Robin Roberts, the co-host of Good Morning America, is a favorite pick of top Democrats to host fawning, content-free interviews and panel discussions. On Tuesday's GMA, she showcased an exclusive one-on-one interview with Michelle Obama. As though she were reading talking points, the journalist touted, "Now, to the big all-day White House summit on working families. President Obama making a strong pitch for guaranteed paid maternity leave." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
An on-screen graphic promoted the event (which originally aired on C-SPAN) as a "presidential push for working moms." Roberts's questions, such as they were, offered no challenges for the First Lady: "Women are going into the workforce...Is that part of the movement in letting everybody know that it is an issue for everyone in the family?" The host reminded attendees at the Washington D.C. event that Mrs. Obama is a "strong woman, a strong mother, a strong wife."
Instead of pressing the First Lady on any number of controversies swirling around the administration (the IRS scandal, the Veterans Affairs controversy), Roberts wondered, "There are many people wondering what's your next act?...Will it be political?"
On May 8, 2014, Roberts did the same thing with Hillary Clinton. At an event, the co-host lamely offered this about an Obama scandal: "Benghazi. The new investigation. Are you satisfied with the answers and are you content with what you know what [sic] happened?"
On March 27, 2007, during her presidential bid, Roberts hosted a "town hall" event for Clinton in which the Democrat was allowed to talk for 26 minutes.
[Thanks to MRC intern Laura Flint for the transcript.]
A transcript of the July 24, 2014 segment is below:
ABC transcript: Presidential Push for Working Moms: Robin One-on-One With Michelle Obama
ROBIN ROBERTS: Now, to the big all-day White House summit on working families. President Obama making a strong pitch for guaranteed paid maternity leave. And I had a chance to talk to the first lady about that and other important issues facing millions of Americans. Monday afternoon, President Obama giving the keynote address at the summit, urging a big change in workplace policy.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: There's only one developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave. And that is us. And that's not the list you want to be on by your lonesome.
ROBERTS: Just hours later, I spoke with First Lady Michelle Obama. The landscape is changing. Women are going into the workforce. There are more stay-at-home dads. Is that part of the movement in letting everybody know that it is an issue for everyone in the family?
MICHELLE OBAMA: Absolutely. Men, you know, understand that you need that time, too, you know, because that time he spent getting up, taking the late night shift, not only did it save me, but he connected with our girls in a way that I still see. You know, so, this is about strengthening the whole family.
ROBERTS: One thing that really touched a lot of people is when he said, yes, you are a strong woman, a strong mother, a strong wife. But that early in the marriage, to see you break down in tears--
M. OBAMA: Mhmm.
ROBERTS: Because you were trying to juggle so much.
M. OBAMA: I mean, the minute those kids come into the world, they just rip your heart out of your chest. Our first job is to make sure that our kids are on-point. Employers have to know that family life isn't right, you know, if there's a worry, you know, if you don't think you're leaving your child in good care, if they're not healthy and whole and happy, you're going to bring that worry to work.
ROBERTS: Another hot topic was minimum wage and equal pay.
M. OBAMA: Studies are showing that having a fair wage, having decent family leave policies in the life, creating a flexible environment, that, that improves the bottom line for companies.
ROBERTS: You have said that you and your husband would like your daughters to get a minimum wage job. To build character and to understand what it's like. What kind of job would you like, when you say that?
M. OBAMA: It really doesn't matter what it is. I think the whole point is that they learn how to roll up their sleeves and work hard and understand. There are people who get up every day for their entire lives and go to a job that's not fun. And they do it to put food on the table.
ROBERTS: When you leave Washington, let’s see, Malia will be in college.
M. OBAMA I know.
ROBERTS: Sasha will be in high school. There are many people wondering what's your next act?
M. OBAMA: Me?
ROBERTS: Will it be political? Yes, you.
M. OBAMA: No, it will not be political. Yeah. No, it definitely will not be. It will be, it will be mission-based. It will be service-focused.
ROBERTS: We even talked about the idea of a woman being president. Do you foresee that happening? And should that and when should that happen?
M. OBAMA: That should happen as soon as possible. The person who should do the job is the person who is the most qualified. And I think we, we have some options, don't we?
ROBERTS: And she left it at that, with those options.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Very clear it's not going to be her.
ROBERTS: No, no, no, when they leave Washington in a couple years. But it was an all-day summit. The president spoke. Vice President Biden and his wife spoke. And it was just, had community leaders, industry leaders. And just really trying to fix this problem that many people have about that balance and finding that way to, to make it for all families.
MICHAEL STRAHAN: That was a great job by you, by the way.
AMY ROBACH: Yeah I mean, it was such a great honest and frank discussion.
ROBERTS: Oh, you should see what we left on the cutting room floor. But it was a live stream so it was good everybody could participate.