ABC's Stephanopoulos Lobbs Softballs to Gibbs; CBS and NBC Provide Challenge
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs made the rounds on the network morning shows on Tuesday, ahead of President Obama's prime time Oval Office address on the Gulf oil spill. While he had confrontational interviews on CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today, on ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos made sure Gibbs's appearance was low-stress.
Stephanopoulos kept the questions bland, giving Gibbs plenty of room to maneuver, and made little effort to press the White House spokesman on the administration's response: "...the President struck a pretty hopeful note yesterday, but experts say this spill will change the ecosystem for a generation....Are they right?...So does the President believe that basically all the oil will stop spilling into the Gulf by the end of June?...Is it fair to conclude from that, that this is the most significant crisis the President has faced?"
By contrast, on CBS's Early Show, co-host Harry Smith began by quoting Florida Senator Bill Nelson saying there was "no command and control" during the crisis and asking Gibbs: "How has this President's most recent trip to the Gulf, how is that going to change any of this?" Smith later wondered why local authorities weren't being allowed to take charge of cleanup efforts, to which Gibbs replied: "I think that's what's happening in almost every instance." Smith quickly interrupted: "...it may sound like it from where you are, but from where we have heard on the other end, it sure doesn't feel like it."