Former Bill Clinton presidential adviser Dick Morris accused ABC News commentator George Stephanopoulos of being a “paid Democratic hitman.”
In a segment on the Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” program, Morris further contended Stephanopoulos was “under orders” to question Republican presidential front-runner Gov. Mitt Romney about contraception during the Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire last month hosted by the ABC News personality.
Morris stated on Sean Hannity’s show:
Obama did not make a mistake in this mandate. It’s a deliberately calculated move on his part. The Democrats realize that abortion is no longer a winner for them. It used to be 10 points more pro-choice than pro-life, now it’s 10 points more pro-life than pro-choice, possibly because of the publicity of the anti-abortion people, possibly because of the aging of the population. But the point is that it’s a loser issue. So what they’re trying to do now is replace it with contraception.
So the first piece of evidence was after Santorum won Iowa; the first controversy was, “Do you think states should have the right to ban contraception?” Where did that come from? Then you remember that ABC debate with that paid Democratic hitman George Stephanopoulos went after Romney trying to. …
When Hannity asked whether Stephanopoulos was acting under “direct orders,” Morris replied, according to a Newsbusters transcript:
Under orders. And I think, and now he comes out with this thing on contraception. They want to create the idea, and it’s no coincidence, that he came out with it after Minnesota and Colorado which was Santorum’s victories. They want to create the impression that the Republicans will ban contraception, which is totally insane, but they’re floating it out and they’re bringing it out there. And this move on Obama’s part was part of injecting that issue.
While Stephanopoulos may not be getting paid as a Democrat operative, the television host has a previously undisclosed connection to President Obama – the two were part of a small group at Harvard University that met for a period of three years purportedly to promote involvement with U.S. community institutions.
The project and its relationship with Obama was exposed in the book “Red Army: The Radical Network that must be defeated to save America,” by reporters Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott.
Participants at the research project, which took place between 1997 and 2000, included scores of individuals with ties to Obama, including several activists who were later appointed to positions in the Obama administration. Other participants were instrumental in promoting Obama’s political career.
Stephanopoulos is best known as the chief political correspondent for ABC News and the co-anchor of the ABC morning news program “Good Morning America.” He also returned last month as host of the Sunday morning news program “This Week.”
Prior to joining ABC News, Stephanopoulos was a senior political adviser to the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign of Bill Clinton and later served as Clinton’s White House communications director for two years.
However, an overlooked detail of Stephanopoulos’ work history is his participation alongside Obama in Harvard’s Saguaro Seminars, a long-term research project aimed at significantly increasing Americans’ connectedness to one another and to community institutions.
Saguaro’s signature effort was the 1997-2000 dialogue “on how we can increasingly build bonds of civic trust among Americans and their communities.” The dialogue resulted in a study being published in 2000 recommending Americans participate more with community groups.
In “Red Army,” Klein and Elliott detail how the idea for the Saguaro Seminars begins with author Robert D. Putnam, who is attributed with charting the “decline of civil engagement in the USA over the last 30 years or so.”
In a January 2001 review of “Bowling Alone,” David Moberg explains at In These Times, a socialist-style magazine, that Putnam defines social capital as connections among individuals and “‘community’ adapted to a large-scale capitalist society.”
Social capital, Moberg explains, is “more abundant in small communities than in big cities, but networks that constitute social capital develop in churches, unions, PTAs, neighborhood clubs, fraternal organizations and even bowling leagues (which have declined in the United States, thus ‘bowling alone’).”
“[At Saguaro Seminars] we find a number of people who have either been instrumental in promoting Obama’s agenda or have used their positions of influence on his behalf,” write Klein and Elliott.
In 1992 Obama served on the founding board of Public Allies, an organization dedicated to training a cadre of community organizers. Public Allies cofounders Vanessa Kirsch and Katrina Browne, at Obama’s suggestion, interviewed his wife, Michelle Obama, to head a new Chicago office. Michelle Obama served as executive director from spring 1993 until fall 1996.
Obama left the Public Allies board when Michelle was hired, although he served on the Public Allies national board from 1997, when both he and Vanessa Kirsch participated in the Saguaro Seminars.
A second Saguaro Seminar member close to Obama is Rev. Bliss W. Browne. In December 1995, Browne’s United Imagination Network, also called Imagine Chicago, a collective of five elementary schools and one high school, was one of the first 35 school networks and their partners to receive school improvement funds from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, or CAC.
The CAC was founded by former Weather Underground domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, who served as the group’s director. With Ayers, Obama served as president of the CAC board of directors from 1995 to 1999. He continued as a member of the board until 2002.
