ABC Spins Obama as 'Taking His Medicine' on Midterms

The journalists at Good Morning America on Thursday spun Barack Obama's post-midterm press conference as "taking his medicine," hyping a jokey response by the President about having a drink with incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. In contrast, on Wednesday night's World News, Jon Karl highlighted Obama's aggressive style, noting, "But [the President] offered no sign that he has a mea culpa or a desire to change course. No apologies from the President today." 

But the reference to a lack of an apology was cut from Thursday's GMA. Instead, co-host George Stephanopoulos opined, "President Obama took his medicine Wednesday." [MP3 audio here.] He added that the Commander in Chief "said he got the message." Karl promoted a supposed "bourbon summit" with McConnell.  

Seeing to contradict the assertions of ABC journalists that Obama "took his medicine" and "got the message," Karl recounted, "The President signaled he's not changing course, suggesting Democrats lost control of the Senate primarily because so many people didn't bother to vote."

The Associated Press did not see a President "taking his medicine": 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- For anyone expecting postelection contrition at the White House or vows to change course after a disastrous election for Democrats, President Barack Obama had one message Wednesday: Think again.

Of the three morning shows on Thursday, only CBS used the word "lame duck" when referring to Obama. Major Garrett explained: 

MAJOR GARRETT: It's no secret here President Obama and the incoming Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, the soon Majority Leader of the United States Senate, don't know each other very well and have a long history of talking past instead of to each other. Well, that's going to have to change if the lame duck president and the newly empowered Senate Republican majority intend to do anything more in the next two years but squabble. President Obama has a well-deserved reputation for keeping congressional Republicans at arm's length. After another midterm pasting, Mr. Obama said that will have to change whether he likes it or not.

Using more blunt terms than ABC, Garrett declared, "But Tuesday's ballot box rout forced the president to belly up to a new political reality." 

A transcript of the November 6 GMA segment is below: 


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to move on now to politics and fallout from that historic Republican sweep. President Obama took his medicine Wednesday, but stood his ground too, telling reporters that he's ready to work the GOP when he can, but will still act alone when he must. ABC's Jon Karl was in the room. And, Jon, you also got the President to make a date with the Senate's new leader. 

JON KARL: That's right, George. The President once famously proposed – or had– a beer summit here at the White House. Now that Republicans have taken over the Senate, he's talking about a summit with a more potent drink. The President said he got the message --

BARACK OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody. 

KARL: – and he's ready to spend more time with the Republican who will soon be leading the Senate, long-time adversary, Mitch McConnell. Are you going to have a drink with Mitch McConnell. You joked at the correspondents dinner.  

BARACK OBAMA: You know, I would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon with Mitch 

KARL: But just last year, President Obama ridiculed the idea of having a drink with McConnell. 

OBAMA: "Why don't you get a drink with Mitch McConnell," they ask. Really? Why don't you get a drink with Mitch McConnell? 

KARL: On social media, it's been branded the bourbon summit. With distillers and bourbon makers offering to host the party. Drinks, maybe, but the President signaled he's not changing course, suggesting Democrats lost control of the Senate primarily because so many people didn't bother to vote. 

OBAMA: To the two-thirds of vote who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you too. 

KARL: The President also said he plans to move ahead with a controversial executive order on immigration, in defiance of the newly-minted Republican majority. 

OBAMA: I think the President choosing to do a lot of things unilaterally on immigration is a big mistake. It's like waving a red flag in front of a bull. 

KARL: While there's no time set for a bourbon summit with Republicans, congressional leaders in both parties are going to be here tomorrow for a working lunch. George?

— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.