GMA Manages to Ignore Reason Richardson Dropped Commerce Secretary Nomination

In its opening half-hour, Good Morning America found time to tell us—twice—that Pres.-elect Obama choked up with emotion as he viewed his packed-up old home. But somehow ABC never got around to mentioning that a possible pay-to-play scheme was behind Bill Richardson's bye-bye as Commerce Secretary nominee.

After the show-opening roll in which the president elect was shown heading to DC, Robin Roberts literally bounced in her co-anchor's chair: "so excited, so excited, so excited . . . It's a new day, new year, new everything going on." Added Diane Sawyer helpfully: "And a president-elect." "Yes," concurred Robin, as if it wasn't clear that's what her excitement was really all about.

Then came the first mention of the Pres.-elect getting misty. Roberts: "He was home alone in Chicago. And one of Malia's friends came over and had a little scrapbook that he wanted delivered to his ten-year old, and he was flipping through it, and I would imagine, got a little choked up." When senior political correspondent Jake Tapper came on, he provided crucial additional details about the warm and fuzzy moment, complete with a clip of the president-elect recounting the story to reporters. But Tapper gave short shrift to the Richardson matter, and, appearing later, George Stephanopoulos was equally tight-lipped.

JAKE TAPPER: Arriving in Washington, Mr. Obama had to shake off his first setback, the withdrawal of Commerce Secretary nominee Richardson, and pushed forward with weightier matters.

Some wag might say it's hard to get weightier than Richardson, but Tapper never told us why the heavy-hitter withdrew. When George Stephanopoulos chatted with Sawyer a bit later, he was too refined to get into the grubby details. Here was the sum total of his discussion of the issue.

DIANE SAWYER: Tell us the latest, if you will, going back to Obama, on the withdrawal of Bill Richardson as Commerce Secretary nominee, and also what's going on now in Illinois with the governor and the senatorial nominee?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, the Obama team is asking question about how this, how they missed this in the vetting process. There's no question the questions about Richardson intensified as the grand jury kicked up in the month of December, but also as the problems of Governor Blagojevich took over the headlines. They are still--the Obama team and Governor Richardson--they are still hoping he might be able to come back into the administration, but they know this grand jury has to be cleared up first.

The Obama team is asking questions about how they missed "this"? Missed what? Neither Stephanopoulos nor any of the other ABC folks told us. Maybe they were worried it might have made the president-elect misty again.

Note: in contrast, kudos to Today for its coverage of the matter.

The show opened with l'affaire Richardson, and followed with reports from Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd that got into the details and discussed the political implications for the president-elect.

Update: I see that Jake Tapper gave a thorough report on the pay-to-play allegations on last night's World News. A shame the GMA folks didn't see fit to run a similar segment this morning.

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