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ABC's Tapper Slap: Many GOP Candidates 'Self-Immolating and Careening Off the Highway'

ABC News White House correspondent Jake Tapper apparently thinks the race is just about over for many campaigns before the Iowa caucus has even begun. On Thursday's Good Morning America, Tapper credited Mitt Romney's recent success in the polls with other campaigns "exploding" on the campaign trail.

Tapper later repeated his former assertions, insisting that other candidates were "just self-immolating and careening off the highway" – harsh language for campaigns that have not even undergone the test of primary season. [Video below the break.]

"[W]hile other candidates have been exploding as Iowa voters go down the road of the Iowa Caucus process, Mitt Romney has been the one steady at 25 percent in the polls," Tapper noted. He added that because of Romney's message of electability, combined with other campaigns floundering, voters were finally coming over to his side.

And ABC's headline also touted that the Gingrich campaign was "In Freefall," due to his drop in the polls. News anchor Josh Elliott teed up Tapper by asking what had happened to Gingrich, in light of Tapper's words about the candidates self-destructing.

Tapper, however, blamed negative attack ads by opponents for Gingrich's downfall, and not the candidate "self-immolating."

Ironically, in 2003 ABC had a much different attitude about Howard Dean's infamous scream which led to the collapse of his presidential campaign.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on December 29 at 7:05 a.m. EST, is as follows:

JOSH ELLIOTT: And Jake, again, as we just heard in Jonathan's piece here comes Mitt Romney now. Certainly the White House has always thought that Mitt Romney perhaps was going to be the candidate they'd face. Joe Biden's op-ed in last Friday's Des Moines Register suggesting that. And he looked good nationally, but why is Romney now closing so strong in Iowa?

[HEADLINE: "Romney on a Roll: New Poll Shows Major Surge"]

JAKE TAPPER: Well he's been, as Jon points out – while other candidates have been exploding as Iowa voters go down the road of the Iowa Caucus process, Mitt Romney has been the one steady at 25 percent in the polls. And so ultimately, with Romney's message that he is the most electable, he is the one who can beat Barack Obama – combined with all these other candidates just self-immolating and careening off the highway – a lot of voters are finally saying okay, fine, Mitt Romney, I believe you, you're the most electable.

ELLIOTT: Jake, all those action verbs certainly seem to describe Newt Gingrich if no one else. And he had said we're not going to run a negative campaign, and yet you look at that number – 20 points in 20 days – what's happened to Newt Gingrich?

[HEADLINE: "Gingrich In Freefall: Far Behind In New Poll"]

TAPPER: Well, I would say it's less a result of self-immolation as it is a result of having millions of dollars of negative ads dropped on him like a nuclear bomb. You have both the Romney super PAC – which is not legally connected to the Romney campaign – and you have Ron Paul attacking Newt Gingrich with millions of dollars in ads in Iowa, and basically he has not been able to withstand that kind of attack.

ELLIOTT: It certainly has been withering.


#1 I know he is referring

to the rise and fall of all the not-Romneys who took the lead, which is a fair story, but he didn't have to use such a pyric and derisive tone.

#2 Newt Gingrich has not

Newt Gingrich has not explained what he did for Fannie that deserved to be paid 1.6 Million. On Greta's show he said he did 1 hour a month consulting on history with them. That is probably how they calculated the 30K per hour. Gingrich needs to be able to explain what he did to earn the money, or he looks like a paid off lobbyist.

After his rise in the polls Gingrich start talking about his amnesty for illegal aliens plan, and his plan to hall in Judges to congressional hearings.

Gingrich is simply not addressing his own positions, and that is no way to run a campaign. Not to mention how wise of man he is when he says on camera he can not see any way given the polls how he will not be the nominee. Pretty foolish judgment on that Newt.

Gingrich can address all the negative ads by simply addressing them on CNN, Fox, MSDNC or whatever. Instead he put out his theory of asking people to debate him. He has already debated. And he thinks he is going to force a sitting President to debate him, by following him around the country.

Newt, if you can make the President debate you, go ahead and do that now, its as much a fairy tale now, as it is if you become the nominee. Every Democrat wants Newt to win, because Newt vs Obama = 4 more years.

I don't really have an issue with the Tapper comments, he likely is talking about self immolating as Ron Paul and his OK if other countries like Iran get a Nukes, and his other Foreign Policy attitudes, within a Republican party. The general thinking is that would be self destruction for Ron Paul....however his campaign has only gained traction since the last debate featuring those views.

#3 Sorry, I really don't understand your comment.

