George Stephanopoulos may no longer be a paid partisan activist, but he most certainly helps Democratic candidates and causes from his perch as an ostensibly objective journalist. Witness the interview the Good Morning America co-host had with Jimmy Kimmel on Monday’s edition of Kimmel’s eponymous late-night ABC program, which served to butter up former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, a likely 2016 presidential prospect.
Kimmel spent much of the interview peppering the This Week anchor with questions about his time working for President Clinton, including a question about the nation’s 42nd president “had ever brought” Stephanopoulos “to tears.” [See video below. For MP3 audio, click here]
After a commercial break, Kimmel guided the discussion towards the contrast between Stephanopoulos’s work in the White House and his work in the “somewhat casual setting” of network morning news television.
[Of course, as my colleague Scott Whitlock shows, Good Morning America is more content to focus on fluff than substance, particularly when it’s substance that makes President Obama’s administration look bad.]
The conversation quickly devolved into a discussion of Hillary Clinton’s potential as a 2016 presidential candidate, and the seemingly unrelated issue of her expected grandchild. They both agreed that “there’s an awful good shot” of her running, especially “when there’s a baby” to help positive press coverage along.
Both men made it clear her “popularity’s going to go through the roof when she becomes a grandma.” That’s possible, particularly if Stephanopoulos and the gang at GMA play their part by focusing on gauzy Grandma Hillary stories rather than stories of real substance.
A transcript of the relevant exchanges from the Kimmel interview follows:
Jimmy Kimmel Live
May 20, 2014
12:02 a.m. Eastern
JIMMY KIMMEL, host: Do you ever get into situations where the president yells at you?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, co-host ABC’s Good Morning America: Oh, yeah.
KIMMEL: Oh, really?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Definitely. You know. The storm passes too. But it's part of doing your job. If you're doing your job well you're going to get yelled at every once in a while.
KIMMEL: You actually get yelled at, huh?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah and he's kind of a big guy, so he'll bear down on you.
KIMMEL: Do you apologize, scurry out, promise never to do it again? Has he ever brought you to tears?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Uh, no. No. Close. Close.
KIMMEL: Really? Close? Wow.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, sure. You know, it's stressful times.
12:08 a.m. Eastern
JIMMY KIMMEL: So you started doing -- you start broadcasting in kind of a somewhat casual setting, but also a setting that requires knowledge, requires you to be very fast on your feet, requires you to talk about a number of different subjects.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Whatever comes up, yeah.
KIMMEL: I mean and it's funny. Like on Sundays, you’ll be talking, like this Sunday you were talking about Hillary Clinton.
STEPHANOPOULOS: A lot of Hillary this Sunday
KIMMEL: Whether she will -- and it's funny you asking these people what they think when you probably know more than any of them. I mean, you probably know–
STEPHANOPOULOS: I mean, no one knows for sure. I think she probably doesn't know for sure, if she's running, but it's really looking like there's an awful good shot.
KIMMEL: It seems --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah. Something would have to happen.
KIMMEL: Yeah. Something weird. And when the baby comes. You know what happens to a sitcom when there's a baby. I mean, her popularity's going to go through the roof when she becomes grandma.
STEPHANOPOULOS: A grandma. Absolutely.