ABC's Theme of the Day: Trash GOP Candidates like 'National Distraction' Cain

Thursday was Bash Republicans Day on Good Morning America. Reporter Jon Karl highlighted past Mitt Romney statements to spin the candidate as a flip flopper. In a follow up segment, Democrat James Carville appeared to dismiss Herman Cain as a "national distraction" and urge Rick Perry to drop out of the race.

Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative and longtime friend of Carville, offered his colleague free rein. Carville excoriated an ad featuring Cain's campaign manager smoking. He berated, "I saw him smoking a cigarette. If that guy wasn't drunk, I haven't taken a drink in my life. He was as high as he could be." [MP3 audio here. Video can be downloaded here.]

(It should be pointed out that, just ten days ago, Pew Research found that Barack Obama was getting far worse coverage than any of his Republican rivals.)

Carville decreed it impossible for Cain to get the nomination: "I mean, what he is, he's a national distraction, maybe not a bad one in the middle of this horrific recession."

In a previous segment, Karl highlighted Romney flip flops on abortion and one yesterday in which he refused to endorse an Ohio ballot initiative, then declared he was "110 percent" behind it.

Karl marveled, "From no position to 110 percent in favor in less than 24 hours."

Certainly, the issue of Romney and flip flops is fair game, but what about the President's failure to close Guantanamo Bay and other position switches?

Since August 1st, GMA has had only two GOP presidential candidates on the show. (Herman Cain October 12th and Rick Perry October 14th.) This is the same number of times TV personality Carville has guested.

Clearly, GMA isn't as interested in running down the Democrats 2012 chances.

A transcript of the October 27 segment, which aired at 7:11am EDT, follows:


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: That is for sure. I'm sure he's not the only one who found it hilarious. Let's see what James Carville thinks. I want to get to that ad in a second, James. But, let's begin with Mitt Romney. The flip-flopping charge is back. You see Rick Perry hitting him on it. You see the Obama campaign hitting him on it. Is this the single biggest hurdle between him and the nomination?

JAMES CARVILLE: I don't even know if there's a hurdle left. But, yes, the man is a serial wind sock. I mean, anytime you turn around, it's something else. And once he uses any kind of adjective in front of it, you know he's getting ready to flip-flop. So, if he's very committee to it, that means he's going to change positions. And if he's 110 percent for something, that means that he's changing positions.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, you said something at the beginning there. You think there might be nothing standing between him and the nomination?

CARVILLE: I don't think so. I can't imagine. I mean, Rick Perry's completely blown himself up. There's zero chance that Herman Cain will be the nominee. Unless, the only thing I can see is the Republicans just don't like him enough that he can't accumulate half the delegates as he goes through this, that these candidates keep going and become such an irritant that he can't close the deal. But, that's almost impossible to imagine.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, you see Rick Perry trying to come back this week. He has the 20 flat tax. We talked about it the other day. He also seemed to step in a little bit, by at first questioning, whether President Obama's birth certificate is authentic, seeming to question it.

CARVILLE: You know, the best thing Rick Perry can do for himself and his friends and family is just get out of the race and go back to Texas. This man is evidently not up to this. He had plenty of chances to do it. He can't debate. He can't give a speech. He can't hold a position paper. He can't go on television.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He has got $15 million in the bank, James.

CARVILLE: George, he can have $150 million in the bank. He is incapable of running for president. He can't do the things that are necessary for running for president. He's behind Newt Gingrich in the polls now. He's just in something that he should never have gotten into. He's in over his head. It's not just evident to me. It's evident to 95 percent of the Republicans in the country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And no one else is getting in this race?

CARVILLE: I can't- Maybe. I don't know what's going to happen. If Romney just is able to go over 50 percent, I guess there's nothing to stop him. But there's great resistance. Every time you see these polls, Romney can't get above 25 percent. They don't want to be for Romney. It's perfectly clear. Everybody goes up. Everybody goes down. Romney stays the same.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They do seem to want to be for Herman Cain. I want to ask you about that, because he's right behind Romney in all those polls. We saw the ad, showing his campaign manager smoking earlier this week. I saw one person call it postmodern genius. Others think it's amateur hour. Where do you come down?

CARVILLE: I come down on the fact, I saw him smoking a cigarette. If that guy wasn't drunk, I haven't taken a drink in my life. He was as high as he could be. I mean- It wasn't just- he was drunk or stoned. Some kind of chemical in him. I guarantee you that. It's, like, funny. And Herman Cain says funny things. Herman Cain is not going to be the Republican nomination [sic] for president. I mean, what he is, he's a national distraction, maybe not a bad one in the middle of this horrific recession. But let's be real. Rose [sic] Douthat. I'm probably pronouncing the name wrong.


CARVILLE: He said- I thought it was the smartest thing anybody's said. He said, "Sherlock Holmes told Watson, 'When you eliminate the impossible, all you left with is the improbable.'" Hello, Mitt! I mean, that's where we are.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I'll put you down as a vote for armature hour then, James. Thanks for coming on.

CARVILLE: There you go.

— Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.