According to Good Morning America's Jake Tapper on Friday, Mitt Romney is "Elmer Fudd" to Newt Gingrich's "Bugs Bunny." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] This remark came one day after the reporter made a vulgar joke that "Mitt happens."
Tapper made sure to note that Barack Obama is "incredibly vulnerable," but offered this gratuitous shot: "...But will Republican voters pick a nominee who can beat him? It's the latest sign [that] Mitt Romney is Elmer Fudd to Newt Gingrich's Bugs Bunny and it's wabbit season."
On Thursday, Tapper highlighted how Romney's 2012 run has (until now) been less combative than his '08 bid. The journalist joked, "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."
It almost seems as though Tapper is imitating and taking lessons in snark from his GMA colleague John Berman. (Berman's pieces often include head-scratching asides that attempt to double as humor.)
Tapper on Friday offered an analysis of Barack Obama not often seen in the mainstream media: "The rub here about all these warts is that Barack Obama is eminently beatable, with approval ratings hovering around 40 percent."
However, making a joke on the phrase "s*** happens" and comparing the GOP field to cartoon characters seems unnecessary and far too Berman-esque.
A transcript of the December 9 segment, which aired at 7:06am EST, follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now to politics. Your voice, your vote. And with one day to go before our ABC News presidential debate with the top Republican candidates. Mitt Romney's team has unleashed an all-out assault on front-runner Newt Gingrich.
So far, the former Speaker is holding his fire and top GOP strategist Karl Rove is standing by on weigh in on what to expect in the debate and what is working for each campaign. But, first, ABC's Jake Tapper joins us from the debate site in Des Moines with the latest. Good morning, Jake.
JAKE TAPPER: Good morning, George. It's t-minus one. Tomorrow night, the Republican candidates will square off at the stage behind me. A crucial debate at a momentous time. President Obama is incredibly vulnerable, but will Republican voters pick a nominee who can beat him? It's the latest sign Mitt Romney is Elmer Fudd to Newt Gingrich's Bugs Bunny and it's wabbit season. Romney takes aim at Gingrich in this new web video released this morning, targeting Gingrich for criticizing the Medicare plan of conservative icon, Congressman Paul Ryan. Romney's supporters a also in on the action. Here's Senator Jim Talent and former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu trashing Gingrich on this conference call with reporters.
JOHN SUNUNU: Self serving, anti-conservative.
SENATOR JIM TALENT: He's not reliable as a leader.
SUNUNU: Irrational behavior that you do not want in the commander in chief.
TAPPER: Then, there's this ad, which is still being produced from a Romney super pac, which has no official connection to the campaign but is funded by Romney supporters and staffed by former campaign staffers.
ROMNEY AD: Why? Newt has a ton of baggage. Like the fact that Gingrich was fined $300,000 for ethics violations.
TAPPER: Here in Iowa, there's also a mess going on below the radar. Radio Iowa reports one local pastor here sent around a Youtube link for this video screed from a Ron Paul supporter, assailing Gingrich's multiple marriages. Calling him-
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Newt Gingrich is the Kim Kardashian of the GOP.
TAPPER: Gingrich is, for now, turning the other cheek.
NEWT GINGRICH: I'm going to stay positive. I'm going to talk about how we solve the country's problems. And I have one opponent, Barack Obama.
TAPPER: The rub here about all these warts is that Barack Obama is eminently beatable, with approval ratings hovering around 40 percent.
MATT DOWD: You have a president that is as vulnerable as any president since Jimmy Carter, but there's no Ronald Reagan in the field.
TAPPER: That means some Republicans are frustrated and worried that Romney or Gingrich would make this race more competitive than it should be. And they are debating: Which of these very flawed candidates can beat this very unpopular president? And, George, the Gingrich campaign says this is just the very beginning of a campaign, of an onslaught of distortions. They say the voters are not interested in it. They want leadership.