ABC Notes Dem Refusal to Budge on Medicare, CBS Gives Impression Dems Willing to Cut
On Friday’s World News on ABC, correspondent Jonathan Karl took a moment to go beyond the budget debate between House Republicans and President Obama with the GOP unwilling to support a tax increase, and noted that House Democrats have also been just as resistant to voting for cutting the growth of Medicare spending. But the same night's CBS Evening News focused on Republican reluctance to support some of the budget proposals and even gave the impression at one point that congressional Democrats were willing to curtail Medicare growth.
On ABC, after recounting some of the Republicans who have resisted voting for budget plans that have been brought up, Karl continued:
That's what you might call a "my way or the highway" approach. But Democrats are playing that game, too. The President says he wants a deal that includes cuts to popular entitlement programs like Medicare, but listen to what Nancy Pelosi told us when we asked her about cutting Medicare.
Then came a clip of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asserting, "Absolutely not."
Last Sunday, Karl had even suggested to World News viewers that Democrats were refusing to vote for Medicare changes so they could use Medicare against Republicans to make gains in Congress.
By contrast, on Friday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid focused on Republican reluctance to support the President’s plan, and even played a clip of President Obama suggesting that Republicans are "just posturing and trying to score political points":
CHIP REID: If the Republicans continue to refuse to compromise on taxes, the President said voters will remember in next year's elections.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I think what the American people are paying attention to is who seems to be trying to get something done, and who seems to be just posturing and trying to score political points.
After noting an option floated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the CBS correspondent added: "But it's not clear even that plan can pass the House where conservative freshmen like Allen West of Florida say it's dead on arrival because it doesn't slash spending."
After Reid’s report failed to mention the refusal of House Democrats to vote for Medicare changes, anchor Scott Pelley gave the impression that Democrats in Congress would be willing to cut Medicare spending as he informed viewers:
Medicare and Medicaid are 21 percent of the federal budget. Social Security is 20 percent. Together they're nearly half. Add defense at 20 percent and interest on the debt at 6 percent, and both Democrats and Republicans agree that you can't get the savings you need from what's left.
#Below are complete transcripts of the relevant reports from the Friday, July 15, World News on ABC, and the same day’s CBS Evening News :
#From ABC’s World News :
DIANE SAWYER: So we asked Jon Karl of ABC to break it down and tell us why it is so hard to cut a deal.
JONATHAN KARL: Welcome to Washington, a place where, right now, it seems, nothing can be done.
SENATOR BOB CORKER (R-TN): Everyone one of us is an accomplice in causing this great nation to decline, every single one of us.
KARL: Congress today looked like a bad game show.
REP. TED DEUTCH (D-FL): This is the wheel of misfortune that we have to avoid getting to.
KARL: The key number, 217, the votes needed to pass a debt deal in the House. Republicans are now in charge, but they don't have 217 votes to pass any deal, not even the last ditch option offered by Republican Mitch McConnell that would allow the President to raise the debt ceiling, but to put Republicans on record opposing it. Tea Party Republicans are saying no way to McConnell. There’s no way you'll do that, even if Mitch McConnell says it's the only option?
REP. ALLEN WEST (R-FL): Mitch McConnell is not the only person with a brain here in Washington, D.C.
KARL: After more than a week of sniping, the two Republican leaders in the House say they’ve made peace, but not the rank and file. Republican Paul Broun says he wants the debt ceiling lowered, not raised. If your leadership comes to you and says, "Look, we have to vote to raise this debt ceiling," what do you do?
REP. PAUL BROUN (R-GA): I vote no.
KARL: No matter what?
BROWN: No matter what. I think it's wrong.
KARL: That's what you might call a "my way or the highway" approach. But Democrats are playing that game, too. The President says he wants a deal that includes cuts to popular entitlement programs like Medicare, but listen to what Nancy Pelosi told us when we asked her about cutting Medicare. Are cuts in benefits on the table?
NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: No.
KARL: Absolutely not?
PELOSI: Absolutely not.
KARL: With so many red lines being drawn, the bottom line right now, Diane, is that no plan has the votes to pass.
#From the CBS Evening News :
SCOTT PELLEY: For the first time in six days, there was no meeting at the White House today among the leadership trying to find a way to head off a U.S. government default. The President tried one more time today to persuade Republicans to raise taxes, and our chief White House correspondent Chip Reid was there. Chip?
CHIP REID: Well, Scott, five straight days of meetings failed to produce an agreement, so today the President made one last plea for a grand bargain.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We have a unique opportunity to do something big. We have a chance to stabilize America's finances for a decade.
REID: If the Republicans continue to refuse to compromise on taxes, the President said voters will remember in next year's elections.
OBAMA: I think what the American people are paying attention to is who seems to be trying to get something done, and who seems to be just posturing and trying to score political points.
REID: The President said he's willing to put everything on the table, including Democratic sacred cows like Social Security and Medicare, even raising the possibility of higher Medicare premiums for upper income seniors. In return, he called on Republicans to agree to tax hikes on corporations and wealthy Americans as part of a deal to cut deficits by $4 trillion over the next decade. Republican Speaker John Boehner says there is no chance of that.
JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE SPEAKER: There can be no tax hikes because tax hikes destroy jobs.
REID: Boehner blamed the President for the impasse.
BOEHNER: We asked the President to lead. We asked him to put forward a plan. Not a speech, a real plan.
REID: With economic catastrophe looming, the President said he's now open to the possibility of what some in Congress call plan B, a deal to raise the debt limit first and work on a debt deal later.
OBAMA: If Washington operates as usual and can't get anything done, let's at least avert Armageddon.
REID: But it's not clear even that plan can pass the House where conservative freshmen like Allen West of Florida say it's dead on arrival because it doesn't slash spending.
REP. ALLEN WEST (R-FL): Like I said, that dog don't hunt.
REID: Despite obstacles at every turn, the President says he's still hopeful the logjam will break over the weekend.
OBAMA: I always have hope. Don't you remember my campaign?
REID: The President said he still has hope because of the common sense of the American people, but, Scott, with the two sides so deeply divided, it's going to take a lot more than hope and common sense to get a deal.
PELLEY: Chief White House correspondent Chip Reid. Thanks, Chip. You know, a lot of folks have asked us why they're going after Medicare and Social Security to cut spending. Well, have a look at this. Medicare and Medicaid are 21 percent of the federal budget. Social Security is 20 percent. Together they're nearly half. Add defense at 20 percent and interest on the debt at 6 percent, and both Democrats and Republicans agree that you can't get the savings you need from what's left.