While interviewing the young Clinton staffers who suffered through a hostage situation in New Hampshire last week, "Good Morning America" co-anchor Chris Cuomo used an interview on Tuesday's program to gush over their zeal for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Almost unable to contain himself, the ABC journalist extolled, "They come out of this experience lucky to have their lives, more dedicated than ever to Senator Hillary Clinton."
Now, most Americans would freely admire the calm and collected manner in which Graham, Katherine and Morgan (GMA provided no last names) handled the obviously stressful situation of having to deal with a disturbed man claiming to have a bomb. However, some of Cuomo's comments seemed to go over the top. He approvingly explained to co-host Diane Sawyer, "They said they want to campaign harder then ever, because of this experience. If she wins, they should go right into the cabinet."
On Monday, GMA reporter David Kerley covered the subject and appeared to imply that the disturbed man, Leeland Eisenberg, committee his crime because he didn't have access to affordable health insurance.
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:31am on December 4, follows:
DIANE SAWYER: But first, we do want to tell you about the troubled man who allegedly held three workers host hostage at Hillary Clinton's campaign office in New Hampshire. He was arraigned on kidnapping charges on Monday. Prosecutors have described Leeland Eisenberg as a manipulative career criminal who is hiding behind phantom mental health issues. Well, this morning, the hostages are speaking out for the first time about the terrifying scene inside the office. And here's Chris with a GMA exclusive.
CHRIS CUOMO: Now, Diane, this situation could have gone very differently if there had been different hostages inside. These are a remarkable group of young people. And they told us in this exclusive interview about the grueling, hours-long ordeal with this obviously dangerous and unstable man. Take a look and a listen to Hillary Clinton staffers Graham, Katherine and Morgan. So, take me back to Friday afternoon. What was going on when Mr. Eisenberg walked in?
[NOTE: GMA provides no last names.]
KATHERINE: Well, the three of us were meeting to kind of go over what we were going to do for the day. We had a volunteer walk in. We stopped and were talking with her. And Lee walked in. I went to approach him and introduced myself. 'Cause we have people walk in all the time. And that's when he showed me what he said was a bomb and that's kind of how it all began.
CUOMO: What was he saying he wanted?
MORGAN: It was a very complex situation. But he was clearly there to seek attention from somebody who he thought could help him and he made it very clear that Senator Clinton is somebody that could do that and that's why he was there and wanted to speak with her.
CUOMO: As it went along, it was -- Morgan and Graham, you started to talk both to the police and to Mr. Eisenberg, right, like, trying to get this process going, trying to help any way you could?
MORGAN: Yeah, that's a lot of what we did when we were in there, is just serve as kind of mediator between the negotiator on the police end as well as Lee and what he wanted. And just to anticipate what he wanted and keep him calm.
CUOMO: What a bizarre situation. It's never like that in the movies, right? It's always the crazy person talking to the police. You don't usually have the hostages getting involved in their own negotiation.
GRAHAM: Yeah. We were very involved in that, in that dialogue.
CUOMO: At one point, he does release one of you, Katherine goes first. Why Katherine?
KATHERINE: I really don't know why it was me. I think, I was closest to the door. Just kind of pointed to me. I don't think it was anything specific. At least not to my knowledge.
CUOMO: Now, it's Morgan and Graham. What was it like when Katherine left?
MORGAN: It was definitely a shift, I think, in the term of events, knowing there was somebody out there who was now potentially in contact and in communication with authorities who could describe what was going on inside the room.
CUOMO: And how long was it until you were let go, Morgan?
MORGAN: To be completely honest, I have no idea in terms of time, I had lost all sense of time when I was in there, but it was several hours.
GRAHAM: You were the last one there, Graham. Was there anything that you said to Eisenberg that you think may have helped him come to the decision to surrender?
MORGAN: I don't believe I did -- I said anything to him to help him surrender. I think that once we were removed from the situation, once both Morgan had escaped and then after I was able to escape, he went through his own process that none of us will know what went through his mind at that time, but apparently he chose to surrender soon after I was able to escape.
CUOMO: Has this terrible experience changed your passion for campaigning, made it stronger. Where are you now?
MORGAN: If anything, we're just motivated by helping, to help people, even mo more so than we were already.
CUOMO: So in some way had a positive influence on you?
GRAHAM: We're really to do the same job we were doing prior to this incident. And we're doing everything we can to understand what happened and understand how we feel and we're just anxious to return to our sense of normalcy and to our jobs.
SAWYER: And --
CUOMO: I have to tell you, these are impressive young people. They come out of this experience lucky to have their lives, more dedicated than ever to Senator Hillary Clinton. They said they want to campaign harder then ever, because of this experience. If she wins, they should go right into the cabinet.
SAWYER [Laughs]: Yeah, you heard it here first, Chris.