The journalists at Good Morning America on Tuesday appeared shocked that a "sour" Rick Santorum dared to aggressively oppose a New York Times reporter, hyperventilating that the Republican presidential candidate has gone to "war against the media."
Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos insisted that the "wear and tear of a long, tough campaign" is beginning to show on Santorum. He piled on, "His Cinderella story has gone a bit sour." Reporter Berman, who often can't refuse using over-the-top language for his stories, began, "Well, cover your ears and hide the children. Dirty words have hit the presidential race." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He oddly insisted that Santorum is "battling the whispers that he's too angry to be president and taking his frustrations out on the media." What other examples are there of Santorum being "too angry" to be president?
Berman continued, "And now, his war against the media. Lashing out at a New York Times reporter who asked about that comment that Romney would be the worst Republican candidate."
Berman previously insisted that the "political shivs" are coming out in the GOP race.
The ABC journalist also referenced Howard Dean's famous scream as an example of a previous outburst. Yet, at the time, many journalists tried to explain away the "Dean Scream":
ABC's Claire Shipman described it only as "aggressively upbeat," and Charles Gibson helpfully summarized "he's still feisty, says he fights on." In his interview, Gibson didn't even ask Dean a question about his meltdown. CBS's Cynthia Bowers described it simply as "brusque." The toughest words interviewer Hannah Storm could muster for Dean were that some found it "decidedly unpresidential." Only NBC's Katie Couric directly hammered the growler: "You were quite fired up, quite passionate, but some people feared you might implode."
A partial transcript of the March 27 segment, which aired at 7:10am EDT, follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, to politics and Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, beginning to show the wear and tear of a long, tough campaign. His Cinderella story has gone a bit sour. And the frustration boiled over in an angry exchange where Santorum sweared [sic] at reporter. It's today's your voice with ABC's John Berman. Good morning, John.
ABC GRAPHIC: Santorum Sounds Off: Lashes Out at the Media
JOHN BERMAN: Well, cover your ears and hide the children. Dirty words have now hit the presidential race. You know, it's actually a potent political issue. Rick Santorum, battling the whispers that he's too angry to be president and taking his frustrations out on the media. Rick Santorum has his hands full. His battle against Mitt Romney-
RICK SANTORUM: He is the worst Republican, in the country, to put up against Barack Obama.
BERMAN: And now, his war against the media. Lashing out at a New York Times reporter who asked about that comment that Romney would be the worst Republican candidate.
SANTORUM: I've been saying it every speech. Quit distorting my words. If I see it, it's bull- [bleep ]. Come on, man. What are you doing?
BERMAN: Emotions are buzz-y if you're Angry Birds or Mad Men, but maybe not if you're a candidate for president. Take it from Howard Dean.
HOWARD DEAN: Yeaaah!
BERMAN: The Romney team has been mocking Santorum for his occasional burst of emotion, calling them not tantrums but tantorums.
MITT ROMNEY: When you fall further and further behind, you get a little more animated.
BERMAN: It's a clear effort to paint Santorum as desperate and hopeless. Even with a double-digit win in Louisiana, Santorum has just half as many delegates as Romney. Santorum was doing his best to spin this as positive.
SANTORUM: If you're a conservative and you haven't taken on a New York Times reporter, you're not worth your salt, as far as I'm concerned.
BERMAN: Indeed, George W. Bush once had this to say about a Times scribe.
GEORGE W. BUSH: There's Adam Clymer, major league [bleep] from the New York Times.
DICK CHENEY: Oh, yeah. He is. Big time.
BERMAN: Still, there's times Santorum seems to be trying to work back into the establishment fold, telling the Christian Broadcasting Network, he would agree to be Romney's running mate.
SANTORUM: I always say, this is the most important race in our country's history. So, I'm going to do everything I can. I mean, I'm doing everything I can.
BERMAN: Now, Santorum swears he likes Mitt Romney and that he hopes Romney will be able to help America in the future, as part of the Santorum administration. George?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that's a big hope for him, of course. But this guy's come an awful long way. Was nowhere for most of this year. The big question for him and his campaign seems to be, how does he end it in a way that preserves the gains he's made?
BERMAN: Well, first of all, they say he's in it to stay. But one date to keep in mind here, April 24th, the Pennsylvania primary, Rick Santorum's home state. He- With a win there, he could sort of vindicate his past. His last election there, 2006, he was blown out. He lost by 18 points. If he were to win there in the presidential primary, it could vindicate him for that loss. It won't be easy though, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: No, it will not. But it goes on at least until then. John Berman, thanks very much.