Journalist and Hillary Clinton fan Cokie Roberts on Tuesday insisted that women will be “upset” if Donald Trump continues to highlight Bill Clinton’s past affairs and mistreatment of women. Talking to former Clinton operative turned Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos, Roberts huffed, “Women will be very upset if they think that another woman is being blamed for her husband's infidelities.”
She also insisted that Trump’s new campaign ads will have “very little effect.” Stephanopoulos described the Republican as “going into the playbook of the 1990s.”
Of course, ABC didn’t have a problem going back to the past when it concerned Mitt Romney. On May 10, 2012, then-World News anchor Diane Sawyer hyperbolically opened the show about a decades-old example of Romney forcing another high school student into a haircut:
Tonight on World News, campaign curve ball. Mitt Romney’s high school classmates accuse him of bullying a vulnerable student. How does the candidate respond tonight?...Good evening. As we begin, there is a surprising turn of events on the campaign trail. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, accused of bullying a very vulnerable fellow student when he was in high school.”
— Anchor Diane Sawyer leading off ABC’s World News, May 10, 2012.
Roberts has been quite fawning in her descriptions of Mrs. Clinton. On October 13, 2015, she thrilled that the Democrat “may be the smartest person on the stage and in politics right now.” Roberts added, “Any time you're with her in a setting with actual people she wows them.... She knows everything about every issue.”
In March of 2016, the ABC journalist wondered of the FBI and the e-mail server investigation: “Don't they have other problems? There's no crime in the country they should be worrying about?”
At least panelist Matt Dowd appeared with Roberts and Stephanopoulos on Tuesday. He said of Trump targeting the Clinton’s women problem: “I think the argument reminds voters she's of the past and for voters under 40 they have no idea about this. So it basically places her in the past.”
A transcript of the GMA segment is below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about this now our consultants Cokie Roberts and Matthew Dowd. And Cokie, let me begin with you. Donald Trump going into the playbook of the 1990s right there. Going back to so many of these issues discussed right then. The question is what kind of relevance is it going to have for voters right now?
COKIE ROBERTS: I think probably very little. Now, he says a lot of people don't remember these things because they weren't born. But, look, this election will come down to how white women vote and I think that the fact is that women will be very upset if they think that another woman is being blamed for her husband's infidelities.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You agree with that, Matt?
MATT DOWD: No, I actually think — I mean one of the things about Donald Trump, George, we've talked about, he was smarter where voters were among 16, 17 candidates in the primary. I think he has a very good tact on where the voters are today. First of all, I think the argument reminds voters she's of the past and for voters under 40 they have no idea about this. So it basically places her in the past. Two, GOP voters want to litigate this issue, so it helps him consolidate the base very quickly which he's done in the course of this and this argument and, three, it is a — it's an — underlines his trust issue, one of the main arguments against her. In the short term I actually think it's a good play for Donald Trump.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, those are in the short term. Go ahead, Cokie.
ROBERTS: Well, but I think he's really consolidated his base. I think the Republicans have come together behind him, despite all of their angst in the earlier days and now he's going to have to shore up those independent voters and he is coming across as a bully. And the smart thing for her to do is just not engage on this.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Matt, the Clinton campaign making it pretty clear that Secretary Clinton is not going to engage on these allegations, but you do see her fighting back on Donald Trump's record in business. He's going to bankrupt America like he bankrupted his businesses. Is that an effective attack?
DOWD: Well, I think ultimately this election will be decided upon the economy, George and I think the only way she's going to be able to beat Donald Trump is she's got to figure out how to knock down his business acumen. Because if this is an argument between a businessman and a politician, which Hillary Clinton is, he's going to win unless she underlines it so I think in the end that's the main argument she has to make is try to knock down his business acumen.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Cokie, I see you nodding your head. So, now you guys agree?
ROBERTS: I agree with that completely. She needs to show ads like Obama did against Mitt Romney of white people being put out of work, of saying he's not for you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Cokie Roberts, Matt Dowd, thanks very much.