George Stephanopoulos Hedges on Hillary Scandal: 'This Is a Tough One'

Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos, a former Bill Clinton operative, appeared on Tuesday's Daily Show and hedged on the scandal engulfing Hillary Clinton and her family's charitable foundation. Prompted by Jon Stewart, the co-host minimized, "This is a tough one. Because when you actually look at, look closely at it, he [Peter Schweizer] even says there is no evidence of any direct action taken on behalf of the donors."

The best the journalist could do is allow that for governments and donors who give millions to the Clinton Foundation, "There is a hope that is going to lead to something." 

Stewart responded by attacking Clinton from the left: 

JON STEWART: So there is an industry around this. A book is written. The guy comes on your show.  He does a bunch of interviews. He does a bunch of interviews and they all talk about the scandal of these few millions of dollars and what it might have led to. In the same breath she announced "I am going to raise $2.5 billion dollars" and everybody was like, "She is serious." Now, what does that money buy? 

Stephanopoulos also chided the White House Correspondents Dinner for getting out of hand, saying, "Listen, I go. I have been going for years and years and years. But I think so much of what people see when they are watching five hours is exactly what they hate about Washington." 

If Americans "hate" the media's self obsession over the dinner, Stephanopoulos's own show is guilty. On Sunday, Good Morning America journalists excitedly recapped: 

DAN HARRIS: And DC Comics. Hollywood comes to Washington for the White House correspondents' dinner....The hilarious highlights this morning.

...

PAULA FARIS: And turning gears now, some call it the Oscars of Washington. Others refer to it as the nerd prom and last night's big bash had Hollywood stars and starlets hobnobbing with DC heavyweights at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. Political punch lines, they were flying.


 A partial transcript of the April 28 Daily Show segment: 

JON STEWART: When they were doing that full, like, red-carpet thing on the White House correspondence dinner --

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: That's crazy. 

 STEWART: – But they were reading – they were reading Twitter like, "We are looking on Twitter and they are telling us to [bleep] off. And to not cover this and to do something different. Anyway –"  

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's my point about the obsession with the White House – Listen, I go. I have been going for years and years and years. But I think so much of what people see when they are watching five hours is exactly what they hate about Washington. 

STEWART: I think that's right. 

...

    
STEWART: Hillary Clinton has this whole scandal now about some -- are you familiar with the Clintons? Hillary Clinton. They are a couple from Arkansas. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah.. They have been around a long time. 

STEWART: I can't recall. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Cute grand kid. 

STEWART: Cute grand kid. Foreign donors that might have given to the Clinton Global Initiative and there might have been favors done at the State Department and it is done to the tune of some millions of dollars. 

STEPHANOPOULOS; Yeah, you know, I read the book that this is based on Clinton Cash and I actually interviewed the author on Sunday. This is a tough one. Because when you actually look at, look closely at it, he even says there is no evidence of any direct action taken on behalf of the donors. 

STEWART: Right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But everybody also knows when those donors give that money, President Clinton or someone, they get a picture with him, there is a hope that is going to lead to something. 

STEWART: Of course. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that's what you have to be careful of. 

STEWART: My point is though – So there is an industry around this. A book is written. The guy comes on your show.  He does a bunch of interviews. He does a bunch of interviews and they all talk about the scandal of these few millions of dollars and what it might have led to. In the same breath she announced "I am going to raise $2.5 billion dollars" and everybody was like, "She is serious." Now, what does that money buy? 

STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you think people are getting for that money? Absolutely. 

STEWART: So I don't understand this idea. The entire system appears to be shrouded in that type of quid pro quo or the appearance. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Even if you don't get any action, what you get is access and you get the influence that comes with access and that got has to shape the thinking of politicians. 

STEWART: Right. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think that is what's so pernicious about it. 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.