"Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts conducted a gushing interview with Hillary Clinton on Friday's show in which she essentially wondered if the Democrat plans on crying again. Roberts also blithely accepted the New York senator's claim to be focusing her campaign what can be done for America. She extolled, "I'm sure your tone will be well received this morning."
Overall, Roberts failed to challenge Clinton on pressing issues such as the economy or Iraq. Instead, after stating that the ex-first lady's campaign has been centered around experience, the GMA host offered this extraordinary softball: "Do you believe that your strategy of emphasizing your experience is paying off?" On the subject of the New York Times endorsing Clinton, Roberts seemed to accept the '08 contender's contention that she can "restore America and our leadership." To that comment, the ABC journalist replied, "And that's what you are saying was part of it. It was a ringing endorsement." But, Robert's query about Clinton's emotional state was the most over-the-top question:
ROBIN ROBERTS: It has been a grueling campaign thus far, another hard week. Turning point for you, one of the turning points in New Hampshire when you just really let your emotion, really come through. Have you felt that similar emotion since that time?
Roberts did reference a tough remark made by Mitt Romney during Thursday's GOP debate. The Republican candidate, to applause and cheers, stated that "the idea of Bill Clinton back in the White House with nothing to do is something I just can't imagine." But even this, failed to materialize into a combative question. After playing the clip, Roberts mildly offered, "We all remember when your husband ran, he said two for the price of one. Is that what is happening again here?" More indicative of the interview's tone was Robert's sympathetic close to the segment: "Well, Senator Clinton, I know it's another long day for you, a big day tomorrow."
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:05am on January 25, follows:
ROBIN ROBERTS: Now, to the next battleground in the race to '08. Tomorrow, voters go to the polls in South Carolina's hotly contested Democratic primary. Just moments ago, I talked to Senator Hillary Clinton about the looming showdown. Senator Clinton, thank you so much for joining us this morning. And you received good news overnight, receiving the endorsement of the New York Times. And they said, in part they endorsed you because they feel you are more qualified to be president. Do you believe that your strategy of emphasizing your experience is paying off?
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON: You know, the New York Times editorial endorsement is a great honor for me. But there was also a comment that was made in the editorial that I am very much in agreement with. And that is, that, you know, I want to set the tone for the kind of campaign we're having. I really want this to be about the future, about what is going to happen to the people watching us this morning, what's going to happen to our kids and, really, how we're going to restore America and our leadership here at home and around the world. And that's what I've been talking about, that's what I'm going to focus on for the next days and weeks of this campaign.
ROBERTS: And that's what you are saying was part of it. It was a ringing endorsement. But, part of it was asking you to step forward and to change the tone. They said, in part, "Bill Clinton's overheated comments are feeding those resentments and could do long-term damage to her candidacy if he continues this way. Do you believe that could happen?"
CLINTON: He, obviously, is a passionate advocate for my cause as are the wives of my two major opponents. But I think all of us just need to just take a deep breath here, because, obviously, we know we'll have a united Democratic Party once this nomination is determined. We'll go united into the fall election and take on whomever the Republicans decide to nominate. But I think for someone who has worked for 35 years starting out, you know, on behalf of children, and civil rights and human rights and women's rights, this election is both an extraordinary opportunity, and really a celebration of how far we've come as a nation. And it's also a great chance for each of us individually to represent our views, to draw the contrasts and comparisons that are totally fair, but to be really focused on the differences the Democrats will make, compared to what we've had for the last seven years. And I think that's what Americans want to hear about.
ROBERTS: I'm sure your tone will be well received this morning. Last night, the Republicans, of course, held their debate and your name came up repeatedly. In fact, it was, you were the only Democratic candidate's name that came up on more than on one occasion. And again, the suggestion that you and your husband are running as a team. I want to get your response to what Mitt Romney said when he was asked how he would run against you and the former president.
MITT ROMNEY: I frankly can't wait. Because the idea of Bill Clinton back in the White House with nothing to do is something I just can't imagine. I can't imagine the American people can imagine. I just think do we want to have a president, not a whole -- a team of husband and wife thinking they're going to run the country.
ROBERTS: We all remember when your husband ran, he said two for the price of one. Is that what is happening again here?
CLINTON: No. Obviously, just as then and now, I'm running. I am running to be the president. I will have responsibility for the decisions. But also, you know, bringing the country together in a way that sets goals and gives us the feeling that we're acting like Americans again. There's nothing we can't do together. Once we put our minds to it. And that kind of can-do spirit has really been missing the last seven years. I don't hear it from anybody on the Republican side. I hear a lot of more of the same, supporting the policies, that frankly haven't worked very well for our country. So I'm going to take a very different message into the general election if I'm so fortunate as to be the nominee and I'm looking forward to standing on the stage with any Republicans talking about what we can do together to solve our problems.
ROBERTS: It has been a grueling campaign thus far, another hard week. Turning point for you, one of the turning points in New Hampshire when you just really let your emotion, really come through. Have you felt that similar emotion since that time?
CLINTON: You know, I do, often. And it's usually in response to something that somebody says to me, some problem that they have, some, you know, great need for whatever it might be, health care, their home is being foreclosed on, or they, you know, are just overwhelmed by everything going on or they feel passionately about ending the war in Iraq. And, you know, they get emotion and of course that triggers emotions in me as well. I could just feel that everybody is so much holding their breath, and that is -- a responsibility I take very seriously. You know, I want people to know that I will get up every single day in the White House and think about them, think about their families. You know, really talk to the people who are watching us today about what we can do together. And that brings out a lot of emotion in me and I see it reflected in the people I talk to around the campaign trail.
ROBERTS: Well, Senator Clinton, I know it's another long day for you, a big day tomorrow. We certainly appreciate you getting up and joining us this morning. Thank you.
CLINTON: Thank you. It's great to talk to you.