Birther-Obsessed George Stephanopoulos Forces Michele Bachmann to Gaze at Obama's Certificate
By: Scott Whitlock
Wednesday, April 20, 2011 12:49 PM EDT

Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday continued to obsess over the birther issue, foisting Barack Obama's certificate of live birth onto guest Michele Bachmann. Holding up a copy, the co-host lectured, "It's certified. It has got a certification number. It has got the registrar of the state signed. It has got a seal on it."

After Bachmann replied that the document "settles" things, an anxious Stephanopoulos followed-up, "So, it's over? This story is over." The last time the Republican congresswoman appeared on GMA, February 17, 2011, the co-anchor insisted on similar declarations from Bachmann: "Can you just state very clearly that President Obama is a Christian and he is a citizen of the United States?"

GMA has repeatedly hyped and fixated on the birther issue. Yet, the ABC program has not required that liberals denounce 9/11 truther conspiracies.

Stephanopoulos also raised another of his favorite topics: Lobbying Republicans to support tax increases.

Citing an ABC poll suggesting Americans would be fine with raising taxes on the wealthy, the host pushed, "Well, let's talk about the poll numbers, just out this morning. That seems to be very strong support for President Obama's position in this budget fight and a rebuke of the House Republican position."
Told by Bachmann that a 100 percent tax on those making over $250,000 would only fund the government for six months, Stephanopoulos retorted, "But every bit helps, doesn't it?"

A transcript of the April 20 segment, which aired at 7:11am EDT, follows:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn now to our latest ABC News/Washington Post poll detailing how all of you believe America should deal with the debt crisis. And there's some bright lines. 72 percent Of Americans support raising taxes on households with income over $250,000 a year. And nearly 80 percent oppose cuts in Medicare spending. And now, to get some perspective on this and more, I want to welcome Michele Bachmann into the studio. She's a founding member of the Tea Party caucus in the House and is right now actively looking at running for President in 2012. Good morning. In fact, you're just back from New Hampshire. How did it go?

MICHELE BACHMANN: I am. Good morning. Good to see you. It went great. It was so much fun. Beautiful up there.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, let's talk about the poll numbers, just out this morning. That seems to be very strong support for President Obama's position in this budget fight and a rebuke of the House Republican position.

BACHMANN: I think if you look at those numbers, that would be accurate. But I don't think that totally reflects where the American people are coming from. First of all, if we tax 100 percent of what everyone made who make $250,000 or more, that would that- everything they made- that would get us about six months'-

STEPHANOPOULOS: But every bit helps, doesn't it?

BACHMANN: Well, but it wouldn't be enough. I think that's what's shocking. We could take 100 percent of the profits of every Fortune 500 company and that would give us 40 days worth of revenue. We could also take 100 percent of everything that the billionaires in this country own and that wouldn't be enough to solve the problem. So, it's really a matter of having everyone involved. Part of the problem, George, is 47 percent of all Americans pay virtually no federal income tax. We need to broaden the base.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, you say that everyone needs to be involved. And I think that's reflected also in those numbers. A lot of Americans look at those numbers and say it's wrong for seniors who rely on Medicare to get cuts when wealthy people get tax cuts extended.

BACHMANN: Well, and I think again that's- President Obama was the one who was behind the tax cut extension bill in December. That was his position. And I would agree with senior citizens. We're very concerned. And I think that's why a better name maybe for the Paul Ryan budget would be the 55 and Under plan. Because no one 55 years of age or older will see any change whatsoever to Medicare. That's an extremely crucial piece of information. So, we don't want any senior citizen to feel- or near-senior citizen- I'm 55 years old. And, so, it wouldn't apply to me, either. There are no changes to people who are 55 years of age or older.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But as the Congressional Budget Office has said that everybody else would have their premiums go up in the future. I do want to get on to a few other subjects Donald Trump was on this program yesterday. He seems to be at the center of the Republican debate right now. He is at eight percent in our latest poll. You're down at one percent. Karl Rove and other Republicans call him a joke.

BACHMANN: That means we have room to grow. [Laughs]

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've got room to grow. Sarah Palin had praise for him. Do you take his candidacy seriously? 

BACHMANN: I think it's up to Donald Trump if he takes his candidacy seriously. Certainly, he has a good foothold with a lot of people in the United States. I think they're intrigued by him and what he has to say.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He continues to raise these questions about the President's birth status. And last night, you were on Fox News suggesting that the President should come forward with his birth certificate as well.

BACHMANN: Well, what I've said about that. I was asked the question about that. And Republicans are constantly asked to vouch for the authenticity of the birth certificate. The only one who can is the clerk of court in the county where someone is born. And that's where people should go. Don't ask Republicans. Go ask the clerk of court.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No, no. One of your supporters, actually, in the state of Iowa has put forward a bill that would require presidential candidates to file their birth certificate with their candidacy. Do you support that?

BACHMANN: Well, Governor Jan Brewer just vetoed that bill in Arizona. Because she felt it was a bridge too far. It wouldn't be up to the authenticators in each state to do that. That would be a federal issue. There's a federal piece of legislation that hasn't gone anywhere that would require candidates put forward their birth certificate. I have no problem giving my birth certificate. It wouldn't bother me at all. I've got one. It's authenticated. Take it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, but so does the President. According to the bill, "a candidate for president or vice president candidate shall attach to and file an affidavit a copy of the candidate's birth certificate certified by the appropriate official in the candidate's state of birth.

BACHMANN: That's right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I have the President's certificate right here. [Holds up Obama's certificate of live birth.]  It's certified. It has got a certification number. It has got the registrar of the state signed. It has got a seal on it. And says "this copy serves as prima facie evidence in any court proceedings."

BACHMANN: Well, then that's what should settle it. That-

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, it's over?

BACHMANN: That's what should settle it. I take the President at his word and I think for- again- I would have no problem and apparently the President wouldn't either. Introduce that. We're done. Move on.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, this has been introduced. So, this case- This story is over.

BACHMANN: Well, as long as someone introduces it, I guess it's over.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It's right there.

BACHMANN: Yep. There you go.


BACHMANN: Because that is not the main issue facing the United States right now. The main issue facing the United States is dealing with our debt and deficit.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you've been to Iowa. You've been to New Hampshire. You've been to South Carolina.

BACHMANN: South Carolina.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I was going to say. You beat me to it. You say you're going to make a decision by June. What is your decision on whether to run going to hinge on?

BACHMANN: Well, both my husband and I as a family, and the whole team putting this together, we have to be assured that there's a path to victory. And we have to feel this is the right thing to do at the right time. It isn't just me that's impacted. It's our family. It's the children. It's a lot of moving parts. You've been involved in these endeavors. It's not a small endeavor. I've never done anything rashly. I've started a business. I've been a tax lawyer. We've raised 23 foster kids, 5 kids. So, you have to figure a pathway to success. That's what we're doing right now. And once we feel confident we have the building blocks in place.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What's the biggest hurdle?

BACHMANN: Well, making sure, again, like a good foundation on any business you build, you want to make sure that you're not going to put all that capital and lose the capital. We started a successful business. That's what we're trying to do. Make sure we have all the elements needed. I did raise more money than any other candidate in the first quarter.


BACHMANN: That's a very important piece. A person has to raise money to be successful. And we met that hurdle.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, come back when you're ready to make the decision.


— Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

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