Fact: When you put ABC host George Stephanopoulos and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a room together, it makes for hysterical television. In an interview this week on Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos's commitment to conducting a serious conversation runs afoul when confronted with the Iranian leader's unpredictable conjectures.
Stephanopoulos wants Ahmadinejad to clear up allegations that Osama bin Laden is hiding in Iran. Sounds like an easy enough denial to produce, right? Wrong.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is Osama bin Laden in Tehran?
AHMADINEJAD: Your question is laughable.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Why?AHMADINEJAD: The U.S. government has invaded Afghanistan in order to arrest Bin Laden. They probably know where Bin Laden is.
Straying from the subject, Stephanopoulos and Ahmadinejad proceed to argue about U.S. intelligence. Stephanopoulos gets back on topic:
STEPHANOPOULOS: What I think is that you didn't answer my question. Is he in Tehran or not?
AHMADINEJAD: ...Maybe you know, but I don't know.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm asking you. You're the President of Iran.
AHMADINEJAD: I don't know such a thing, you are giving news which is very strange.
Stephanopoulos brushes himself off and tries again. This time he is
rewarded with a truly mystifying comment from Ahmadinejad.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, let me ask it a different way. If you did know that Osama bin Laden was in Tehran, would you show him hospitality? Would you expel him? Would you arrest him?
AHMADINEJAD: I heard that Osama bin Laden is in the Washington, D.C.
STEPHANOPOULOS: No, you didn't.
AHMADINEJAD: Yes, I did. He's there. Because he was a previous partner of Mr. Bush. They were colleagues in fact in the old days. You know that. They were in the oil business together. They worked together. Mr. Bin Laden never cooperated with Iran but he cooperated with Mr. Bush--
Clearly agitated, Stephanopoulos asks him one more time:
STEPHANOPOULOS: You deny categorically that he's in Tehran today? He is not-- Osama bin Laden is not in Tehran today?
AHMADINEJAD: Rest assured that he's in Washington. I think there's a high chance he's there.
Well that's a relief. To think, we were more concerned that Stephanopoulos would transform GMA into a serious show.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.