Hyperbolic John Berman on Newt vs. Romney: 'Boom!' 'Political Shivs' Are Coming Out
All three morning shows on Tuesday hyped the fight between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, but it was snarky John Berman who offered the most hyperbolic take, exclaiming on "Good Morning America," "Boom! Boom!"
The opinionated journalist offered inflamed rhetoric to describe the nomination battle, saying that the attacks follow "24 hours of political shivs and sharp elbows." Berman narrated the fight between Romney and Gingrich with glee: "Boom! Gingrich responded...Boom! The Romney camp responded...Boom! Boom!"
Is Berman always so tough on presidential contenders? No.
On July 1, 2008, he whined about then-candidate Obama having to defend himself: "Well, you would think a man elected to the U.S. Senate, who is the Democratic nominee for president of the United States, would not feel a need to defend his love for America."
Berman usually saves his snide comments for Republicans. On January 29, 2008, he mocked Romney's last presidential run: "Here in Florida, sometimes it seems Mitt Romney isn't running so much to be president, as the chairman of the economics department."
Over on NBC's "Today," Chuck Todd covered the same ground, but managed to be less over-the-top: "Mitt Romney is retooling his strategy for the Republican nomination now that he's the underdog. He's focusing a lot of attacks on frontrunner Newt Gingrich..."
On CBS's "Early Show," Jeff Glor asserted the race was getting "personal." Nancy Cordes noted, "Republican leaders are worried that this particular fight could end up hurting whoever wins the nomination, because these two men are going after each other over the millions that they earned in the private sector."
A transcript of the December 13 GMA segment can be found below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now to politics. Your voice, your vote. And with exactly three weeks to go before the first votes, the race for the Republican nomination has taken an explosive turn. Falling behind, Mitt Romney, unleashes his first personal attacks against front-runner Newt Gingrich and Gingrich fired back with his most fierce attacks yet. James Carville and Matt Dowd are standing by to weigh in on where this goes next. And ABC's John Berman is here to start us off. Hey, John.
JOHN BERMAN: Good morning, George. You know, this morning, Newt Gingrich is sending a letter telling supporters to, quote, "avoid initiating attacks on other Republican candidates." Good luck. This comes after what he calls a frank exchange with Mitt Romney. Frank exchange, another way to say bringing it. Overnight, Newt Gingrich claimed to be calling a truce.
NEWT GINGRICH: I'll release a letter, indicating our determination to run a positive campaign.
BERMAN: We'll see. This follows 24 hours of political shivs and sharp elbows. It started when Mitt Romney suggested Newt return the $1.6 million he earned from mortgage giant Freddie Mac.
ROMNEY: That would make him the highest paid historian in history.
BERMAN: Boom! Gingrich responded.
GINGRICH: If Governor Romney wants to return all of the money he's earned on bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, then I would be glad to listen to him and I'll bet you $10, not 10,000, that he won't take the offer.
BERMAN: Boom! The Romney camp responded. With video of Newt's own words.
GINGRICH: Governor Romney in his business career created more jobs than the entire Obama cabinet.
BERMAN: Boom! Boom! This is how campaigns work. They all know that.
ROMNEY: There's no whining in politics.
BERMAN: Then Romney won't mind other candidates were piling on his now infamous-
ROMNEY: $10,000 bucks?
BERMAN: -$10,000 bet.
RICK SANTORUM: I was a little taken aback by it.
BERMAN: Rick Santorum was even trying to raise money off of it. The Democrats gleefully joined in, printing a Mitt Romney $10,000 bill. But Romney found a defender in Herman Cain.
HERMAN CAIN: I don't think that that was the gaffe of the century.
BERMAN: But Gingrich is taking hits, too. From Ron Paul.
RON PAUL AD: Newt Gingrich was a career politician. Selling access, here, in Washington, D.C.
BERMAN: But there are those having a little fun with it all.
CONAN O'BRIEN: Yeah, when asked to comment, Mitt said, "I'm sorry, but that's all I had in my pocket at the time."
BERMAN: As for Newt's call for a sort of truce, one Romney insider said to me overnight, "Newt Gingrich should tell that to Newt Gingrich." And another Romney supporter said, they hope drawing newt into confrontations will bait him into saying something he'll regret. But, George, that is pretty risky."
— Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.