George Stephanopoulos Ready to Crown Romney, 1099 Delegates Shy of Nomination

Ignoring the facts, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday insisted that it would be "impossible" for a non-Mitt Romney candidate to capture the nomination if the former Massachusetts governor wins the South Carolina primary on Saturday. However, even if Romney won all 25 of the state's delegates, he would still be 1099 shy of the amount needed to clinch a final victory.

While talking to reporter John Berman, Stephanopoulos declared, "And if he wins on Saturday, impossible to see how any of [the other candidates] could really come back." Berman cemented this questionable logic, agreeing, "Seems like that wraps it up." [MP3 audio here.] Romney currently has 20 delegates. The most he could have after Saturday is 45. 1144 are needed to win the GOP nomination.

Stephanopoulos teased the segment by highlighting the "new ABC poll that shows that [Romney] may have an insurmountable lead as the candidates pounce in a South Carolina showdown last night."

Over on CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose offered the same talking points, lecturing Newt Gingrich: "What has to happen if- to prevent Governor [Mitt] Romney from doing so well in South Carolina that he wraps it up?"

Rose followed up, "But if you don't do that and Romney wins, is it all over?"

Obviously, Romney is in a strong position to win the nomination. But when the ex-governor is more than 1000 delegates away from doing so, the comments on ABC and CBS sound like nothing more than an attempt to control the process.

A transcript of the January 17th segment can be found below:

7am tease

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Also breaking this morning: A huge surge for Mitt Romney. The new ABC poll that shows that he may have an insurmountable lead as the candidates pounce in a South Carolina showdown last night.


STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn now to politics. Your voice, your vote. And a brand new ABC News/Washington Post poll out this morning that shows Mitt Romney decisively breaking away from the pack, now holding a two-to-one lead over his closest rivals for the nomination. Looking ahead, it also shows a dead heat in November with Romney holding a one-point lead over President Obama. But Romney's Republican rivals have not given up the fight yet. They took it to him in last night's debate in South Carolina and ABC's John Berman is here with more with more on that. Good morning, John.

JOHN BERMAN: Good morning, George. You know, here's a telling number. 72 percent of Republican voters think Mitt Romney will be the nominee. That is a big number. So, the question heading into last night's South Carolina debate, could his opponents do anything to derail what seems like an almost run-away train of inevitability? Well, they certainly tried. Mitt Romney tried to chug along overnight, riding his big lead and touting his business experience.

MITT ROMNEY: Do I believe that free enterprise works? Absolutely.

BERMAN: But his opponents in the Fox News/Wall Street Journal debate weren't buying, throwing their bodies in the way of that momentum railroad.

RICK PERRY: We need for you to release your income tax so the people of this country can see how you made your money.

BERMAN: Romney, worth more than $200 million, gave a noncommittal semi-answer. Sort of.

ROMNEY: If that's been the tradition and- I am not opposed to it. Time will tell. But, I anticipate that, most likely, I'm going to get asked to do it around the April time period and I'll keep that open.

BERMAN: Rick Santorum knocked him off track in a gotcha exchange over voting rights for felons.

ROMNEY: I don't think people that committed violent crimes should be allowed to vote again. That's my own view.

SANTORUM: That's very interesting that you should say that, Governor Romney, because in the state of Massachusetts, when you were governor, the law was that not only could violent felons vote after they exhausted their sentences, but they could vote while they were on probation and parole.

BERMAN: The Newt Gingrich train seemed to pick up speed. The crowd loving his defense of proposals to have low income kids earn money as janitors

NEWT GINGRICH: They'd be getting money, which is a good thing if you're poor. Only the elites despise earning money.

BERMAN: The boisterous crowd not nearly as in love with Ron Paul's foreign policy.

RON PAUL: Don't do to other nations what we don't want them to do to us.

BERMAN: That even earned a rebuke from a feisty Rick Perry.

RICK PERRY: I was just saying, I just thought maybe the noise you were looking for was a gong. [Audience laughs.]

BERMAN: Now, you could see Romney get a little rattled at points. You could see Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have strong moments. But that's the thing: Romney could win even by losing last night because his splintered opponents may take more votes from each other than Romney.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And if he wins on Saturday, impossible to see how any of them could really come back.

BERMAN: Seems like that wraps it up.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, John. Thanks very much.

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