A new book alleging sexism, dissension and incompetence inside the Obama White House has, thus far, only gotten major coverage on one network, ABC. Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Monday proclaimed that the "bombshell book" is sending "shock waves through the White House."
The morning shows on NBC and CBS skipped the allegations in Ron Suskind's "Confidence Men." However, on the September 19 GMA, Jake Tapper provided a full breakdown of the allegations, explaining, "Damning details about the Obama White House fill the pages of 'Confidence Men.'"
He recounted, "Behind the artifice of White House photo-ops, aides fight ferociously. In one showdown over a proposed Tax where Budget director Peter Orszag wrote a memo without going to Summers first, Summers yells 'What you've done is immoral!'"
Tapper highlighted "one of the stronger charges" in the book:
JAKE TAPPER: Former economic adviser Christy Romer is quoted as saying, "I felt like a piece of meat after Summers intentionally excluded her from a meeting, though she now denies saying that. Former communications director Anita Dunn is quoted saying, "This place would be in court for a hostile workplace because it actually fit all the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women."
On another allegation, Tapper added, "Now, George, the most explosive charge in the book is that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner refused to carry out an order by President Obama to prepare for the dissolution of one of America's biggest bank."
In total, ABC has covered the story three times, both on Sunday and Monday's GMA and, briefly, on This Week.
There, anchor Christiane Amanpour referred to "Confidence Men" as the "gossip at the moment." She asked historian Michael Beschloss one question on the topic.
NBC's Today and Early Show have yet to report on the story (over the weekend or on Monday). It's also been overlooked on Meet the Press and Face the Nation.
"Confidence Men" seems like a a tell-all attack that would be very popular-- if only it were on George W. Bush.
A transcript of the September 19 segment can be found below:
Story Continues Below Ad ↓
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Tough sell. The President's new plan to tax the rich and take trillions off the deficit as a bombshell book sends shock waves through the White House. Will the harsh allegations handicap Obama's big push to fix the economy?
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to go to Washington, D.C. now where later this morning, President Obama will roll out his plan to reduce the deficit. He will propose more than $2 trillion in new savings of the next decade, including a plan to make sure that millionaires and billionaires pay as least much taxes as middle class Americans. But all this comes as the White house has been shaken by a new book tells some surprising stories of life behind the scenes in the West Wing. And ABC's Jake Tapper joins us with more on that. And, Jake, it's sure hard to imagine worse timing for the White House.
ABC GRAPHIC: Obama's Millionaire Tax: New Plan Overshadowed by Book
JAKE TAPPER: That's right. President Obama wants the focus today to be on his plan for deficit reduction. More than $2 trillion over the next ten years. But White House officials have spent so much time over the weekend responding to charges in this book which paints a picture of a White House plagued by infighting, sexism and a President who gets rolled by his own advisers. Damning details about the Obama White House fill the pages of Confidence Men. Former top economic advisor Larry Summers tells another top aide, "We're home alone, there's no adult in charge. Clinton would never have made these mistakes." Senior adviser Peter Rouse writes a memo criticizing how the economic team tries to re-litigate the overall policy even after the President makes a decision, forcing reconsideration of the details until the very last moment and even then implementation by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is slow and uneven.
BARACK OBAMA: Please everybody have a seat on this beautiful morning.
TAPPER: Behind the artifice of White House photo-ops, aides fight ferociously. In one showdown over a proposed Tax where Budget director Peter Orszag wrote a memo without going to Summers first, Summers yells "What you've done is immoral!" Some former aides say the book does not ring true.
JARED BERNSTEIN (Former economic advisor to Obama): You put a bunch of economists in a room, you know, we're going to argue and we're going to squabble, substantively. And we did a lot of that. But, at the end of the day, we typically came up with a unified recommendation for the chief.
TAPPER: One of the stronger charges in the book is one we covered two years ago that the President dismissed at the time, whether women in the White House felt like they were shut out of a boys club atmosphere.
OBAMA: You know, I got to say this, I think this is bunk.
TAPPER: Former economic adviser Christy Romer is quoted as saying, "I felt like a piece of meat after Summers intentionally excluded her from a meeting, though she now denies saying that. Former communications director Anita Dunn is quoted saying, "This place would be in court for a hostile workplace because it actually fit all the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women." Dunn now underline that she does not actually think the White House is hostile. But, she's one of several women described in the book as expressing concerns to the President about how women are excluded. Now, George, the most explosive charge in the book is that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner refused to carry out an order by President Obama to prepare for the dissolution of one of America's biggest bank. But senior administration officials say that the author, Ron Suskind, misunderstood what was actually going on or misconstrued it purposely because he wanted to prove the thesis of his book, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: All right. They say he just got it wrong. Let's talk about the President's new plan out today. You know, the Republican leaders in Congress made it pretty clear yesterday that the ideas are going nowhere. But The White House is betting that the ideas will work for them in the campaign.
[ABC GRAPHICS during Tapper: President Obama's Plan: more Than $2 Trillion in Deficit Reduction
SECOND GRAPHIC APPEARS: Buffett Rule to make Sure Millionaires Paying Same Rate as Everyone Else
THIRD GRAPHIC: Medicare: Specific Cuts to Benefits- More Costs for Higher Income Seniors]
TAPPER: That's right, George. Here's the basic plan: President Obama is proposing more than $2 trillion in new deficit reduction spending. This includes $1.5 trillion over the next ten years in new taxes, including the so-called Buffett rule, which includes a new tax to make sure millionaires pay the same tax rate as middle class Americans. He's also proposing and something that's going to anger his liberal base, cuts to Medicare, to means test Medicare, so that wealthier seniors have to pay more or, if they don't pay more, their benefits go down. George?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Right. But, no raising of the retirement age. Okay, Jake Tapper, thanks, very much.