George Stephanopoulos, who did his best in the '90s to extract Bill Clinton from charges of infidelity, on Friday continued his attacks on Herman Cain. Stephanopoulos appeared to convict the Republican presidential candidate, referring to the latest accuser as Cain's "girlfriend." Isn't that a sloppy, unproven term for a journalist to use?
Talking to Jake Tapper, Stephanopoulos opined that Cain's wife "didn't know anything about Ginger White, the girlfriend that we spoke to earlier this week." After playing a clip of Cain declaring his innocence, Stephanopoulos, who worked to undermine women such as Paula Jones, lectured, "And for his sake, Mrs. Cain better believe him because she made it pretty clear in an interview a couple weeks ago...that she would not be a political prop." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Wednesday, Stephanopoulos teased an interview with accuser Ginger White, wondering, "Will our interview spell the end of the one-time front-runner's presidential bid?
Co-anchor Robin Roberts gloated on Thursday that Cain is "under a lot of pressure right now, facing so many questions after George [Stephanopoulos'] interview, Wednesday, with a woman who says she was his mistress for more than a decade."
Stephanopoulos' eager tone is quite a contrast to the way journalists covered sexual scandals for liberal Democrats.
On January 21, 2001, ABC's Cokie Roberts lamented Jesse Jackson's infidelity: "Obviously this is something he is feeling shame about and should, but I do not want to have his voice silenced in public debate. I think he’s an important voice in public debate, and I think that having it now lose some authority is too bad."
Stephanopoulos showed no such mournful regret, wondering, "So, Jake, Cain will decide whether to stay in the race or not. But are the other campaigns even treating him as a factor right now?"
A transcript of Stephanopoulos' comments can be found below:
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GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Jake, stand by, because we also have some news from Herman Cain. Yesterday, he gave this interview to the Manchester Union Leader where he said, and this was a surprise, that his wife didn't know anything about Ginger White, the girlfriend that we spoke to earlier this week. Take a look.
HERMAN CAIN: My wife did not know about it. And that was the revelation and the surprise that my wife found out about it when she went public with it. My wife now knows. My wife and I have talked about it. And I have explained it to her. And, you know, my wife understands that I'm a soft-hearted, giving person.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And for his sake, Mrs. Cain better believe him because she made it pretty clear in an interview a couple weeks ago- take a look at this- that she would not be a political prop.
GLORIA CAIN: I will not be one of those people who will stand up on stage, with a smile, and knowing that you were wrong. I'm not going to do that. So, you know not to do anything wrong because you will be there by yourself.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, Jake, Cain will decide whether to stay in the race or not. But are the other campaigns even treating him as a factor right now?
JAKE TAPPER: No, they're but what was most interesting, I asked Speaker Gingrich about this. And he's had personal troubles in his past, as well. I said what advice would you give to Herman Cain? And he said he should stop and think carefully about what he owes to his family. And then, he at one point, Gingrich said that Cain was vice presidential material. I asked if that was still true. He said, "Well, look, I think he's a fine man. But he has some things he needs to work out." I thought that was fairly telling.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It was. Did not repeat it. Okay, Jake Tapper, thanks very much.