Ex-Clinton Operative Stephanopoulos Attacks Cain's 'Honesty' and 'Judgment'

Former top Clinton aide turned journalist George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday derided Herman Cain for his lapses in "honesty" and "judgment." Asked by World News anchor Diane Sawyer if Cain can rebound from accusations of infidelity, Stephanopoulos declared, "No. I think this is it." [MP3 audio here.]

Stephanopoulos, who, back in the '90s, worked to discredit female accusers of Bill Clinton, sniffed, "There are just too many questions about [Cain's] honesty, his judgment, his experience, his organization. Even if he stays in [the presidential race], he's not going to be a factor."

On page 267 of Stephanopoulos' 1999 autobiography, "All Too Human," the Democrat wrote of his efforts to dismiss the women who claimed to have affairs with, or have been propositioned by, Bill Clinton:

I wanted to keep reports of Paula [Jones'] press conference off television. So I made my case directly to Tim Russert at NBC, Dotty Lynch of CBS and Tom Johnson, the President of CNN. It wasn't a hard sell, and ABC was even less inclined to sensationalize a supposed sex scandal because of their twenty-two minute Whitewater extravaganza the night before."

In addition to these examples, Clinton had several other challenges to his "honesty" and "judgment." But, that, apparently, was different for Stephanopoulos.

A transcript of the November 29 segment, which aired at 6:35pm EST:

SAWYER: All right, Jon. Thanks. As you said, a big roller coaster ride it has been. And George Stephanopoulos joins us now. So, can he bounce back one more time, George, or is this it? ?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: No. I think this is it. I mean, Jon just pointed out a lot of problems that Herman Cain has had over the last couple weeks. I also learned today that several of the staff he's been talking to have already been putting out feelers to other campaigns. There are just too many questions about his honesty, his judgment, his experience, his organization. Even if he stays in, he's not going to be a factor.

SAWYER: And the conventional wisdom is his supporters will probably go to Newt Gingrich. Are they right?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Certainly in Iowa. And that is what all the campaigns expected, that this is going to give a big boost to Newt Gingrich in Iowa, that important first caucus state. Although our polling shows that nationally his supporters second choice are split between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. This is an opening for those other conservatives, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry. Can they take this opening and get back in this race? It's their last chance.

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