Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Thursday interviewed liberal Congressman Dennis Kucinich and defended Barack Obama's left-wing achievements. Stephanopoulos touted, "Congressman, what more could the President have done? You've got this almost $800 billion stimulus bill. You've got a financial reform package." [MP3 audio here.]
The GMA host was trying to make peace between Obama and those who had been derided by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs as the "professional left."
The former Democratic operative turned journalist trumpeted, "[Obama] did something that...no Democratic president in 50 years has been able to do, lay the groundwork for universal, national health care. That is quite a legislative record, isn't it?"
This isn't the first time co-host has attempted to mediate a dispute between liberals. On March 13, 2010, Stephanopoulos lobbied wavering Democrat Bart Stupak to support the health care bill.
Using similar language, he cajoled, "What more do you need?" Stephanopoulos also pressed, "Did he say anything to change your mind that could move you from no to yes?"
A transcript of the August 12 segment, which aired at 7:08am EDT, follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: For more on this, let's go down to Washington. Congressman Dennis Kucinich called out there by Robert Gibbs, joins us this morning. He, of course, ran for president the last two around, I believe. So, Congressman, how did you take Mr. Gibbs' comments? An insult?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: No. I think that Mr. Gibbs and the White House needs to realize that liberals support the President, but there's still- the criticism is really a measure of the hopes that have not been realized. And I don't think they ought to take it in the manner in which Gibbs, and apparently, the rest of the White House does take the criticism.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman, what more could the President have done? You've got this almost $800 billion stimulus bill. You've got a financial reform package. He did something that no president in- no Democratic president in 50 years has been able to do, lay the groundwork for universal, national health care. That is quite a legislative record, isn't it?
KUCINICH: Well, you can't take away from the president his accomplishments, and I certainly don't. But, there is this factor at the beginning of yours news show, you demonstrated, the economy is in a deep trough. We're looking at a double dip recession. We have 9.5 percent of Americans out of work, over 15 million American has out of work.
You have the trade deficit which is the largest it's been in the last two years. We have to do something about the joblessness. It's a key issue. And until the administration effectively addresses that, then those of us who call ourselves liberals are going to continue to insist, look, we should be talking about a full employment economy. We should be talking about getting America back to work.
We shouldn't be capitulating to the Fed or Wall Street with this false notion that a certain amount of unemployment is necessary for the proper functioning of the economy. We have to get America back to work. That is the key and central issue to all of this.
And, in addition, if I might add, don't forget about getting out of Afghanistan and Iraq, because that also inevitably has a drag on the economy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I know those are all big- The President has been pushing, though, very hard for more job creations programs. But the votes just aren't there in the House and Senate, are they?
KUCINICH: Well, you know what, though? The kind of tremendous hope that America felt in January of 2009 with the election of Barack Obama, an election which I supported after the- they're still out there. People still want to believe that government has this transformational power.
And it does. But we need the leadership that can make it happen. Franklin Roosevelt recognized in 1933 that America needed not just a New Deal, but we will to put America back to work. Rebuild the economy, rebuild America. We still have the capacity to do that now.
And that's what I say, the criticism is about hopes that have not been realized and the intention to make sure they get realized while we have a President we do want to support.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Democratic governor Ed Rendell said the other day at that President is vulnerable to the primary challenge from the left. Are you considering on running again?
KUCINICH: No. And I think it's, you know, what we have to do is focus on coming together for the purpose of getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, the news is they want to slow down the movement out of Afghanistan. We have to focus on creating jobs.
And, you know, it's important who's president, yes. But it's also important that we as Democrats come together on mainstream economic ideas and try to paint as out of the mainstream, people who want a full-employment economy.
People who want peace, people who want to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. That's the mistake that Mr. Gibbs made. He's missing exactly what's happening out there across America.