Blog Posts by George Stephanopoulos

  • My Bottom Line: Mitt Romney's Trap

    What a week in politics. This Republican primary is full of surprising twists and turns, even for someone who has been watching politics as long as I have. So, this week for the Bottom Line I asked you on Twitter and Facebook what you want to talk about and - no surprise here - Rick Santorum's clean sweep Tuesday night was the most popular topic. I received many questions asking how it happened  and what does it mean for the general election?

    Here's my Bottom Line: Santorum took advantage of an opportunity and left Florida and Nevada to campaign instead in Colorado and Minnesota.  And as Mitt Romney said, Santorum was able to "reap the rewards of that approach" when he won those states.

    But Santorum's victory was also about what Mitt Romney has not done: win the hearts of conservative Republican voters. They don't quite trust him yet. And as one Republican strategist said to me, "if Mitt Romney can't put away this field, how can he beat President Obama?"

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  • Gingrich Says Romney 'Misled' Country

    He has called Mitt Romney a "liar" who "misled the entire country" in last week's debate. But that won't keep Newt Gingrich from endorsing Romney should he become the Republican nominee for president.   "I think reelecting Obama is a disaster and I'll certainly endorse the Republican nominee. But I think that Mitt Romney will have a very, very hard time differentiating himself [from Obama]," Gingrich told me this morning on "GMA."   Gingrich, who only a week ago was riding high from his South Carolina victory, is now plunging in the polls. T he front page of USA Today shows Gingrich trailing Obama by 14% while Romney is in a statistical tie with the president.   But in the 24 hours before Floridians hit the polls Gingrich is making his case against nominating a man who he thinks is too moderate for the electorate.   "We nominated a moderate in 1996, he got beaten badly. We nominated a moderate in 2008, he got beaten badly. I know that the

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  • White House adviser: Expect 'very specific' economic blueprint from Obama tonight

    Mitt Romney's tax releases show he earned more than $42 million over two years and paid approximately a 14% effective tax rate- the same as someone earning an annual salary of $70,000.

    Romney said he pays all his taxes and not a dollar more. The White House says this proves we need to change our tax code.

    "I do think it raises a general point about our tax system here," Senior White House Advisor David Plouffe told me on "GMA."

    "The point is we need to change our tax system. We need to make sure that middle class workers are not paying more in effective tax rates than people making $ 40, $50, $100 million a year. So we have rules of the road in place right now. I'm sure Mitt Romney tried to follow them. The question is we just need change in our tax code so that everybody is doing their fair share," he added.

    Plouffe said ensuring everyone pays their "fair share" is how the administration will grow a strong economy - a theme President Obama will highlight in tonight's State of

    Read More »from White House adviser: Expect 'very specific' economic blueprint from Obama tonight
  • Newt Gingrich Wants Freddie Mac Records Released Before Florida Primary

    In response to lobbying accusations from his opponents Newt Gingrich told me it would be "very helpful" if his former company, Center for Health Transformation, released the consulting contract he had with mortgage giant Freddie Mac before the Florida primary on January 31.

    "I think it would be very helpful and our attorneys are talking with the company. You know I left the company so, it's their decision and Nancy Desmond, the president of the company, has to make the decision. But I'd be very comfortable releasing them," he said.

    Since Gingrich won Saturday's South Carolina primaryMitt Romney has upped the attacks on the former Speaker. In Florida last night Romney questioned the work Gingrich did for Freddie Mac and asked for him to release those records.

    "Over the last, what, 15 years, since he left the House, he talks about great bold movements and ideas. Well, what's he been doing for 15 years? He has been working as a lobbyist. He was working as a

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  • New Hampshire Predictions

    Mitt Romney is expected to take home a win in New Hampshire tonight, but the bigger story could be who comes in second, ABC News' political contributor Matt Dowd said on "GMA."

    "I actually think what could easily happen today is because of what's happened with Mitt Romney and the surge I think you're seeing in independent voters is Jon Huntsman could finish second," Dowd told me.

    "That would be a really big story. He was fourth or fifth here a week ago," the former Bush strategist said.

    Romney might have helped Huntsman when he told a crowd in Nashua yesterday that he likes "being able to fire people."

    Although Romney was referring to insurance companies, Dowd pointed out that the campaign is seeing people coalesce around one message against Romney - the same message the Democrats are likely to jump on should he become the GOP nominee.

