Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday repeated Democratic talking points as he challenged Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. Speaking of Whitman's tenure as CEO of Ebay, he admitted the company was "very successful," but critiqued, "You made a fortune. But your opponent, Jerry Brown, says that government is a completely different world."
The former Democratic operative turned journalist later repeated the words of Whitman's opponent: "Jerry Brown also says that the heart of your economic platform, he says, is tax cuts that are going to benefit you but not do much for the state of California."
In what seemed like a second attempt to undermine Whitman's business credentials, Stephanopoulos asserted, "You know, you see all of the shenanigans on Wall Street. And there's just as much distrust of the business world today as there is of politicians."
On July 1, the GMA co-host interviewed another female Republican running in California. Stephanopoulos scolded senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina for opposing unemployment legislation: "And are you running for the wrong job? How do you create jobs in the Senate if you don't pass legislation?"
On June 10, World News' Diane Sawyer (a former Good Morning America co-host) interviewed Jerry Brown and parroted, "Jerry Brown told us today, he wants the country to know that he sees this as an epic duel in California between the politics of ideas and the power of money."
So, when one ABC journalist interviewed California's Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Brown's talking points were repeated. When another network host interviewed his opponent, Brown's talking points were repeated.
A transcript of the July 27 segment, which aired at 7:43am EDT, follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: This morning we continue our series of interviews of new faces on the political scene, candidates rewriting the political rule book who are sure to have a big impact in the years to come on our national scene. The race for California governor is one of the most closely-watched contests this year. And we're joined now by the Republican candidate, former CEO of Ebay, Meg Whitman. Thanks for joining us this morning.
MEG WHITMAN: Happy to be here.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, clearly, your tenure at Ebay, very successful tenure at Ebay is your biggest selling point coming into this race. You made a fortune. But your opponent, Jerry Brown, says that government is a completely different world. I want to read you what he said.
He says, "You just don't know if you haven't been in it. That's like someone who has never dove in a river and says, 'I know what swimming in a river is like.'" Your response?
WHITMAN: Well, interestingly, he said two or three years ago, he said, actually, experience didn't matter for the job of governor. But, what I will tell you is the number one issue in California is jobs and the economy. We have a 12.4 percent unemployment rate. That is 2.3 million Californians without a job. That's more population than 15 states.
So, knowing about what conditions are required for small businesses to grow and thrive, knowing how to balance a budget, bring people together, get things done.
You know, I've run a very large organization. I think that knowledge of jobs and the economy, is just what California needs.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, why should the public trust business leaders any more than politicians these days? You know, you see all of the shenanigans on Wall Street. And there's just as much distrust of the business world today as there is of politicians.
WHITMAN: Well, I would tell people to look at my Ebay experience. Because, of course, what Ebay became on the internet was the platform for small business. Hundreds of thousands of individuals made most, if not all of their living, selling on Ebay. So, I saw exactly what was required for small byssuses to grow and thrive. And if California is going to be led out of this recession, it's going to have to be led out by small businesses. 90 percent of businesses in California are small businesses. 80 percent Of Californians work for a small business.
And, you know, really, Ebay was the platform for average Californians and average Americans to build their own business and take control of their own destiny.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Jerry Brown also says that the heart of your economic platform, he says, is tax cuts that are going to benefit you but not do much for the state of California. You see a similar debate now on a national level. This whole debate, whether or not to let the Bush tax cuts expire this December. What's your position on this?
WHITMAN: Well, my number one focus is getting Californians back to work. And here's the plan for that: First is, a series of targeted tax cuts to get employers hiring in California. I'll give you a perfect example. Eliminate the factory tax in California. We're one of only three states that taxes manufacturers on the equipment they buy to manufacture in California.
If you're running a large manufacturing organization, that's one of the best reasons to go out of state or go overseas. Then, we have got to streamline organizations. We're strangling businesses of all sizes in California, with layer upon layer upon layer of regulation.
And we have to stand up and compete for jobs. We haven't had a great economic development team in California for many, many years. And we have a choice. We can put our head in the sand and say, the weather's great in California. That will be enough to keep businesses here.
Or we are going to have to compete. We can't let Northrop Grumman leave California. We can't let DaVita, the largest kidney dialysis firm leave California. So, it's a targeted set of tax cuts, as well as streamlining regulation and economic development that's going to put California back to work.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me go back to my question. Do you support extending the Bush tax cuts?
WHITMAN: I do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You've already spent, I think, $91 million on this campaign. How much more are you willing to spend?
WHITMAN: Well, what I've designed is a campaign that is designed to win. We have got a great team. We have a great internet site. We're on TV. We're reaching out to different groups in California.
Latinos, women, 18-year-olds to 29-year-olds, all to be part of this campaign. I want to have a big tent. I want everyone to be part of this campaign around jobs and fixing our K through 12 education system. So, we have got a plan. We're going to execute against that plan.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You win in November, you're automatically at the top of the Republican party. Not only in California, but the country. Ever thought about running for the White House?
WHITMAN: No. I am here to run California. I want to fix California. Where goes California, goes the country. California is probably among the sickest states in the country, with a high unemployment rate and infrastructure built for a population half our size.
Our K through 12 education system now ranked at the bottom of the barrel. And a $20 billion budget deficit over the next 12 months. So, I'm focused on turning around California.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Meg Whitman, thanks for your time this morning.