ABC, FNC Highlight Dem Senator Menendez Comparing Republicans to Terrorists

   On Saturday morning, FNC’s Fox and Friends Saturday and ABC’s Good Morning America highlighted Democratic Senator Bob Menendez’s assertion that negotiating with Republicans taxes is like negotiating with terrorists. NBC’s Today show included a brief mention, but CBS’s The Early Show and CNN Saturday Morning ignored the New Jersey Democrat’s over-the-top rhetoric.

FNC included a soundbite of Menendez in the opening teaser, as co-host Alisyn Camerota asked if the "hostile words" of Democrats would "hurt negotiations." On ABC, correspondent David Kerley included a clip of the "tough language," and co-host Bianna Golodryga gave Republican Senator Orrin Hatch a chance to respond as the Utah Senator appeared as a guest. Golodryga: " I want to begin by asking your response to that dramatic language we heard from your Democratic counterpart, Senator Menendez, basically calling Republicans terrorists with regards to the process of tax cuts."

FNC began its show:

ALISYN CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. It's Saturday, December 4. Two major tax votes happening today in the Senate, but are the Democrats' hostile words hurting negotiations?

SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): It's almost like the question of: Do you negotiate with terrorists?

CAMEROTA: So much for compromise. Is a deal between lawmakers happening or a lost cause?

Moments later, co-host Clayton Morris introduced soundbites of several Democratic Senators attacking Republicans, and, an hour later, similar clips were used again, including a more extended version of the Menendez quote. Morris described "rhetoric" from Democratic Senators as possibly not having been "fair and measured," and found the words were "raising some eyebrows":

CLAYTON MORRIS, AFTER A JOE BIDEN CLIP: That seems like fair and measured rhetoric there, but what we were hearing yesterday on Capitol Hill may have not been fair and measured. We were hearing from a number of Democratic Congressmen, and they were using some analogies that are raising some eyebrows this morning about Republicans and their votes to extend the Bush-era tax cuts. Take a listen.

MENENDEZ: Do you allow yourself to be held hostage and get something done for the sake of getting something done when, in fact, it might be perverse in its ultimate result? It's almost like the question of: Do you negotiate with terrorists?

SENATOR CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-MO): I will tell you this. If they think it's okay to raise taxes for the embattled middle class because they're gonna pout if we don't give more money to millionaires, it really is time for the people of America to take up pitchforks.

On Today, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie referred to the "language" being "tough" as she included the clip in a report:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: The language is getting tough, from a Democrat referring to Republicans:

SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): It's almost like the question of: Do you negotiate with terrorists?

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of ABC’s Good Morning America, FNC’s Fox and Friends Saturday, and NBC’s Today show from Saturday, December 4:

#From the December 4 Good Morning America on ABC:

DAVID KERLEY: And those latest job numbers, Bianna, will serve as a backdrop for a debate here today. They’ll be talking about tax cuts. The action will be in the Senate as Democrats try to extend the cuts just for the middle class. The language is getting tough, from a Democrat referring to Republicans:

SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): It’s almost like the question of: Do you negotiate with terrorists?

KERLEY: Menendez says that, by demanding that the tax cuts be extended to the rich, too, Republicans are holding the middle class tax cuts hostage. Democrats are desperate. They will also try to raise the tax cuts to cover anyone making up to a million dollars, but Republicans are expected to beat back both efforts.

SENATOR TOM COBURN (R-OK): If we don’t extend the tax cuts, the economy is going to go like that. There’s no question about it.

KERLEY: All this the day after those latest job numbers which even the administration had to admit was worse than expected.

...

GOLODRYGA: I want to begin by asking your response to that dramatic language we heard from your Democratic counterpart, Senator Menendez, basically calling Republicans terrorists with regards to the process of tax cuts.

