Nets Paint GOP as Obstinate, Highlight Failure to Offer ‘Mea Culpa’ or Match Obama’s ‘Peace Offering’

Covering President Barack Obama’s White House meeting with congressional leaders, ABC and CBS portrayed incoming House Republicans as the ones obstinate about tax rates, refusing to compromise – meaning agreeing to Obama’s wish to raise income tax rates on many – or match Obama’s conciliatory tone, though NBC’s Chuck Todd pointed out how Obama “seemed unwilling” to even agree with a Democratic proposal to raise “the middle-class tax threshold from $250,000 to those Americans making more than $1 million.”

ABC’s Jake Tapper reported “Obama pushed Republicans today to allow Congress to vote separately on Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and on those for everyone else,” but, he noted, “Republicans rejected that idea.” He concluded with how “Obama told the Republicans” that “he should have reached out more to them over the previous two years. Republicans,” however, “who oppose the President's domestic agenda lock-step, offered no such mea culpa.”

On CBS, Chip Reid, who relayed how Obama “did offer an olive branch, taking some responsibility for partisan tensions” while “Republicans did not return the peace offering,” contended: “Republicans, with their hands strengthened by the election victory, appeared even less inclined to bend than the President.”

Reid elaborated: “To drive home that no-compromise message on tax cuts, [John] Boehner later issued a statement insisting that the President must agree to ‘stop all the tax hikes’ or ‘the new House majority will in January’ when Boehner will be Speaker of the House.”

Tapper, on ABC’s World News:

....President Obama pushed Republicans today to allow Congress to vote separately on Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and on those for everyone else. But Republicans rejected that idea...

President Obama told the Republicans at the meeting that he should have reached out more to them over the previous two years. Republicans, who oppose the President's domestic agenda lock-step, offered no such mea culpa.

Todd, on the NBC Nightly News:

...At the top of today's agenda, the so-called Bush- era tax cuts and whether they should be extended for both the middle class and wealthiest Americans. There were no breakthroughs, but Republicans agreed to President Obama’s suggestion to have a small six-person working group negotiate on their behalf a suitable compromise.

But the White House seemed unwilling to back one Democratic idea, raising the middle-class tax threshold from $250,000 to those Americans making more than $1 million...

From the Tuesday, November 30 CBS Evening News:

CHIP REID: ...The President did hint at compromise.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We agreed that there must be some sensible common ground.

REID: But in the meeting stuck to his position. He says wants the tax cuts extended for couples making less than $250,000 a year and for individuals making less than $200,000. But he wants the cuts to expire for upper-incomes. To break through the logjam, the President proposed and congressional leaders agreed, to appoint a bi-partisan team of negotiators. But Republicans, with their hands strengthened by the election victory, appeared even less inclined to bend than the President.

INCOMING HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: And so we're looking forward to the conversation with the White House over extending all of the current rates.

REID: To drive home that no-compromise message on tax cuts, Boehner later issued a statement insisting that the President must agree to “stop all the tax hikes” or “the new House majority will in January” when Boehner will be Speaker of the House. The President did offer an olive branch, taking some responsibility for partisan tensions.

REP. ERIC CANTOR: I was encouraged by the President's remarks regarding his perhaps not having reached out enough to us.

REID: But Republicans did not return the peace offering...

— Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center