Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Monday described the country's "gas gripes" over rising fuel costs, adding, "Soaring prices lead to new pain for the President as big oil gets ready to report record profits." (MP3 audio here.)
The former Democratic operative turned journalist tried to put the best spin on Barack Obama's growing problems: "And, Jake, these gas prices are also knocking down President Obama's poll numbers, which is why he's out there nearly every day addressing this problem."
Reporter Jake Tapper, on the other hand, provided a more balanced look, pointing out, "When President Obama was sworn in, gas averaged $1.84 a gallon. Today, it's $3.86. And as prices have spiked since January, the President's approval ratings have sunk."
[See video below.]
He even featured an angry motorist who complained, "Maybe President Obama could step down and let somebody else take over."
After noting that four in ten Americans say gas prices are causing an "extreme hardship" for them, Tapper informed, "And those Americans are much more apt to say they won't even consider voting for President Obama's reelection."
Tapper's segment is a change from Friday when the program didn't mention political problems as a result of rising fuel costs. (See a study by the Business and Media Institute's Julia Seymour for more on media coverage of Obama and gas prices.)
A transcript of the April 25 segment, which aired at 7:08am EDT, follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Gas gripes. Soaring prices lead to new pain for the President as big oil gets ready to report record profits.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Now to those climbing gas prices. They are taking a toll on so many of you and any anger you feel about it is likely to rise this week when oil companies report what are expected to be record profits. ExxonMobil is likely to rise 60 percent for a total of $10 billion. And Shell is up nearly 22 percent for a nearly six billion dollars in profit. Jake Tapper is at the White House for us this morning. And, Jake, these gas prices are also knocking down President Obama's poll numbers, which is why he's out there nearly every day addressing this problem.
ABC Graphic: Obama's Oil Backlash: Rising Prices Fueling Rising Anger
JAKE TAPPER: That's right, George. And in fact, just a few days ago, President Obama told campaign contributors, quote, "My poll numbers go up and down depending on the latest crisis. And right now, gas prices are weighing heavily on people." They are indeed and President Obama knows they could be a roadblock to his re-election. From California-
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Gas prices are bad. It's really hard to even afford to fill up my own car. It costs $100 bucks.
TAPPER: To Ohio-
SECOND UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Maybe President Obama could step down and let somebody else take over.
TAPPER: To Georgia-
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Something is going wrong. Someone is not doing their job right.
TAPPER: From Washington State-
THIRD UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It's $80 For 18 gallons of gas. It's awful.
TAPPER: To near Washington D.C.
SECOND UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It's getting outrageous. It really is.
TAPPER: When President Obama was sworn in, gas averaged $1.84 a gallon. Today, it's $3.86. And as prices have spiked since January, the President's approval ratings have sunk.
THIRD UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I don't know too much about politics or how to go about fixing things. But, I'm sure there's a lot that can be done.
TAPPER: 71 percent Of Americans say the rising price of gasoline is causing them financial hardship, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. President Obama says there is no quick fix. He's pushing for a long-term energy plan, reducing foreign imports by a third by 2025.
BARACK OBAMA: Whenever gas prices shoot up, like clock work, you see politicians racing to the cameras, waving three-point plans for $2 gas.
TAPPER: After all, what can a President do?
JOHN KINGSTON (Director of news, Platts): He can order up yet another silly, pointless investigation into the price of crude.
OBAMA: I asked my attorney general looking into any cases of price gouging.
GEORGE W. BUSH: There will be no price gouging at gas pumps in America.
KINGSTON: It never, ever turns up anything. The only thing it does is keep some lawyers busy.
TAPPER: And, George, four in 10 Americans are saying that gas prices are causing them not just an economic hardship, but a serious economic hardship. And those Americans are much more apt to say they won't even consider voting for President Obama's reelection. George?