As Elizabeth Smart Strives to Look Forward, ‘GMA’ Looks Back on her Story

By Chris Ariens Comment

Elizabeth Smart made her debut as an ABC News contributor this morning with a set-up piece and interview with George Stephanopoulos. At the age of 14 in 2002, Smart was kidnapped and held for 9 months. She was found with her kidnappers less than 20 miles from her home in Utah in March of 2003.

When her hire was announced last week, ABC made it clear that Smart’s appearances would be, “very much focused on looking ahead, not looking back on her own story.”

But this morning, Stephanopoulos asked her, in the context of the Jaycee Dugard relationship with her mother, how Smart’s mother helped her survived the trauma of being kidnapped.

“For me, my mom pointed out that I could live in the past; that I could hold on to what this man did to me and how he hurt me, and I could feel sorry for myself, or I could choose to not give another minute of my life to this man and move forward and follow my dreams.”

He also asked about the end of the legal process in her case: “I certainly have come a long way from June of 2003,” said Smart, mistaking the year. It was 2002. “And I try to always be looking forward…try to always have hope for the future. But it certainly was nice to have the verdict come out, know that it was done, have it be an ending.”

Smart, now 23, also advocated for no cuts to federal funding for children’s issues. She also gave a shout out to her new TV partners: “I am thrilled to be working with ABC. I think there is a real power in partnering up and I really believe that we can do some good together.”

Video after the jump…