ABC’s Good Morning America pitched a torrent of slobber Wednesday over President Biden’s 2023 State of the Union address, gushing over Biden as “fired up and fiery” offering “a message of hope” in “one of the best speeches” ever with the White House “riding high” against “raucous” Republicans who were “bitter”, childish, and “rude” in “jeering” Dear Leader.
Co-host and former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos set the tone from the first tease:
President Biden pitched unity in his State of the Union address, but Washington’s divisions on full display. Overnight, a fired up and fiery President Biden delivered his first State of the Union to a divided Congress...making the case the economy is back from the brink, calling on Congress to help...touting his bipartisan achievements and trading jabs with Republicans.
Stephanopoulos formally began ABC’s coverage by lamenting the evening was “unusually combative, the most rowdy House chamber in memory as Republicans booed and shouted liar”. At the same time, he gushed to senior White House correspondent and Biden spin doctor Mary Bruce that Biden “did not shy away from [the] fight.”
Bruce was cheery: “No, he certainly did not. And I can tell you this White House this morning is riding high. I am told there were cheers and high-fives here last night. They feel the President made a clear and compelling case for the progress made so far and the need to stay the course.”
Adding that Biden “ask[ed] Americans to trust him” that their lives are better (than they think right now and predict going forward), Bruce lamented the “raucous contention in the chamber” with “Republicans at points jeering and heckling at the President, even as he made the argument that it’s time they work together.”
Bruce framed Biden as the statesmen and not the taunter, saying he started “with a hand extended across the aisle” even though Republicans replied with “outbursts.” In response, she bragged that Biden “seiz[ed] the moment to turn the tables on Republicans trying to get them to commit” to protect entitlements.
Bruce wound down by saying Biden had “a message of hope” and delivered a speech hoping “to quell some of the concern even from his own party about a re-election run.”
Stephanopoulos then brought in senior congressional correspondent Rachel Scott and senior Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl to pooh-pooh “bitter and rude” Republicans as having created an “extremely contentious” atmosphere by playing “childish games.”
In contrast, Karl gushed that Biden gave “one of [his] best speeches...as President” and was unifying because he didn’t use his most invective rhetoric against the GOP (click “expand”):
STEPHANOPOULOS: Rachel, let me begin with you. I’ve never seen a chamber like that.
SCOTT: Yeah, George, and you said it yourself. It was a rowdy House chamber. At times, extremely contentious. I was sitting inside the chamber watching this all unfold as Republican members of Congress heckled the President of the United States. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy warned his conference earlier in the day that the mics are hot, that the cameras are rolling. He wanted this to be civil and respectful. He told reporters after that closed door meeting that his party would not be engaging in any childish games, but, of course, that all served as a very stark contrast to what we saw inside that House chamber, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Jon, the President had a balancing act, pleading for bipartisanship yet also showing he’s got a lot of fight in him. Did he do what he needed to do?
KARL: I really think he did. Look, this was a highly unusual State of the Union address. But this is one of the best speeches that Joe Biden has delivered as President. He came across as optimistic, hopeful. He seemed to be having a good time up there and even when he was delivering some of those harsh attacks on Republicans, he was doing it with a smile, not the name-calling he’s done in the past. There was no talk of MAGA, you know, extremist, ultra-MAGA Republicans and the reaction to the — from the Republicans, at least the back bench Republicans who were heckling him and jeering him, played exactly into his message. They made the contrast. He was able to for a moment anyway, George, portray the Republican opposition as a bunch of angry hecklers, people that — that were bitter and rude. You could see Kevin McCarthy obviously didn’t like the — the image. He was literally shushing Republicans in the chamber.
Karl also threw in barbs at Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R-AR) for delivering the Republican response, trashing her speech as “harshly negative, almost a bit of American carnage that we saw from Trump in his inaugural address.”
A few minutes after Stephanopoulos had a state-run news brief that Biden “made the case that the economy is back from the brink and called on Congress for help,” he interviewed Vice President Kamala Harris and lobbed one softball after another that allowed for elongated, open-ended answers (click “expand”):
That was quite a chamber last night. Your facial expressions gave some hint to what you were thinking in the response to President Biden. But what does it say about the prospects for bipartisanship?
The problems aren't just inside that chamber, though. The President also facing a skeptical public. The majority don't think they're better off since he took office and majority don't approve of the job he's doing.
The President did not make a specific reference last night to that Chinese spy balloon. Can the confrontation with China be contained?
The official Republican response last night from Governor Sanders of Arkansas — she said the choice before America right now is the choice between normal and crazy. Your reaction?
Governor Sanders also made a point about the generational gulf. She's 40. President Biden just turned 80. Looks like he's gearing up for re-election but a majority of Americans, according — a majority of Democrats, according to our new poll say they don't want President Biden to run again. What do you say to them?
In the 8:00 a.m. Eastern hour, Stephanopoulos and Bruce returned with a near-complete rehashing of their key talking points that bragged of “a fired up and fiery President” with Bruce hyping the “cheers and high-fives at the White House last night.”
To see the relevant ABC transcript from February 8, click here.