Despite Obama's Defense, GMA Maintains Their Solyndra Scandal Blackout
For the 33rd consecutive day, ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday omitted any mention of the Obama administration's Solyndra scandal, even though co-host George Stephanopoulos asked the President about it in an interview on Monday and elicited a newsworthy defense of the more than $500 million loan to the now-bankrupt company.
Tuesday's show instead focused on other questions from the ABCNews / Yahoo! online interview, like the best piece of advice the President has received from his wife and whether or not he would stop Bank of America's new monthly debt card fee.
Stephanopoulos pressed Obama on Monday about his touting of Solyndra as a cornerstone of his stimulus program not even 18 months before it declared bankruptcy. In fact, he even included the exchange in his segment on that evening's ABC World News.
"And for the first time, President Obama had to answer for Solyndra, the solar panel company which failed despite half a million dollars in government loans from the Energy Department," Stephanopoulos touted on Monday's World News. "President Obama had held it up as a model for green jobs and clean energy."
"Do you regret that?" Stephanopoulos asked the President about the Solyndra loan.
"No I don't, because if you look at the overall portfolio of loan guarantees that have been provided, overall it's doing well," Obama answered. "And what we always understood was that not every single business is going to succeed in clean energy," he added, noting that "hindsight is always 20/20."
Good Morning America didn't include that exchange but did air Stephanopoulos lobbying the President from the left to "put a stop" to Bank of America's new debit card fee – something NewsBusters reported on yesterday.
"More than 40,000 questions came in online for the President, most expressing anxiety and anger about the economy, including outrage about Bank of America's five dollar debt card fee," Stephanopoulos reported Tuesday morning. "Vicki Menkel wrote, 'Those are the types of things government should get involved in and put a stop to.'" ABC then played his question to the President: "Can you put a stop to that?"
"Well you can stop it," Obama answered, "because if you say to the banks you don't have some inherent right just to get a certain amount of profit, if your customers are being mistreated – and my hope is that you're going to see a bunch of the banks who say to themselves, you know what? This is actually not good business practice."
A transcript of the segment, which aired on October 4 at 7:10 a.m. EDT, is as follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now to politics. "Your Voice, Your Vote." And a brand new ABC News/Washington Post poll that has some pretty startling results, especially for former GOP frontrunner Rick Perry. He's dropped like a rock since our last poll into a second place tie with businessman Herman Cain. Mitt Romney out front now with a steady 25 percent.
It's a tough poll for President Obama too. His approval rating down to 42 percent, the lowest of his presidency. And for the first time a majority of Americans believe that he will be a one-term president. So when I sat down with the President at the White House yesterday to kick off the new partnership between ABC News and Yahoo, that's where I began.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you the underdog now?
President BARACK OBAMA: Absolutely. The – because, you know, because given the economy, there's no doubt that whatever happens on your watch you've got –
STEPHANOPOULOS: You embraced that pretty quickly.
OBAMA: You know, I don't mind. I – I'm used to being an underdog. And I think that at the end of the day, though, what people are going to say is who's got a vision for the future that can actually help ordinary families re-capture that American dream.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There's so many people who simply don't think they're better off than they were four years ago. How do you convince them that they are?
OBAMA: Well I don't think they're better off than they were four years ago. They're not better off than they were before Lehman's collapsed, before the financial crisis, before this extraordinary recession that we're going through. What we've seen is that we've been able to make steady progress to stabilize the economy, but the unemployment rate is still way too high. And that's why it's so critical for us to make sure that we are taking every action we can take to put people back to work.
STEPHANOPOULOS: (Voice-over) More than 40,000 questions came in online for the President, most expressing anxiety and anger about the economy, including outrage at Bank of America's five dollar debt card fee. Vicki Menkel wrote, "Those are the types of things government should get involved in and put a stop to."
(To Obama) Can you put a stop to that?
OBAMA: Well what we did was we put a stop through the Financial Reform Act of them charging fees for credit cards.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And the banks are saying that's creating these new charges –
OBAMA: Well – what the banks are saying is that rather than take a little bit less of a profit, rather than paying multi-million dollar bonuses, let's treat our customers right. And this is exactly why we need this Consumer Finance Protection Bureau that we set up, that is ready to go –
STEPHANOPOULOS: Can you stop this service charge?
OBAMA: Well you can stop it because if you say to the banks you don't have some inherent right just to get a certain amount of profit, if your customers are being mistreated – and my hope is, is that you're going to see a bunch of the banks who say to themselves, you know what? This is actually not good business practice.
STEPHANOPOULOS: One of your potential opponents, Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, very tough speech at the Reagan Library last week, he said you don't have the courage to lead, and he asked –
Governor CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R-N.J.): What happened to state Senator Obama? When did he decide to become one of the dividers he spoke so eloquently of in 2004?
(End Video Clip)
OBAMA: Well look, if the guy's thinking about running for President, he's going to say a lot of stuff. And I think in the Republican primaries saying nasty stuff about me is probably polls pretty well.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But he basically says he did in New Jersey brought people together, which you haven't been able to do in Washington.
OBAMA: Well, I'm not sure that folks in New Jersey necessarily would agree with that, but here's the broader point – I don't think that the American people would dispute that at every step of the way, I have done everything I can to try to get the Republican Party to work with me, and each time all we've gotten from them is no.
STEPHANOPOULOS: (Voice-over) But this weekend, a little break from politics. The first couple celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary. The President says the best piece of advice he got from Michelle, that the mark of success comes from having happy and loving children.
(To Obama) How do you protect them, this time around when everybody's saying all these bad things about you?
OBAMA: You know, so far so good. They know who their daddy is. The thing I do worry about is trying to figure out that balance of making sure they've got space to make mistakes, be teenagers. So they're still going to the mall and they're still going to movies, but they've got this guy with a gun following –
STEPHANOPOULOS: (Voice-over) And for those of you who wanted to know where the President goes online –
(To Obama) Which websites do you surf?
OBAMA: You know, I'm pretty eclectic.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You have an Ipad?
OBAMA: I've got an Ipad, and Steve Jobs actually gave it to me a little bit early. And –
STEPHANOPOULOS: Oh, that's pretty cool.
OBAMA: Yeah, it was cool. I got it directly from him. You know, typically I read on the web what I read in hard copy. I mean, there are some exceptions, there are some blogs and some websites that are interesting, that you don't have –
STEPHANOPOULOS: You ever feel compelled to make a comment?
OBAMA: You know, I don't. I figure if I got started I wouldn't stop, and I've got other things to do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. President, thanks for your time.
OBAMA: I appreciate it, thank you so much.
(End Video Clip)
- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center