SENATOR ORRIN HATCH (R-UT): Well, that’s kind of unfortunate, especially since they’ve had four years with overwhelming majorities of both the House and the Senate, and two years with overwhelming majorities in the House and the Senate and the presidency, and they haven’t done a doggone thing, and here we are, one day after they just announced that unemployment has gone up 9.8 percent, almost 10 percent, and if you talk about the underemployment rate, include those who won’t even look for a job now or just given up, you’re talking about over 18 percent, and these people want to raise taxes? I don’t know anybody with any brains who really believes that we should raise taxes during a time like this. And yet, you know, I think Senator Menendez probably wishes he hadn’t said those remarks. They were kind of stupid remarks for somebody as intelligent as he is.

 

#From the December 4 Fox and Friends on FNC:

ALISYN CAMEROTA, IN OPENING TEASER: Good morning, everyone. It’s Saturday, December 4, two major tax votes happening today in the Senate, but are the Democrats’ hostile words hurting negotiations?

SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): It’s almost like the question of: Do you negotiate with terrorists?

CAMEROTA: So much for compromise. Is a deal between lawmakers happening or a lost cause?

...

7:02 a.m.

CLAYTON MORRIS: And there was agreement - bipartisan agreement - in our debate we just had a few minutes ago between Doug Schoen and Bryan Darling, both saying on both sides of the aisle, look, we think a compromise is in the works, and that this jobs report really does fuel the fire for a compromise between the two. Although you wouldn’t know that listening to some of the rhetoric yesterday from Capitol Hill. In fact, many Democrats, a group of Democrats - Claire McCaskill, Chuck Schumer and Bob Menendez - well, we’ll let them speak for themselves. Take a listen.

SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): Do you allow yourself to be held hostage and get something done for the sake of getting something done when, in fact, it might be perverse in its ultimate result?

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Republicans are not for the Tea Party. They’re for the people with sterling silver tea service.

MENENDEZ: Our Republican colleagues are playing Santa Claus for millionaires but Scrooge for the middle class.

SENATOR CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-MO) CLIP #1: If they think it’s okay to raise taxes for the embattled middle class-

MCCASKILL CLIP #2: -it really is time for the people of America to take up pitchforks.

MORRIS: So you hear from the Democrats on that side likening, Bob Menendez , Republican negotiating tactics to terrorists. And then you have, of course, John Boehner on the other side likening what the Democrats were doing as political showmanship or, to use his words, "Democratic leaders continue to insist or wasting time with meaningless votes as they try to make it as difficult as possible to stop their job killing tax hike. Families and small businesses have had enough of politicians in Washington talking about creating jobs while doing everything in their power to kill more jobs... As economists and small business owners have warned, the last thing our economy needs right now is a job-killing tax hike."

...

8:06 a.m.

MORRIS: That seems like fair and measured rhetoric there, but what we were hearing yesterday on Capitol Hill may have not been fair and measured. We were hearing from a number of Democratic Congressmen, and they were using some analogies that are raising some eyebrows this morning about Republicans and their votes to extend the Bush-era tax cuts. Take a listen.

MENENDEZ: Do you allow yourself to be held hostage and get something done for the sake of getting something done when, in fact, it might be perverse in its ultimate result? It’s almost like the question of: Do you negotiate with terrorists?

MCCASKILL: I will tell you this. If they think it’s okay to raise taxes for the embattled middle class because they’re gonna pout if we don’t give more money to millionaires, it really is time for the people of America to take up pitchforks.

#From the December 4 Today show on NBC:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Following the House’s lead, Senate Democrats plan to hold symbolic votes today to extend lower tax rates for middle class families only. But the measure will fail without the support of Republicans, who are holding out for tax relief for all taxpayers, including top earners. On Friday, visibly frustrated Democrats turned up the rhetoric.

SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): It’s almost like the question of: Do you negotiate with terrorists?

GUTHRIE: But Republicans said it was Democrats wasting time.

SENATOR ORRIN HATCH (R-UT): It is too risky for all of our constituents to aim for partisan stunts. The clock is ticking.