Elizabeth Smart made her debut as an ABC commentator on Thursday's "Good Morning America." Smart used her first appearance to deliver a message to fellow abduction survivor Jaycee Dugard.
Smart, who was abducted in June 2002 and found and returned home nine months later, told "GMA" co-host George Stephanopolous, "I would tell her just how much I admire her and her courage and her strength for moving forward and not living in the shadow of the past."
When ABC announced the deal to hire Smart last week, the network indicated that her appearances would be “very much focused on looking ahead, not looking back on her own story.” Yet the segment discussed Smart's experience heavily as it drew parallels between Smart and Dugard, including their powerful relationships with their mothers.
When asked to comment on her reaction to her abductor's life sentence, Smart replied, “I certainly have come a long way from June of 2003 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 had indicated that she intended to use her new position to create awareness about cases involving missing children, and she advocated for no cuts to federal funding for children’s issues on the morning show.
Smart's first day comes the same week as Jaycee Dugard's first television interview, which became the highest rated summertime newsmagazine episode since 2004.