George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday's Good Morning America delighted over Barack Obama's "dramatic," "emotional" and "ambitious" speech. During live coverage of last night's Republican response, however, the former top Clinton aide lectured viewers that Marco Rubio's speech was "hard-edged."
On Wednesday, Stephanopoulos introduced a segment on the State of the Union by praising, "The speech was ambitious and aggressive on the economy, dramatic and emotional on the need to end gun violence." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Not once in the Jon Karl story that followed did anyone label the President's address liberal." Instead, Karl hyped that Obama "made it clear, he will resist efforts to cut Medicare and insist on more tax increases on the wealthy."
In contrast, a grim Stephanopoulos responded to Rubio's speech on Tuesday night by remarking, "Very high pressure situation and a very hard-edged speech from Senator Rubio."
The best Karl could do was to explain that Republicans found "little to like." He offered one sentence of complaint: "Speaker of the House John Boehner summed it up by saying that the President offered Americans, quote, 'little more than more of the same stimulus policies that have failed to fix our economy and put Americans back to work.'"
On Tuesday night, it was ABC analyst Matt Dowd who praised Obama's gun control efforts. He enthused, "The moment [the President] went into the gun control conversation was when it soared and that's what people are going to remember."
Dowd also compared the GOP's attitude to a recent animated movie about a video game character who destroys things: "I think the Republican response to that is, it's Wreck it Ralph, that their whole idea of his presidency is Wreck It Ralph."
For more on GMA's coverage on Wednesday, go here.
A transcript of the February 13 GMA segment and Stephanopoulos' February 12 reaction to Rubio can be found below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Battle lines. The president center stage with a challenging State of the Union, urging action on the economy and drawing the line on gun laws.
BARACK OBAMA: The families of Newtown deserve a vote.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Star Republican Marco Rubio responds this morning.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The President's big chance to lay out his second-term agenda. The speech was ambitious and aggressive on the economy, dramatic and emotional on the need to end gun violence. ABC's Jon. Karl was in the chamber last night.
OBAMA: Fellow Americans–
KARL: It was 52 minutes into the speech before the President first mentioned guns. Victims of gun violence stood up in the gallery as the President made his most forceful and emotional argument yet for Congress to at least allow a vote on new gun control measures.
OBAMA: Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek and Tucson and Blacksburg and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence, they deserve a simple vote.
KARL: His gun control plan faces a steep uphill climb in Congress. But the response shows why the President will continue to push for it.
OBAMA: They deserve a vote.
KARL: With a possible government shutdown looming in just over a month and with deep, automatic spending cuts taking effect in just a couple of weeks, the President warned Congress not to go to the brink again.
OBAMA: The greatest nation on earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next. We can't do it.
KARL: And he made it clear, he will resist efforts to cut Medicare and insist on more tax increases on the wealthy.
OBAMA: Why would we choose to make deeper cuts to education and Medicare, just to protect special interest tax breaks? How is that fair?
KARL: But perhaps the single biggest announcement on the speech came on Afghanistan. The President saying, he will withdraw some 34,000 troops, more than half of all those now deployed, from Afghanistan by this time next year.
OBAMA: This draw down will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.
KARL: Republicans found little to like in the President's speech. Speaker of the House John Boehner summed it up by saying that the President offered Americans, quote, "little more than more of the same stimulus policies that have failed to fix our economy and put Americans back to work." And so, George, the political battle lines are drawn.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks, Jon.
ABC Rubio's speech reaction
DIANE SAWYER: And there it is, the Republican response, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, in the spotlight tonight.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Very high pressure situation and a very hard-edged speech from Senator Rubio. The President gave his speech, saying he wanted to help middle class families. Signature line from Senator Rubio: "The tax increases and the deficit spending you propose, Mr. President, will hurt middle class families." The battle lines drawn tonight.