Also at the Saguaro Seminars with Obama and Stephanopoulos was Martha Minow, then-dean of Harvard Law School.
Minow is the daughter of Newton Minow, the former chairman of the FCC, who serves as senior counsel at the Chicago firm Sidley Austin. It was Martha Minow who reportedly recommended Sidley hire Obama for a summer job in 1989, after his first year of law school.
Martha Minow told Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown in late August 2008, “So we were in the midst of one of our intensive discussions about civic engagement. … And after one of these ranging discussions, across the political sectors, he (Obama) did this tour de force summary. We just said, ‘When are you running for president?’ It became a joke. We started to nickname him ‘governor.’”
Obama named another fellow Saguaro Seminar member, Xavier de Souza Briggs, in January 2009 to serve as associate director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Briggs served as a team leader on the Obama-Biden transition team for the Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Housing Finance Board, and Interagency Council on Homelessness Review.
Also at Saguaro Seminars with Obama and Stephanopoulos was the Rev. Jim Wallis, publisher of Sojourners magazine.
Obama appointed Wallis as to his Advisory Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, where Wallis served a one-year term.
Obama and Wallis became close at the Saguaro Seminars, Eli Saslow wrote in January 2009 in the Washington Post. Wallis told Saslow: “We hit it off. We had very similar ideas about how faith could contribute to public life. He wanted that to be a major part of his career going forward.”
Wallis is a socialist activist who has championed communist causes and previously labeled the U.S. “the great captor and destroyer of human life.”
The Associated Baptist Press described Wallis as a “politically progressive evangelical and longtime advocate for the poor.” The Huffington Post identified him as a “Christian author and social-justice advocate.”
Wallis began his activism as a protester and then later Michigan leader of the Students for a Democratic Society, the 1960s anti-war group from which Ayers’ Weather Underground domestic terrorist organization splintered.
Sojourners’ official “statement of faith” urges readers to “refuse to accept [capitalist] structures and assumptions that normalize poverty and segregate the world by class.”
Discover the Networks notes how Sojourners originally formed a socialist commune in Washington, D.C., where members shared finances and launched anti-capitalist activism.
Saguaro Seminar member William Julius Wilson, meanwhile, also has ties to Obama.
“Red Army” relates that Wilson participated in the Feb. 25, 1996, town hall meeting on “Economic Insecurity” at the Ida Noyes Hall at the University of Chicago. The meeting, titled “Employment and Survival in Urban America,” was sponsored by the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), University of Chicago DSA Youth Section and University Democrats.
Panelists for the meeting included both Wilson and Obama, who was then running for the 13th Illinois Senate District seat.
Wilson was a member of the National Advisory Council of the Social Democrats USA (SD/USA). Like the DSA, the SD/USA is a member of the Socialist International, the world’s largest socialist group.
Obama’s favorite correspondent?
Stephanopoulos, meanwhile, has conducted a number of exclusive interviews with Obama.
In May 2007, 13 weeks after Obama announced his candidacy in Springfield, Ill., Stephanopoulos conducted Obama’s first Sunday morning interview.
On Jan. 27, 2008, a second interview centered on Obama’s primary win in South Carolina.
Four months later, on April 17, 2008, Stephanopoulos defended his questions asked of Obama about Bill Ayers during the recent Democratic presidential debate:
Also that year, Stephanopoulos hosted a presidential debate during which he asked Obama about his ties to Ayers.
On Jan. 10, 2010, Obama gave Stephanopoulos an exclusive retrospective on his first year in office. In his second interview of the year with Stephanopoulos, on April 9 on “Good Morning America,” after he had signed the START treaty, Obama slammed Sarah Palin – after Stephanopoulos set up a question for Obama to tee off:
Politico reported in January 2009 that Stephanopoulos “has daily strategy and message chats with former Clinton administration alumni: Rahm Emanuel – Obama’s White House chief of staff – and CNN pundits Paul Begala and James Carville.”
The Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell asked at the time, “What’s worse than the liberal media’s sycophantic coverage of President Barack Obama? ABC’s George Stephanopoulos actively helping design and deliver the Administration’s strategy and message – which he is then charged with reporting.”
In an exclusive interview on Oct. 4, 2010, Stephanopoulos and Obama discussed the Democrat rendition of a jobs bill and Congress’ failure to pass it all or nothing.
Last spring, on April 13, Stephanopoulos scored another exclusive interview with Obama to discuss the deficit and the nation’s finances.