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George Stephanopoulos Endorses White House Strategy That Perry Is a 'Carbon Copy' of Bush

Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Monday touted White House plans to tie Texas Governor Rick Perry to George W. Bush. The former Democratic operative turned morning show host seemed to endorse this strategy, spinning that the Bush equals Perry concept is "already in the popular culture."

Interviewing Jake Tapper, Stephanopoulos explained, "I was talking to a White House official." He added that "their strategy will be to lash whoever gets the Republican nomination" to the Republican Congress and "former President Bush."

A few seconds later, Stephanopoulos asserted, "Already in the popular culture, the idea taking hold that he is a carbon copy of George W. Bush."

ABC then flashed a New York Daily News photo generation of Perry looking into a mirror and seeing the former President staring back at him.

Stephanopoulos didn't ask Tapper about whether there is a statute of limitations on such a plan, given that Bush will have been gone for four years.

Instead, the GMA host put the onus on Perry to prove he isn't the former President: "[Perry] seems to be a little bit sensitive to that, saying that's not the case at all. But, how does he beat it back?"

A transcript of the August 15 segment, which aired at 7:11am EDT, follows:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's bring in our ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd to join us. And, Matthew, let me begin with you. You're a veteran of these Republican nominations fights. And this weekend was a real momentous one. All of a sudden, the race is crystalized. You have three top candidates. Perry, Romney Bachmann. [Audio problem.] I apologize. I think we lost some audio there with Matthew Dowd. So, Jake, let me bring that to you. You were in Iowa, all weekend long for This Week, covering the straw poll and coming out of the weekend, all of those second-tiered candidates really fell by the wayside.

JAKE TAPPER: Well, I would say that's right. Except for Ron Paul whose supporters, there maybe a ceiling on how many supporters you'll have. But, he came very close to winning the straw poll. So, you'll definitely hear from him. And then Rick Santorum, the senator from Pennsylvania, his fourth place showing, based on nothing more, really, than his performance in the debate, no budget whatsoever. You'll hear from him as well. But, I agree, generally, we do have three big candidates.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, in your piece there, you hinted at Rick Perry' ambivalence to getting into the race. But he's also said that his wife Anita convinced him to do it, saying, she told him it was his duty to run because the country is in so much trouble. But, what I want to get to now is how the White House sees Perry and, perhaps the other number one challenger Romney. I was talking to a White House official, their strategy will be to lash whoever gets the Republican nomination to two unpopular institutions: One, the Republican Congress right now and, two, former President Bush.

TAPPER: That's exactly right. Whoever the nominee is, you're going to hear the White House and the Democratic Party saying that person proposing that we go back to the policies that got the country into this economic morass. That is going to be the line of attack, looking at the failed Bush policies, in the White House parlance. And whoever the nominee is, whether it's Bachmann or Romney or Perry, that's going to be what they hang around their neck or try to hang around their neck.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Perry, of course, the biggest unknown now because he's so new to the race. Already in the popular culture, the idea taking hold that he is a carbon copy of George W. Bush. [Onscreen: a photo graphic from the New York Daily News of Perry looking into the mirror and seeing Bush.] He seems to be a little bit sensitive to that, saying that's not the case at all. But, how does he beat it back?

TAPPER: Well, first of all, he is actually an authentic Texan. Born and bred. And George W. Bush, of course, kind of adopted the swagger, having actually been from Connecticut. So, I think Perry will be able to say he's more authentic.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, Jake Tapper, thanks very much. Robin?

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