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Dick Morris: Stephanopoulos Used Same Tactics Against Romney as Clinton White House Did Its Opponents

Noel Sheppard's picture

Former Clinton adviser Dick Morris took his allegation that ABC's George Stephanopoulos is a "paid Democratic hitman" further on Wednesday saying that the tactics he used on Mitt Romney during the January 7 Republican presidential debate were similar to how the Clinton White House got the media to do its bidding against its opponents.

Speaking with Fox News's Bill O'Reilly, Morris said, "I wonder why ABC has Stephanopoulos on the payroll, and I think making points for the Democratic Party might be part of why" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Joining us now from Stanford, Connecticut, the purveyor of, Mr. Morris. Now before we get to Romney's problems, you really let George Stephanopoulos at ABC News have it the other day on "Hannity".


DICK MORRIS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: You remember that ABC debate with that paid Democratic hit man George Stephanopoulos went after Romney trying to --

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Old friend of yours, Dick.

MORRIS: -- trying to pin him down on -- on contraception?


O'REILLY: Paid Democratic hit man.

MORRIS: Yes, you got it.

O'REILLY: Come on, Morris, I mean, if I was Stephanopoulos, I would slap you with the biggest lawsuit in the world. The guy works for ABC News, he does "Good Morning America". And you're accusing him of being on the pad for the Democratic Party. Back it up.

MORRIS: Yes. Well, it began. I began to connect the dots when right after Santorum won or did well in the Iowa caucuses. All of a sudden the big issue was would he permit states to ban contraception. And I'm thinking contraception who is talking about that as a political issue? Then I see George in the ABC debate ask Romney four times -- the audience was hooting, they were booing, they were laughing at him -- whether a state can ban birth control.

And Romney said George, nobody is talking about that and he said no, but I want to know if you think they can. Do you think they can? And then Obama comes in with this birth control regulation. And I think that this is all of a piece to set up contraception as the new social issue replacing abortion to separate the left and right.



MORRIS: And I was trying to figure out why Stephanopoulos was pushing like that. And I think he had been contracted by the Democrats to lay a hit on Romney.


O'REILLY: But here's what --

MORRIS: By getting Romney to admit that he -- to say that he favored banning contraception.

O'REILLY: Here is where you fall off the cliff. Your explanation is logical, all right? Certainly George Stephanopoulos is obsessed with contraception. Obsessed. And we don't know why. But he is. You're right. He asked the question. He brought it up and up and up. Ok. Fine.

And then, by coincidence, maybe, maybe by happenstance, maybe by plan, this big Catholic Church comes out. But you can't say he is on the take, he is in their pocket. You can say gee, it's an eerie coincidence and gee, he was a Democratic guy under Clinton and maybe he is getting stuff. You can't say he is in their pocket taking money from them or whatever. Come on.

MORRIS: Bill you -- Bill, you neglect to realize that he -- that I worked with him and in fact for a year he basically worked for me.


MORRIS: And we were constantly doing that. We were constantly -- somebody, Dole was going to be interviewed and we'd get with a reporter, Sydney Blumenthal was especially good at this. We would call Sydney and we would say ask Dole this and this and this. And Sydney would do it. We would film it and we would have a negative ad.

And George was doing the same thing except he is doing it as an anchor for ABC not as a -- in a debate not as a political operative when he was with me in the White House.


O'REILLY: This is not fair. You have -- you have enough knowledge about George Stephanopoulos and have put together at least a debatable theory on the contraception where it's absolutely legitimate. But you take it too far. You say now he's on the pad of the Democratic Party.


O'REILLY: You can't prove it and it's not fair to him.

MORRIS: Well, I said, I said a paid hit man.

O'REILLY: Paid. Paid. That's money. You can't say that.

MORRIS: Yes, ABC, ABC is paying him.

O'REILLY: On, no, no, no, no.