What does that have to do with Sarah Palin quitting? Was Sarah Palin quitting Newt's idea? Is that what you are implying? Please stop making such confusing posts. If you do not mention Sarah Palin quitting, we get lost. It has been what, nearly 10 months since you mentioned Sarah Palin quitting. Please. You must stop resisting.

Oh wait. You have mentioned itAgain and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again  and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again.

Seriously Psycho, what the hell is wrong with you that you are so fixated on this woman's actions? Cyberstalking Psycho.

#4 Ron Paul is a dangerous idiot

and so are his mind numbed idiot followers

Chris H. Beyer Right of Way Pundit

#5 A Paulbot, maybe?

If Ron Paul, a racist bigot reactionary who, in spite of people considering him to be some sort of "Mr. Constitution", flouts it when it suits him and is campaigning on a promise to VIOLATE his very own oath of office (should he take it), somehow gets the nomination - the Shahinshah wins in a landslide.  

"CONSUMED DEMOCRACY RETURNS A SOCIALIST REGIME" - Slayer, "Fictional Reality", from Divine Intervention (1994)

#6 Right on target...Ron Paul and his cult...

of brainwashed followers operate out there where the trains don't run...They are all nuts. There is no talking to or reasoning with these fools...If you criticize or question anything about Paul, instead of getting reasoned discourse, you're attacked and insulted...It's as bad as trying to converse with an unhinged liberal. No amount of logic or reason will ever make these fools understand that a vote for Paul may as well be a vote for Obama.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction...It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them (our children) to do the same." ~President Ronald Reagan 

#7 "Exploding" and "self-immolating" aside

he's right.

Bachmann lost an Iowa backer and a Super-PAC. Newt is following in the paths of Bachmann, then Perry, then Cain. Huntsman's a non-factor. Santorum is on the rise, but once the media finishes shining it's light on Newt, it'll move to Santorum. And in the end, the will be only one- Mitt. I'm not thrilled about it, but as long as Palin is staying on the sideline -and I think she should- then Mitt's the only guy the GOP can nominate and convince enough people he can win.

His selection for VP will be key and I suspect he'll pick a Tea Party favorite; maybe Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal, or Nikki Haley. Someone to excite the base. I don't think he'll wait long to start working on that selection either; he'll need to get a commitment and then get them schooled to take on the two dummies on Penna Ave. If he selects another RINO, he'll lose in a landslide as Republicans stay home en masse.

The GOP needs to be concentrating on the Senate; it's highly winnable with Nate Silver saying even at this point, the GOP should see a net 4-5 seat gain which would give us the majority. We can't count on Paul-nutjob to not run as a Libertarian and try to divide the GOP vote, so if Obama's re-elected, he needs to be castrated -figuratively- by a GOP-held Congress. Expand the House, and win back the Senate, that needs to be the goal.

#8 another $.02 Bk*

I agree with most of your comment. Just to add a few thoughts. Jindal could well be a VP candidate because he is a RINO as well as an opportunist.   I would rather see someone like Ryan, who has legislative experience and is conservative.

Palin has already shown the way to beat Obama is on the state and congressional level and is out campaigning for those important seats. It is also interesting to note that many dems ( 18-20 so far) are NOT running for re-election. Very important happenings that the media is ignoring.  

#9 caj

I will certainly defer to your call on Jindal; his national press probably doesn't do him justice.

Also agree with your take on local-level politics. We should see significant gains there given the census redistricting. Many more GOP governors after the big red wave in '10, and that should help in that area. Along with the fact, of course, that those in higher office have done nothing to help improve the conditions for economic recovery.

#10 Palin has shown she loses to

Palin has shown she loses to Obama. Palin retreated from duties as Governor of the state. As far as the Senate, Palin supported O'Donnell, and seemingly convinced some fools to vote O'Donnell in the primary, thus costing the Republicans a Senate seat, a critical one.

At some point people will wake up and see Palin as the reality TV star, and responsibility-less paid pundit she is. She is a drag on Republicans, a terrible tactician, and a quitter.

Cajun2, I realize you have some sort of obsession on Palin, but please try to understand the big picture, and not your devotion to personality. Palin helps only herself, heck she is even trying to get another reality TV show again. The show that was supposed to be in AZ got canceled, so they left AZ in a lurch.

Liberals are the biggest promoters of Palin, because they read the polling data on her at

#11 "Some sort of obsession with Palin" ? ---

tombaker, you have no idea how stupid you make yourself appear by charging someone else with a 'Palin obsession'.

Opinions are fine, and all; but you are a moron.


"The credibility of the story is undermined by the selection of sources." - (h/t Jer)

#12 Good evening pop

I see you haven't lost your touch or your anti-Palin obsession.


