ABC Cheerfully Highlights How 'Statesman' John Roberts 'Saved' Obamacare

June 29th, 2012 12:04 PM

Good Morning America's Terry Moran on Friday highlighted how Chief Justice John Roberts "saved" Obamacare, featuring voices that lauded the "statesman" and only one clip of Mitt Romney condemning the ruling. In comparison, CBS showcased an interview with Republican Congressman Eric Cantor.

Instead of allowing much conservative opposition, Moran delicately spun, "Roberts's opinion reframed the law to make it constitutional...And that's how Roberts saved it." He included a clip of Dahlia Lithwick of the liberal Slate website. She hyped, "I think [Roberts] made everybody a little bit angry and made many people very happy and looked like a statesman."

Former Democratic operative turned GMA anchor George Stephanopoulos chose to focus on gossipy details of how the President found out about the decision: "And, Jake [Tapper], take us behind the scenes in the Oval Office yesterday The president came out of the office to watch the decision. For a few minutes there, he actually thought he lost."

In comparison, the hosts at CBS This Morning, in addition to interviewing Cantor, played a clip of Rush Limbaugh attacking: "What we now have is the biggest tax increase in the history of the world. Obama lied to us about that." Reporter Jan Crawford also included Sarah Palin insisting, "This is about a trillion dollars more tax put on the American people."
Crawford herself reminded, "When Congress was debating the law, Democrats and the President insisted it wasn't a tax increase."

Jake Tapper, on GMA, pointed this out to Stephanopoulos. But the show didn't feature any clips of the President, despite the fact that it was an ABC interview.

Over on Today, NBC also provided more balance, allowing clips of Romney, Republican John Boehner and a Texas Attorney General who opposed the law

A transcript of the June 29 Moran segment on GMA can be found below:


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now to that history-making day at the Supreme Court. It gave the President a huge victory yesterday, a surprise ruling led by Chief Justice John Roberts that Obama's health care law is constitutional. The decision could define the legacy of both men and is one that will certainly effect all of us. ABC's Terry Moran covers it all for the Supreme Court. Good morning, Terry.

TERRY MORAN: Good morning, George. Well, today, this magnificent building belongs to the tourists. The justices have scattered for their summer plans. Chief Justice Roberts is at a resort in Pennsylvania. Some of the others heading overseas. But what they did yesterday, this historic opinion, as you said, the aftershocks from that have just begun. This morning, the entire country is still reckoning with the fallout from this moment. When the ruling came down, no one expected that it would be Chief Justice John Roberts who would cast the deciding vote and write the opinion upholding the President's health care law. Roberts' opinion reframed the law to make it constitutional, ruling that while Congress can't simply require Americans to purchase health insurance, it can tax Americans more if they don't purchase it. And that's what the law does. And that's how Roberts saved it, even while suggesting he didn't like it. "It's not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices," he wrote.

DAHLIA LITHWICK (Slate) : I think he made everybody a little bit angry and made many people very happy. And looked like a statesman.

MORAN: President Obama declared victory.

BARACK OBAMA: Good afternoon.

MORAN: And took up the task of convincing skeptical Americans that his law will work for them.

OBAMA: Well, it should be pretty clear by now that I didn't do this because it was good politics. I did it because I believed it was good for the American people.

MORAN: Mitt Romney came right back at him.

MITT ROMNEY: Obamacare was bad policy yesterday. It's bad policy today. Obama care was bad law yesterday. It's bad law today.

MORAN: So, what does it all mean? If the law's not repealed by Republicans, some of the big provisions go into effect beginning in 2014. Every American will be required to have health insurance or pay that tax. Insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage because a person has a pre-existing condition. And there will be no annual limits on coverage.