ABC on Sunday aggressively pushed liberal talking points, hyping Barack Obama's call for Mitt Romney to release more tax documents. Over a span of just three minutes and 32 seconds, the anchor and reporters of World News played nine clips of people lobbying Mitt Romney to "show the American people" what's going on. Only one person, the candidate, appeared in a snippet to argue for the other side.
David Kerley played a montage of Democratic operatives Stephanie Cutter, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod. They berated Romney: "Show us. Show the American people....[Romney] can clear this up. Just make it public...We don't know all the loopholes he might have taken advantage of." Analyst Rick Klein gloated, "Mitt Romney's work at Bain was supposed to be his biggest strength. And the Obama campaign has made it into, perhaps, his biggest weakness." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
He then hinted at a winner: "President Obama has to like the fact that, instead of talking about the economy, he is making the focus of the campaign what year Mitt Romney left his job." Of course, since journalists are actively promoting and playing up the President's attacks, it's easy for them to proclaim a victor.
In addition to showcasing three clips of Democratic operatives, anchor David Muir included video of the President attacking Romney. Reporter Kerley highlighted clips of Republicans Bill Kristol and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.
ABC analyst Matt Dowd, who worked for both George W. Bush and Democrats, convicted Romney, speculating, "There's obviously something there, because if there was nothing there, he would say, have at it."
ABC continued this pattern on Monday's Good Morning America. That program used five clips attacking Romney and only one defending him.
A transcript of the July 15 segment can be found below:
DAVID MUIR: Back in this country, tonight, and to the race for president. It's "Your Voice, Your Vote." And last night here, we reported on the growing firestorm over when Republican Mitt Romney actually left Bain Capital. The Romney campaign says it was before he left to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics in 1999. The President's team asks, why then was he listed, then, as chief executive in tax filings years later? The Obama campaign pressing forward, now asking about Romney's taxes as well and here's David Kerley.
DAVID KERLEY: Other than the time he spent in church this morning, part of his New Hampshire lake house weekend, Mitt Romney must have heard the growing and loud calls to release his taxes from team Obama.
STEPHANIE CUTTER (Face the Nation): Show us. Show the American people.
MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (This Week): He can clear this up. Just make it public.
DAVID AXELROD (State of the Union) : We don't know all the loopholes he might have taken advantage of.
KERLEY: And now even Republicans.
BILL KRISTOL: He should release the tax returns tomorrow. It's crazy.
KERLEY: The Republican governor of Alabama only added fuel to the fire.
GOVERNOR ROBERT BENTLEY: The best thing to do is just get everything out in the open and, and just say, hey, I have nothing to hide.
KERLEY: Romney, who is worth a quarter billion dollars, did release his return for 2010, showing that some of his money is in offshore accounts. He says he'll release last year's return too. When Romney's father ran for president, he released a dozen years of returns. But again today, the Romney campaign repeated what the candidate told Diane Sawyer in April.
DIANE SAWYER: So if you have nothing to hide, why not release 12 years, as your father did?
MITT ROMNEY: I'm happy to release two years of records. And that's plenty for people to understand how I paid my taxes.
MATTHEW DOWD: It's arrogance.
KERLEY: Matthew Dowd, an ABC political analyst who has advised Republican presidential candidates, is not alone in thinking the Romney campaign may fear more damage in releasing returns than being fully transparent.
DOWD: There's obviously something there, because if there was nothing there, he would say, have at it.
KERLEY: The Romney team countered today that the candidate has complied with the law and gave no indication that he'll release more returns despite this growing chorus, including Republicans, that he do so. David?
MUIR: David Kerley in Washington, thanks. David, thank you. I want to bring in our senior Washington editor Rick Klein in Washington. Rick, great to have you, as always. And as we heard from David point out there, it's not just team Obama. It's now Republicans, too. But look at this quote. This is from the SEC filing itself. And it writes, right there, that Mitt Romney signed, that he is the "sole shareholder, sole director, chief executive officer and president of Bain Capital and thus is the controlling person of Bain Capital." That from May 2000 after he left wo work for the Salt Lake City Olympics. And so, the question is, how big of a hurdle will this be for the Romney campaign?
KLEIN: Well, Mitt Romney's work at Bain was supposed to be his biggest strength. And the Obama campaign has made it into, perhaps, his biggest weakness. Romney is responding now by calling on the President to apologize for these attacks, but they are clearly taking a toll, David.
MUIR: You mentioned calling for an apology about this heated rhetoric. Well, the President did respond to that in an interview with a local affiliate. Listen to this.
BARACK OBAMA: No, we won't be apologizing. And I don't, you know, sometimes these games are played during political campaigns. Understand what the issue is here: Mr. Romney claims that he's Mr. Fix-It for the economy because of the, his business experience. And so I think voters- entirely, legitimately want to know, well, what exactly was that business experience?
MUIR: You can really analyze, piece by piece these interviews. A hint of a smile there at the beginning from the President. So, who's winning, at least this argument right now?
KLEIN: President Obama has to like the fact that, instead of talking about the economy, he is made the focus of the campaign what year Mitt Romney left his job. And if Romney can withstand this onslaught and get himself back on track, he's going to be running an absolutely brilliant campaign. If he can't, he's losing control of his own identity in this campaign.