Jesus Loves You so much He died for you

#13 wrong again tommy boy*

Let's try this again.  I am not posting about Palin because I am a supporter.  Cajun knows more about Palin than you do and I can be more objective.  The reason I keep posting to your tiresome comments is so simple.  


#14 tomparrot

TOMMY WANNA CRACKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"CONSUMED DEMOCRACY RETURNS A SOCIALIST REGIME" - Slayer, "Fictional Reality", from Divine Intervention (1994)

#15 Actually, I feel if Ryan...

is going to leave the House he should be Treasury Secretary. As for Romney, yes it sucks that it looks like the most electable Republican for president is not the very conservative. But it is a step in the right direction. 2010 - the Republicans took the House and made gains in the Senate. 2012 - Republicans take the Senate and the White House. And each election after that we cull the Rinos from each branch and replace with conservatives. Its the way Saul said to do it.

#16 Republicans staying home en

Republicans staying home en mass, or individually, are just basically voting for Obama, and allowing Obama to load up the Supreme court, for the next 35 years for each Justice installed.

If Republicans stay home for any reason, including the Presidential Ticket, you have no hope at all for the Senate.

Either you believe that Obama is negative to the country and citizens and choose to do something, or your inaction gives Obama more time as President.

There are some who think that perfect ideals and statements are the only thing important. Problem is the world is not perfect, if you want perfection, and only want to support perfection, then the other side wins, and you get Obama.

#17 Wrong

I find it increasingly obvious that one issue is about all you can grasp at a time. So I'll type slowly:

Staying home doesn't mean not voting on the state level; it's a euphemism. People are tired of their condition, so while they may not like the giant douche or the turd sandwich running for president, they're still concerned about their local politicians and property tax rates and school districts, etc. Not casting a vote for Ron Paul -if he someone manages to get the entire GOP primary electorate baked- or Barack Obama does not mean people won't vote for their Senator.

[Please rest and relax for a moment, we're about to tackle another subject, below.]

Pretty sure the turnout was above average in '08, on both sides, and we in the GOP were certainly not voting for perfection at the top of the ticket. We voted en masse, and Obama still won. It could happen again. I believe Obama is a negative for the country and I also believe that Ron Paul could be worse.

[New subject. Don't worry, we've got time...]

I've yet to hear who you're supporting; though I have my suspicions.

#18 So once again we let the boot-licker Marxist-media

pick our candidate? Mitt is the 1%er BO and the OWS crowd want to run against!


#19 Suggestion

Tweet him!


#20 He is right....we are all in the Clown Car

Been a Repub for 30 years....but he is right. What a set of clowns. We had a chance to take the whole thing Senate and Pres. But with such a clown congress and these lunatic candidates.....doubtful now. Its looking like we are in need of going back to the old smoke filled room, let the old bulls pick who is going to be allowed to run in the Repub contests and move on.

Then find out why the sharp young guns like Ryan, Rubio, Haley, Jindahl are not moving to run.

And if Obama dumps Biden and goes with Hilary....all bets are off.

#21 mrbill you might as well just

mrbill you might as well just put an Obama bumper sticker on your car. Yah nothing good enough for you, so stay home and let the Democrats roll over you. Next you will say that Christie is going to retract his endorsement and enter the race with Rubio.
You been watching too much MSM and exist in a box created for you.

#22 Nope

Sorry, but wont be going for Christi either....he is a typical NorthEastern gun grabber, has some nasty Islamist baggage and is an open borders fool. Lots of bluster and might be useable...but still some to see Ryan et al for now.

#23 tomparrot -

Nothing's good enough for you either.  You ought to take your own advice. 

"CONSUMED DEMOCRACY RETURNS A SOCIALIST REGIME" - Slayer, "Fictional Reality", from Divine Intervention (1994)

#24 Me, I wish Palin would get in the race

To bad folks that dont even know her, have already made an opinion of her.

Seek Truth, Defend Liberty

#25 Good enough for VP in 2008, Good enough for P in 2012

She has not done anything since being nominated for VP that would change my mind and make me not vote for her as President. That is for sure. Not a thing.

#26 the ditch was already occupied when the Pubs got there

obama has never stopped campaigning since being elected but his numbers keep falling so he is also "just self-immolating and careening off the highway"

#27 self-immolating?

That implies that the press hasn't been holding a torch (and magnifying glass) to the fannies of all of the GOP candidates like they never have to Obama, etc.

#28 I agree with Tapper

This campaign is shaping up to be a disaster for the GOP.

I want a new slate of candidates.


Vote for the American in November

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