CBS Takes Jabs at GOP Tax Plans, Reports Dem Plans Without Criticism

Thursday's CBS Evening News took a look at the economic and tax plans for some of the candidates from both parties, but, while Democratic plans were reported without any references to criticism, correpondent Chip Reid took jabs at Republican tax cut plans, labeling that of Mitt Romney, who "made a fortune in business," as being "right out of the playbooks of Ronald Reagan and George Bush." Reid further suggested that Mike Huckabee's plan for a national sales tax contradicts his "populist" message of "protecting the middle class," as the CBS correspondent neglected to mention that Huckabee's plan would also abolish the federal income tax and provide rebates to those with lower incomes. (Transcript follows)

After leading with a story on the possibility of a recession developing this year, Katie Couric introduced the night's second story: "Of course, for the next 53 weeks, the economy is President Bush's problem, but voters want to know what the candidates who may succeed him would do about it. Here's Chip Reid to tell us."

Reid began by contending that for most Republican candidates, "the answer to every question about the economy begins with cutting taxes." Then, as Reid relayed Romney's plan to "cut corporate taxes and keep tax cuts for the wealthy," the CBS News correspondent mentioned that Romney "made a fortune in business," possibly suggesting that his motives may be of self-interest. Reid: "Mitt Romney, who made a fortune in business, wants to cut corporate taxes and keep tax cuts for the wealthy, cuts he says will stimulate the economy and create jobs."

Reid then referred to cutting taxes as being "right out of the playbooks" of Reagan and Bush, which could be interpreted as suggesting the plan is primarly one of political strategy. Reid: "It's a plan right out of the play books of Ronald Reagan and George Bush -- an approach also being followed by Rudy Giuliani, who this week unveiled what he calls his multitrillion dollar tax cut, which includes slashing corporate tax rates by 10 percent."

After mentioning that John McCain wants to cut federal spending, Reid moved to Huckabee's plan for a national sales tax. But instead of describing Huckabee's "fair tax" plan to abolish the federal income tax, the potential benefits of taxing consumption instead of income, or the plan to provide rebates to those with lower incomes to make the sales tax progressive, Reid characterized the plan as contradicting Huckabee's desire to "protect the middle class" as he vaguely cited the opinions of "many economists."

CHIP REID: "Mike Huckabee sounds like a populist, someone who's all about protecting the middle class, recently taking this swipe at Mitt Romney.

MIKE HUCKABEE: People are wanting to elect a President that reminds them of the guy they work with, not the guy that laid them off.

REID: But Huckabee wants a national sales tax, which many economists say would increase taxes on the middle class and cut taxes for the rich.

Reid went on to report economic plans of Democrats Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards without mentioning any potential down sides to raising the minimum wage or to raising taxes on the wealthy. Reid: "The Democrats' economic game plan is dramatically different. ... They say what's needed is help for the middle class, not for corporations and the wealthy."

Below is a complete transcript of the story filed by Chip Reid from the Thursday January 10 CBS Evening News:

KATIE COURIC: Of course, for the next 53 weeks, the economy is President Bush's problem, but voters want to know what the candidates who may succeed him would do about it. Here's Chip Reid to tell us.

CHIP REID: For most of the Republican candidates, the answer to every question about the economy begins with cutting taxes.

MITT ROMNEY: I want to make the Bush tax cuts permanent.

REID: Mitt Romney, who made a fortune in business, wants to cut corporate taxes and keep tax cuts for the wealthy, cuts he says will stimulate the economy and create jobs. It's a plan right out of the playbooks of Ronald Reagan and George Bush -- an approach also being followed by Rudy Giuliani, who this week unveiled what he calls his multitrillion dollar tax cut, which includes slashing corporate tax rates by 10 percent. John McCain also holds himself out as a disciple of Ronald Reagan -- not so much on taxes but on cutting spending.

JOHN MCCAIN: He used to say, "Congress spends money like a drunken sailor, only I never knew a sailor drunk or sober with the imagination of Congress."

REID: For years, McCain has argued that cutting the deficit is one of the keys to economic health. Mike Huckabee sounds like a populist, someone who's all about protecting the middle class, recently taking this swipe at Mitt Romney.

MIKE HUCKABEE: People are wanting to elect a President that reminds them of the guy they work with, not the guy that laid them off.

REID: But Huckabee wants a national sales tax, which many economists say would increase taxes on the middle class and cut taxes for the rich. The Democrats' economic game plan is dramatically different.

HILLARY CLINTON: I think the economy is slipping toward a recession.

REID: They say what's needed is help for the middle class, not for corporations and the wealthy.

BARACK OBAMA: Opportunity and bottom-up economic growth is what the President should be fighting for.

REID: All three Democrats call for tax cuts for the middle class, eliminating tax cuts for the wealthy, and a big boost in the minimum wage. But they differ in the details. Hillary Clinton proposes tax credits for savings accounts, Barack Obama wants automatic payroll deductions for retirement savings, and John Edwards wants the rich to pay more taxes.

JOHN EDWARDS: Is it good for working middle class Americans? That's the question.

REID: And with the economy becoming such a huge issue in this campaign, how voters respond to those various economic plans could very well make the difference in which candidate makes it all the way here to the White House.