A new ad by Mitt Romney prompted Good Morning America's Jake Tapper to offer his version of a vulgar saying: "Mitt happens." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] The morning show on Thursday was full of snarky critiques with a graphic for a previous segment chiding, "Playing the Morals Card: Romney Goes After Gingrich."
Host George Stephanopoulos wondered if Romney's new commercial, highlighting his marriage and family, was a risk. Tapper quipped, "You know, in 2008, Romney was known for attacking his opponents. He has generally held back. But with the threat from Gingrich, here we have it: Mitt happens."
Certainly, Tapper isn't the first one to make this joke, playing off the "S*** happens" saying. But, it's odd to find it in an ABC News report.
The correspondent's segment was otherwise full of good information that primary voters would be interested in.
Regarding former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu's support for Mitt Romney, Tapper related, "[The Gingrich campaign says] Sununu doesn't like Gingrich because he opposed George H.W. Bush's deal to raise taxes in 1990. Why does the Romney campaign want to remind people that Gingrich led the charge against raising taxes? Does Mitt Romney support raising taxes?"
The previous segment by John Berman contained the journalist's usual snark. As he played video of Romney's autobiographical ad, Berman wryly explained, "Hint, hint. You know who hasn't been married to the same woman for 42 years? Twice-divorced Newt Gingrich."
Berman used the "hint, hint" refrain over and over.
He later added, "Hint, hint. You know who hasn't been in the same church his entire life? Newt Gingrich was raised a Lutheran, became a Southern Baptist and converted to Catholicism a few years ago."
A transcript of the December 8 Tapper segment can be found below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's bring in Jake Tapper for more analysis right now. And this is a big shift, Jake, for the Romney campaign. Up until now, they've been trying to downplay questions of faith because there were questions about his Mormon faith, as well. But, I take it they think the risk is worth it?
JAKE TAPPER: Absolutely. You know, in 2008, Romney was known for attacking his opponents. He has generally held back. But with the threat from Gingrich, here we have it: Mitt happens. And what we have here is Mitt Romney basically saying in this ad, "Yes, I'm a Mormon. But at least I'm not a philanderer, like Newt Gingrich."
As such, George, this has real risks. Of course, reminds Iowa conservative voters, many of whom are evangelical and do not approve of Mormonism, it reminds them of Romney's faith. But also, it does remind them of Gingrich's personal life, which is something that many of them view as having a whole record of immorality. So, what is the downside? Well, the Gingrich campaign, they say that this is Romney basically saying, my family is better than your family. They say, as long as Gingrich is honest about his past indiscretions, voters care a lot more about leadership and the economy. They say this will backfire, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we saw Chris Christie, of course, getting tough for Mitt Romney, as well, last night. And the Romney campaign will be rolling out more surrogates to take on Gingrich directly.
TAPPER: One of them could have been hand picked by Gingrich, to hear them tell it. Former White House chief of staff for George H.W. Bush, John Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire. He will be leading the charge this morning on a Romney conference call. He will be the designated pit bull against Newt Gingrich. But, listen, this is what the Gingrich people say. They say Sununu doesn't like Gingrich because he opposed George H.W. Bush's deal to raise taxes in 1990. Why does the Romney campaign want to remind people that Gingrich led the charge against raising taxes? Does Mitt Romney support raising taxes? They think this couldn't be a better surrogate to be attacking them.