    "All the other candidates are saying the exact same thing. All attacking him on Bain, all saying he's out of touch,

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  • Mitt Romney on Rick Santorum: He Focused on Iowa, I'm Running A National Campaign

    The winner of last night's Iowa caucuses dismissed the runner-up, Rick Santorum, as someone who doesn't have the organization to win the nomination or the right experience to create jobs as president.

    "We have very different backgrounds. I spent my life, the first 25 years in the private sector. I know a great deal about how jobs are created, how they come and how they go, and I think Rick has spent most of life in governmental sector. Nothing wrong with that experience, but it's very different I think if you want to get the economy going again," Romney told me on "GMA."

     

    Romney only beat Santorum by eight votes, and he outspent the former Pennsylvania senator by a 50 to 1 margin on television ads - something the former Massachusetts governor said was because he's focusing his efforts on a national campaign.

    "Rick has focused his effort, and I think in a wise way, entirely on Iowa. I have been campaigning in other states, putting together the kind organization which I believe

    Read More »from Mitt Romney on Rick Santorum: He Focused on Iowa, I'm Running A National Campaign
  • Rick Santorum on Mitt Romney: 'We Cannot Put Up A Presidential Candidate' Who Is Same as Obama on Healthcare

    Rick Santorum's top opponent in Iowa is Mitt Romney and the biggest argument against a President Romney is healthcare, the former Pennsylvania senator told me.

    "This has been a debate about health care, that's what the behemoth of government, the signature issue is Obamacare.  We cannot put up a presidential candidate who is in basically in the same place as Obama on government-run healthcare" Santorum said on "GMA."

    He acknowledged that he supported Romney in 2008 but said there was only "one question" about healthcare in a debate four years ago. This year it's one of the biggest issues. 

    The latest Des Moines register poll showed that Santorum is gaining momentum heading into the caucuses and he told me he's confident he'll "do very well tonight."

    The former Senator spent the majority of his campaign in the Hawkeye state, held hundreds of town hall meetings and visited all 99 counties. But if he wins tonight he'll be up against a well funded Romney in New Hampshire, who has

    Read More »from Rick Santorum on Mitt Romney: 'We Cannot Put Up A Presidential Candidate' Who Is Same as Obama on Healthcare
  • Iowa Predictions

    With that Des Moines Register poll showing a surge for Rick Santorum, Matt Dowd predicted an Iowa win for Santorum on GMA.

    As for me, I'll go with Mitt Romney - his team knows the ropes, and late breakers like to go with the man they believe will be the nominee. But in this crazy year, I wouldn't be surprised by either Santorum or Ron Paul.

    Here's the video from GMA:

     

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  • Karl Rove: Romney's Attacks 'Flailing,' Long GOP Primary Hurts Obama

    Karl Rove thinks Mitt Romney probably should have begun attacks on Newt Gingrich much earlier in the presidential campaign, he told me on Good Morning America. But Rove is not convinced that a drawn out primary will hurt Republicans and he said a fight for their nomination could create a better nominee to face President Obama.

    Rove said he is not very impressed with the attacks that Romney has launched so far. Today  he described them as "flailing" so far.

    "The rise of Gingrich in the polls has caused the Romney people to reconsider their campaign strategy. My suspicion is they're all looking at themselves saying why didn't we start this weeks ago?" Rove said this morning.

    "Yesterday I think the attack was sort of flailing. lets see if the Romney campaign gets a little more focused," he said.

    Gingrich surged to the front of polls in the Republican presidential early this week and  now Mitt Romney has launched a barrage of attacks against the former House Speaker, including the

    Read More »from Karl Rove: Romney's Attacks 'Flailing,' Long GOP Primary Hurts Obama
  • Gabby Giffords 'Would Like' to Run for Congress, Mark Kelly Says He Won't

    Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is focused on getting better right now, but is still considering a run for Congress in 2012, according to her husband Mark Kelly.  However, if her injury prevents a reelection bid, Kelly said he doesn’t want to take her place.

    “I don’t think so,” Space Shuttle Commander Kelly said, when I asked if he would run for the Arizona seat.

    “No. I want her to get better. And my job is to make sure that she can recover so she can go back to her career serving her constituents in southern Arizona. So I’m working everyday towards that goal,” he said on “ GMA.”

    Kelly said his wife “would like to run” in 2012, but hasn’t made a decision yet.

    “She has some time and you know she has to do this on her own schedule and decide in her own way,” he said.

    While Giffords recovers from a gunshot wound to the head, her staff and supporters are already laying the groundwork for a reelection bid. Kelly told his wife that she’ll know when it’s right for her to make that

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