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ABC Lauds Obama for Highlighting 'Modern American Families'; He's a 'Democratic Reagan'

Scott Whitlock's picture

Barack Obama's second inaugural met with much praise from the journalists at ABC. World News anchor Diane Sawyer hyped the President's mentions of gays as a recognition of the "modern American family." Jon Karl touted the "Democratic Reagan."

After Stephanopoulos asserted that Obama made the "first explicit mention...in an inaugural of gay Americans," Sawyer seemingly worked in a subtle plug for her network's primetime line-up: "He is talking about a modern American family. He's talking about gay and straight, rich and poor, everyone together." Stephanopoulos made the speech all about Obama: "The President, perhaps thinking of himself as he said 'Americans are made for this moment and we will seize it.' You could almost hear him talking to himself in that moment." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Karl proclaimed, "I felt during much of that speech like I was listening to a Democratic Ronald Reagan where Reagan was unapologetically conservative, this was unapologetically progressive."

It was left to Matt Dowd, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush (as well as Democrats) to add the slightest hint of criticism. He could only manage:

MATT DOWD: I don't think– I think this was a great speech for today. I don't think this is a speech that's going to last the ages and if there's ever an Obama memorial, I don't think this speech will be carved into that memorial.

Although, Stephanopoulos, the former Democratic operative, may have hinted at disappointment. Immediately after the speech ended, he noted, "The music was the star of the morning so far."

A partial transcript of some of the reaction is below:


01/21/13

12:33

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: The music was the star of the morning so far. The President, also, giving a very different speech from four years ago. Four years ago he had a stern, somewhat dark speech for a dark time. This morning, much more optimistic, much more hopeful as I said earlier, a meditation on the Declaration of Independence and you could feel the President almost letting loose in his speech. The first explicit mention ever, I believe, in an inaugural of gay Americans, in the inaugural address. 

DIANE SAWYER: He is talking about a modern American family. He's talking about gay and straight, rich and poor, everyone together. Encapsulated, in a way, in the poet, the Cuban immigrant poet who talked about the mother who rang up the cash register, the father who actually harvested sugar cane. Hispanic, black, white, and he said, over and over again our time. It's our time.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: The President, perhaps thinking of himself as he said "Americans are made for this moment and we will seize it." You could almost hear him talking to himself in that moment. Let me bring in Matthew Dowd, as well. You also heard again and again and again from the President the word "together."

MATT DOWD: Yeah, we heard "we." We heard "our." We heard "shared values" and I think he really tried to capture the unity of this. I don't think– I think this was a great speech for today. I don't think this is a speech that's going to last the ages and if there's ever an Obama memorial, I don't think this speech will be carved into that memorial. But what I was struck most by is how much he leaned into things. He didn't say gay marriage but leaned into it, didn't say immigration reform but leaned way into it and didn't say equal pay for women but certainly leaned way into it and I think he's prepared himself with this speech to say, listen, we're all a country, in this together but we'll have fights among some important things.

...

JON KARL: George, I felt during much of that speech like I was listening to a Democratic Ronald Reagan where Reagan was unapologetically conservative, this was unapologetically progressive, saying we must act collectively. And this was also boundless optimism. I mean, saying "America's possibilities are limitless." This was an effort, I believe, at that kind of optimistic progressivism whereas a Reagan whereas Reagan was your optimistic conservatism.