Good Morning America’s Bianna Golodryga conducted a fawning interview with Bill Clinton on Monday and fretted that Barack Obama is “giving in too much to Republican demands” on the 2011 budget.
The ABC journalist offered the former President, the ex-boss of GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos, no tough questions. Instead, she chose broad, softball queries about the Clinton Global Initiative. At one point, Golodryga, who is married to Barack Obama’s former budget director, fawned, “We also saw your daughter moderate a panel yesterday. What was she talking about?”
The reporter also pushed Clinton as to whether Obama should “take on those who question where he was born.” She challenged, “I mean, do you think at this point, do you think the President should just say, ‘You know what? I'm sick of taking the high road’ and just either fight back or handle this once and for all?”
GMA has repeatedly tried to tie the Republican Party in general to the birther movement. On March 17, Stephanopoulos highlighted comments by Donald Trump.
On February 17, 2011, he badgered Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to declare the President a Christian and a citizen: “You know, a sizable number of GOP primary voters are questioning President Obama's faith and citizenship. Can you just state very clearly that President Obama is a Christian and he is a citizen of the United States?"
A transcript of the April 14 segment, which aired at 7:13am EDT, follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now to an exclusive interview with the last Democrat who won a second term as president. Bianna Golodryga got a chance to speak with President Bill Clinton in San Diego where he was holding the latest meeting of his Clinton Global Initiative for college students. But, Bianna began with the crisis in Libya. She began with the crisis in Libya, asking President Clinton to respond to those that say what happens there is not a core concern of the United States.
BILL CLINTON: I take a broader view of our national interests. I think we're trying to build a world in which people resolve their differences in nonviolent ways and we're trying to build a world with no ruler can cavalierly kill its unarmed civilians. And I think that for the United States to be on the side of this freedom movement without implying that we have either the interest or the capacity to send armed forces on the ground and to do everything is a good thing. I think the fact that we have greater capacity with missiles to take out the airfields and air defense systems that we did early in the action compels us to act-
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: Should we be arming the rebels now? It's an issue that's come up. It’s an approaching stalemate. We don't know who these people really are. Friend or foe?
CLINTON: It would depend. I might need to know a little more. But, I would be inclined to do it. I sure wouldn't shut the door to it. Ever since Hillary became the secretary of state, I go out of my way not to get security briefings that former presidents can get. I want people to know I’m speaking without any official sanction. I’m just speaking for myself.
GOLODRYGA: We spoke to President Clinton at the San Diego food bank where college students came to participate in service projects as part of the annual CGI University meeting.
CLINTON: Their ideas in energy are in infectious. We're trying to take the best of them and maybe get some of our more well heeled Clinton Global Initiative members to take their ideas across the world.
GOLODRYGA: We also saw your daughter moderate a panel yesterday. What was she talking about?
CLINTON: She was moderating the panel on college affordability. She wanted to moderate and wanted to know, number one are we maximizing what is there for students? Because in the last decade, when these costs wept up, we continued to be first in the world in the percentage of our young people going to college. But, we fell all the way to 12th in the percentage of young adults, 24 to 35 with four-year degrees. And that's a really troubling thing for America’s long term economic prospects.
GOLODRYGA: Obviously, the economy is the number one topic still on Americans’ mind. But, that’s going to be your next big venture. Focusing on jobs, specifically in America. What can we expect to see out of that?
CLINTON: I hope that we will see a whole spate of ideas and commitments about what can be done now. Not “oh, if only the Congress and the President would do this.” What can we be doing now to speed up the creation of jobs? We need to be growing at about 225,000, 250,000 jobs a month for a couple of years. We have the capacity. We should be retrofitting, for energy efficiency, for every state, county, and local government building. If you put a whole bunch of people to work, you’re fixing this. You can do that all across America.
GOLODRYGA: I have to ask you about what’s happening here in Washington. Negotiations are going on to avoid a possible government shutdown. Do you think the President is not doing enough and he’s giving in too much to Republican demands?
CLINTON: I don't know yet. It will not have the traumatic effect it, probably, it had last time because there are fixes where it's shut down but not and you leave basic services open. And, I think that it could hurt the Republican if it looks like the Democrats have a reasonable offer.
GOLODRYGA: And of course raising the debt limit is going to be the next challenge.
CLINTON: But I don't think the President should be buffaloed by that. If the Republicans refuse to raise the debt limit, they're playing Russian roulette with our credit rating.
GOLODRYGA: And while President Obama faces a showdown with Republicans, should he also take on those who question where he was born? Donald Trump even comes out questioning now. I mean, do you think at this point, do you think the President should just say, “You know what? I'm sick of taking the high road” and just either fight back or handle this once and for all?
CLINTON: I think he will fight back. But, I think one of the elemental rules of combat is you don't want to get in your opponent's way if he's shooting himself in the foot.
GOLODRYGA: As for tackling the deficit, President Clinton praised the findings of the administration’s bipartisan commission, saying major cuts have to be made. But, they should start in 2012, when we know the economy is growing again. As for the economy, he said banks still are not lending enough. That's one of the issues that CGI America will be focusing on in Chicago this June.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Bianna Golodryga, looks like the President has kept to his diet.
GOLODRYGA: That’s right. He's still vegan. Kept to the vegan diet. Incredible.