ABC’s George Stephanopoulos has stopped trying to predict what Donald Trump is going to do. “To make any predictions about Donald Trump, I think we’ve all learned, is a fool-hearty enterprise,” he says. One of those predictions: that Trump will appear on stage Monday night, the first night of the Republican National Convention here in Cleveland.
As lead anchor for ABC’s RNC coverage, Stephanopoulos will have an all-day, front row seat to the proceedings. And it all got underway this morning as Stephanopoulos anchored This Week from ABC’s skybox at the Quicken Loans Arena. We caught up with him after the show:
TVNewser: So this is like coming home for you.
Stephanopoulos: It is coming home, I went to high school here. My family was here for about 8 years. Love it here. Actually, saw a friend last night. Going to see some high school friends today.
TVNewser: Of the TV news anchors covering this, you’re going to have some particularly long days. Good Morning America in the mornings, and anchoring ABC’s 10 p.m. special. How are you managing that, knowing you’ll do it again next week in Philly?
Stephanopoulos: Part of it is that it’s exciting here, so that helps. I guess I’ve just learned how to manage my sleep. But I’ll break the day up into 4-hour shifts. That’s the way I think about it.
TVNewser: In the middle of the day day you’ll be doing some breaking news updates?
Stephanopoulos: Yes, breaking news updates. [RNC chairman] Reince Priebus didn’t discount the possibility that there could be some disruptions.
TVNewser: How are you guys prepared to do that from a TV standpoint?
Stephanopoulos: We’ll just make it work the way we always do. We’re all ready to go at any moment. Although it was a little hairy getting in here today. I had an interview scheduled with John Kerry for 6:45 so I got here in what I thought that was plenty of time, at 6:05 and we saw a line around the block because they hadn’t opened up the mags (security checks) yet. But we made it just in the nick of time.
Stephanopoulos: We’re certainly hoping for members of the Trump family and other big convention speakers day by day. A lot will depend on the news we see. But it’s hard to predict. This is Donald Trump’s convention and he’s clearly in control of it, he’s going to do what he wants to do when he wants and it sure appears like he’s going to speak tomorrow night, which is kind of unprecedented.
TVNewser: The last time that there was a decent third party candidate was 1992, which you remember very well, do you think there is a viable third party candidate this time around?
Stephanopoulos: In our latest poll out today with the Washington Post, putting in Gary Johnson [Libertarian] and Jill Stein [Green Party] doesn’t seen to change the final outcome, he got around 8 percent, she got around 3 percent. We’ll see how that changes after the conventions. I think the big difference was Ross Perot got in the debates in 1992 because he was polling higher.
TVNewser: Do you think Gary Johnson would? Or what would it take for the commission to do that?
Stephanopoulos: It would take a solid 15 percent for a while for him to be able to do that, and right now he’s not there but we have several months to go.
TVNewser: Speaking of those debates, would you like to moderate one of them?
TVNewser: Have they called?
Stephanopoulos: It would be great. We’ll see. I don’t know.