Good Morning America's John Hendren on Sunday dismissed the victory of Herman Cain in the Florida straw poll, condescendingly asserting that the "big winner is nobody." The ABC reporter made sure to repeatedly mention the business of the Republican presidential candidate: "That's right. The man who brought you Godfather's Pizza at 37 percent."
Hendren arrogantly explained, "What's notable about the Florida straw poll is less who won than who lost...The week's big winner in the Republican primary is nobody." It's odd for ABC to dismiss the straw poll's actual winner as a "nobody." But if the candidate hasn't broken through, perhaps the hosts at GMA should actually consider having him on as a guest. (This has yet to happen in 2011.)
[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Sunday's World News, Hendren insisted that Texas Governor Rick Perry "left humiliated and humbled, a distant second to Herman Cain, the man from Godfather's Pizza."
Correspondent John Berman reiterated on Monday's GMA: "He finished a shocking second to pizza baron Herman Cain in the Florida straw poll."
The Hendren piece also contained rather hyperbolic language about Perry and his poor debate performance: "Perry's implosion is just the latest sign of chaos in the Republican presidential field. A disarray so complete that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is now being heavily pressured to run."
A transcript of the September 25 GMA segment, which aired at 8:03am EDT, follows:
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: But first, we want to talk about what could be the implosion of Rick Perry's presidential candidacy, this after a shocking loss on Saturday. ABC's John Hendren is following that story this morning from Washington. Good morning, John.
JOHN HENDREN: Good morning, Bianna. What's notable about the Florida straw poll is less who won than who lost: Everyone anyone considered a top contender in the GOP presidential race. The week's big winner in the Republican primary is nobody.
RICK PERRY: See you later.
GOLODRYGA: Not Texas Governor Rick Perry. He'd been heavily favored to win yesterday's Florida straw poll, but came in distance second, a humiliating defeat. Likely in part over his policy of giving college aid to illegal immigrants.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Rick Perry has lost a lot of conservatives in here by being pro-illegal immigration.
HENDREN: Not Mitt Romney. He didn't even campaign for it. Not Michele Bachmann, who won the straw poll in Iowa, she came in dead last. The GOP presidential candidate who came out on top in Florida was Herman Cain?
HERMAN CAIN: Herman Cain, moi, got twice as many votes as the next contender, Rick Perry.
HENDREN: That's right. The man who brought you Godfather's Pizza at 37 percent, compared to 15 percent for Perry. Perry may need a Texas-sized surge to recover.
RON BROWNSTEIN (ABC News political analyst): Now we have to see if he has a second act, if he can improve his performance, sharpen his message, steady his, kind of, rhetoric in a way that reassures some of those Republican voters who are now expressing concern.
HENDREN: Perry's implosion is just the latest sign of chaos in the Republican presidential field. A disarray so complete that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is now being heavily pressured to run. In an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, Christie all but swore an oath not to run.
CHRIS CHRISTIE: I'm not running.
DIANE SAWYER: Categorically not running?
CHRISTIE: Yeah. I mean, I don't know how else to put it, Diane. I mean, the answer is no, I'm not doing it.
HENDREN: Christie's supporters are arguing the job may be big but the declared candidates are too small. Donors and republican king makers are looking to Christie as kind of a white knight, a fiscal conservative who can rally the Tea Party and a big state governor who can also appeal to the rest of the party.