorities in Congress. Perhaps Stephanopoulos' cheery disposition came from the good news he had to report for his Democratic friends and former colleagues:
Sawyer laughed before continuing her question to Stephanopoulos:
Sawyer: "Which way is it trending this morning, George?"
Stephanopoulos: "Well, the polls are pretty stable and they're still showing a pretty solid Democratic lead and Democrats are still predicting a wave and they're now playing in Republican states like Kentucky, Nebraska, Wyoming. On the other hand, and both Democrats and Republicans are agreeing to this right now, two of the scandal seats, the seat held by Tom DeLay in Texas and Mark Foley in Florida, now appear to be trending back to the Republicans, even though they had written those seats off before. So there's a lot of contradictory information out there."
Sawyer and Stephanopoulos then discussed what the "ideal" voter is for each party:
Sawyer: "Yeah, there is some shifting here at the last minute. As we know, each side is looking for a particular voter to carry them cross the finish line and we've been asking all morning, are you that voter, those of you watching out there, are you the voter they want the most? So start with the Democrats. Tell me that voter."
Stephanopoulos: "Here's the ideal, most loyal Democratic voter. She's a woman. She's single. She's African-American, lives in a city and, in the best case, belongs to a union. The Democrats are targeting these voters this year to get those voters out. They're putting a special emphasis on those who voted in the last presidential election, but sat out the last midterm election in 2002."
Sawyer: "So if you can get that voter, you can count on that being a loyal voter, in their view. The Republicans? The ideal voter, the most loyal voter for them?"
Stephanopoulos: "Mirror image. It's, it's a white man, married, lives in the country and goes to church every Sunday. These are the most loyal, conservative Republican voters. That's why you see President Bush and Vice President Cheney emphasizing issues like taxes, in the last few days, gay marriage and the war on terror."
It wasn’t all sunshine and smiles for Stephanopoulos, though, as he worried whether the swing voters, or the "married moms in the suburbs," who are trending towards the Democrats and "want a change" are going to turn out to the polls:
Sawyer: "Swing voter?"
Stephanopoulos: "Married moms in the suburbs. They've been called soccer moms, they've been called security moms. This year, the polls show that they're trending towards the Democrats. They want a change. But the big question with these swing voters always is, will they actually come out and vote in a midterm election?"