ABC's Jonathan Karl admitted "it's hard to take Trump seriously," yet he spent almost a minute of his report on Monday's Good Morning America playing up Donald Trump's possible 2016 candidacy amidst Trump's birther questions. He also hyped Hillary Clinton's potential candiacy.
In contrast Karl gave just 7 seconds to 2012 GOP candidate Rick Santorum, who appeared at the Iowa State Fair over the weekend and roused speculation of a 2016 run. Almost a whole minute of Karl's report focused on Trump. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
"Also there? None other than Donald Trump. Trying to sound a lot like a presidential candidate," Karl said of the Iowa State Fair. "But it's hard to take Trump seriously when he's still taking questions about President Obama's birth certificate."
"Hillary supporters were also in Iowa, laying the groundwork for what they hope will be an historic moment," Karl added before a clip played of Clinton supporter Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) hoping to say "Madame President" in 2017.
At the end of the segment, co-host Lara Spencer joined her, dreamily pondering aloud about saying "Madame President" in the future.
Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on August 12 on Good Morning America at 7:14 p.m. EDT:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn to politics now and the next presidential race heating up already.
[HEADLINE: Campaign 2016 Starts Early? Presidential hopefuls visit Iowa]
STEPHANOPOULOS: The key state of Iowa playing host to a collection of candidates this weekend more than three years before the next election. ABC's Jon Karl was there tracking it all first, and Jon, Iowa always gets early attention but nothing like this.
JONATHAN KARL: That's right, George. The President may be on vacation this week, but those thinking about trying to replace him are taking no rest.
KARL: (voice over) The Iowa State Fair. From cows made of butter to tractor pulls. It's a great artery-clogging tradition that never fails to attract presidential wanna-bes. Rick Santorum is already back. He won the Iowa Caucuses last time around.
RICK SANTORUM (R), former Pennsylvania senator: We're obviously excited to be here.
KARL: Also there? None other than Donald Trump. Trying to sound a lot like a presidential candidate.
DONALD TRUMP, real estate developer: I've always loved Iowa because the people of Iowa are hard-working people.
I'm a very conservative Republican.
I am pro-life.
Second Amendment a hundred percent.
KARL: Backstage, Trump told us there's no limit to how much he'd spend if he runs.
(On camera) A modern presidential campaign can be half a billion dollars more.
TRUMP: It can be. Or more. I'd be willing to spend –
KARL: That kind of money?
TRUMP: I'd spend whatever it took.
KARL: (voice over) But it's hard to take Trump seriously when he's still taking questions about President Obama's birth certificate.
(On camera) You don't still question that he was born in the United States, do you?
TRUMP: I have no idea.
KARL: (voice over) Trump told these conservatives he'd be very worried about Hillary Clinton.
TRUMP: I just said in front of a nice, large crowd of people in Iowa –
(Flashback) It's going to be, in my opinion, a tougher race than the last race.
You better get your act together, Republicans, because it's going to be tough to beat Hillary.
KARL: Hillary supporters were also in Iowa, laying the groundwork for what they hope will be an historic moment.
Sen. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-Mo.): That moment in 2017 when we all get to say "Madame President" to Hillary Rodham Clinton.
(End Video Clip)
KARL: And we learned of another high-profile political visit to Iowa coming up. None other than Vice President Joe Biden. He is going to be traveling to Iowa next month going to the very same political event that Barack Obama made his political debut in Iowa at in 2006 as a senator. George, the message from the Biden camp is for all the talk of Hillary, don't forget about Joe.
STEPHANOPOULOS: No question about it. They are going to be circling each other for a long time.
SPENCER: Madame President.