MORRIS: If they don't -- now, now if they don't reprimand him after that incredibly partially partisan performance aimed at developing material for a negative ad. And in fact, they promote him and they praise him, then I wonder why ABC has Stephanopoulos on the payroll. And I think making points for the Democratic Party might be part of why.

O'REILLY: Those are -- and if I go back on "Good Morning America" any time soon, I'll ask Stephanopoulos. But I don't think it's fair.


MORRIS: But George will never have me on "Good Morning America".

O'REILLY: Well I wouldn't -- if I were him I wouldn't either you just accused him of being -- of taking money. I know he didn't take money, I know he didn't, and you shouldn't have done it.

MORRIS: Yes, he didn't get a paper envelope.

O'REILLY: But that's what you said, paid is paid.

MORRIS: No, no, I said, paid, he's paid by ABC.

O'REILLY: That's different.

MORRIS: And ABC encourages him to do this kind of stuff.

O'REILLY: All right, all right.

Just so that people understand the timing here, according to LexisNexis, there were hundreds of news reports involving Rick Santorum and his supposed views about contraception in the week prior to January 3's Iowa caucuses.

As NewsBusters reported, substitute co-host Savannah Guthrie asked Santorum about this on the Today show December 29:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Yeah, but, Senator, you yourself have said you will not make these social issues backburner issues. You want them to be front and center. Your views on abortion are well known. You make no exception for abortion in the case of rape or incest. Other Republican candidates have now adopted that view. But somewhat lesser known are your views on contraception. You have said it is not okay, that it's dangerous, and you've said you're the only presidential candidate willing to talk about your views against contraception. For voters not familiar with you, what are they?

This was roughly three weeks before the White House released its January 20 edict concerning contraception.

Nine days later, on January 7, Stephanopoulos grilled Romney about this issue thirteen days before the edict's release really setting ablaze a media firestorm.

Exactly why were so many members of the press suddenly pressing Republican presidential candidates about this matter weeks before the Department of Health and Human Services released its contraception ruling?

Was this orchestrated as Morris said by the White House in order to develop a narrative prior to the release of this edict, or were all these questions about a largely irrelevant issue in the campaign up to that point mere coincidence?

(H/T Mediaite)

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#1 Once a Democrat operative, always a Democrat operative.

And people wondered why Steffie brought up contraception, supposedly "out of the blue."

#2 Can O'Reilly

be as clueless as he seems some times?

For the sake of integrity, there should never be a debate moderator that was ever a part of a political party or campaign. That would still include a large list of journalist types that have no idea what integrity means.

President Obama is a Muslim (from his own lips), Kenyan (read it from his publicist) a homosexual (read it on a news magazine cover) and a Socialist (I'm alive and can see it for myself)

#3 BOR is basing his argument on

BOR is basing his argument on the fact that there is no payment for services. He ignores the "willing accomplice" paradigm.

Gibbs' Rule #39: There's no such thing as coincidence.

#4 Snuffalotagas not be in it for the money

Maybe Snuffy gets other perks from "the Won"

#5 You beat me to the punch

The whole time I was watching, I was saying "Really, really Billyboy, that's where you draw the distinction!!!"

BOR seems to have a clue just every once in awhile.

#6 It explains the "narrative" the lib media adopt

Media Matters and the White House coordinate the message to the willing lib media toadies like Georgie.

#7 a democrat pimp

He is either a democrat pimp or a democrat prostitute. Either way he is a scumball and a dishonest one at that.

#8 No more Republican debates conducted by agents of the MSM

In the future the Republican Party should simply not allow any MSM outlet: ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC NPR, PBS, CNN, The WAPO etc. to conduct Republican debates without complete Republican control over the format and the questions asked.

Otherwise, it's like throwing the Christians to the hungry lions.

- Looking forward to the self-annihilation of the Manipulated Stories Machine.

#9 George S.

Does anyone out there know what arcade game was invented by Aaron Fetcher of Creative Engineering in 1976?
Give up? It is called wack-a-mole. I doublt there is not a person out there who has not played this game at one time or another.
Well instead of the face of a mole - put the face of the Republican contenders on the little critters that jump up.

The White House philosophy is simple - just beat down which ever one is sticking up at the time.
Just like wack-a-mole.
Looking back over this past political season - that is exactly what George S., and the other minons (and morons in the 'entertainment' industry) are doing.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” – Marcus Aurelius

#10 A dem goes to... for the news media and they expect us to believe they'll be objective?

#11 A dem goes to... for the news media and they expect us to believe they'll be objective?

#12 The answer is: Lipstick

The question is: What’s the difference between a professional journalist and a professional prostitute?

After this, the 2008 election, and JournoList, and tens of thousands of postings here at NewsBusters concerning Liberal bias, the only proper view of any MSM journalist is that they are all biased agents of the Democratic Party. It is not a matter of proving them otherwise; they are hired and paid by the MSM. If they are not suitably biased, they would be fired.

Anyone maintaining that any journalist of the MSM is unbiased is either too stupid or too naïve to handle the subject.

- Looking forward to the self-annihilation of the Manipulated Stories Machine.

#13 Oh Bill O'Reilly

You are such a Fair and Balanced Asshat

The Obamination must go!

#14 Bill O.

His problem, that gets in the way of his message, is that he is rude to his guests and too full of himself.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” – Marcus Aurelius

#15 ... and thinks he know a lot more than he does.

... and thinks he knows a lot more than he does.

- Looking forward to the self-annihilation of the Manipulated Stories Machine.

#16 BOR....idiot

Usually I like BOR, but he is acting like an idiot in this "debate". It was a metaphor or whatever. That seemed to be his talking point,......"he wasn't PAID". Dick is one hundred per cent on the money. GS obviously had been fed some questions by some D. operative to put Romney on the spot on a non issue. BOR, wake up and smell the coffee. Instead of worrying about if he was "paid", worry about the thread, ie if you are such a hard hitting, the spin stops here type commentator.

#17 Dick Morris is WRONG

Prior to the January 7 Republican presidential debate, Santorum was asked a question on the topic of whether or not states have the right to ban contraception as he was existing an event. Santorum answered the question stating they do, but went on to say he didn't support such a ban. When Stephanopoulos raised the question to Romney, it was Santorum who tried to respond first - see below video:

Mitt Romney Fails, Looks To Ron Paul For Answer On Birth Control And Constitution

In addition, Bill O'Reilly should have recalled Santorum's stance since he interviewed him and the topic was raised.

"...Speaking to Bill O’Reilly, the candidate put his position in blunt enough terms that the issue should be put to bed:

Well, the states have a right to do a lot of things. That doesn’t mean they should do it. Someone asked me if the states have the right to do it? Yes. They have the right to do it, they shouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t vote for it if they did. It doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to do it. As you know, Bill, you’re a Catholic, Catholic Church teaches contraceptive [sic] is something you shouldn’t do. So when I was asked the question on contraception I said I didn’t support it..."

Source: National Review Online

Santorum on Contraception - January 6, 2012

This is the reason why Stephanopoulos asked the question. Yet, it was odd that he didn't ask Santorum first.

#18 Dick Morris was right.

Dick Morris was right. Stephie is paid by ABC to be a Democrat hitman. He is one of many MSM jackals paid by the networks and cable companies to destroy Obama's political opponents.

"This is not your mother's Democratic Party"--Andrew Breitbart, CPAC, February 2012

#19 BOR was just trying to be "Fair and Balanced". I think he...

was playing the Devil's advocate" as he often does. Thanks to the questions asked by BOR and well answered by Dick Morris, anyone watching the segment now knows exactly how the Democrats and the non-Fox media conspire in order to defeat Republicans.

Kudos to Mitt Romney for not falling into the trap set by the DNC operative GS or as Morris called him the paid Democratic "Hit Man".

Jim Webster

#20 isn't getting inside info a payment?

if you're a journalist or similar isn't getting the info before others really a payment?

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