CBS Validates and Rationalizes Obama’s Strategy to Defeat ‘Controversial’ Ryan Plan

“Critics say it’s about time” for President Barack Obama to offer his plan to reduce the deficit, CBS’s Chip Reid acknowledged Tuesday night before he proceeded to rationalize Obama’s disengagement, validated by CBS’s in-house political analyst. Reid asserted: “Political analysts say the President had good reason to wait. He wanted the Republicans to go first and they did last week when influential Congressman Paul Ryan released his controversial plan.” CBS News political analyst John Dickerson proposed:

The President needed Paul Ryan's House budget plan to use as a foil for his own argument about what government should do, what government priorities are. He will say that the Ryan plan does not match up with American values.

Indeed, Reid contended the White House saw “an irresistible opportunity to portray Republicans as callous and extreme.”

Viewers then heard from former Time magazine Washington Bureau Chief Jay Carney who, in his new position as Obama’s Press Secretary, denounced Congressman Paul Ryan’s plan: “It places all the burden on the middle-class, on seniors, on the disabled, on people in nursing homes.”

The CBS Evening News, of the broadcast evening network newscasts, was the only one on Tuesday night to preview Obama’s Wednesday budget speech at my alma mater, George Washington University.

From the Tuesday, April 12 CBS Evening News:

KATIE COURIC: The entire country is on something of a collision course with more than $14 trillion in debt. Tomorrow, chief White House correspondent Chip Reid reports, the President will explain what he plans to do about it.

CHIP REID: In recent months, President Obama has repeatedly promised to tackle the nation's long-term debt, including the massive entitlement programs.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Including programs like Medicare and Medicaid which are the single biggest contributor to long-term deficits.

REID: But he's refused to offer his own plan. That will finally change Wednesday when he unveils his so-called vision on cutting the debt. Critics say it's about time.

SENATOR MITCH McCONNELL: But at least the President is joining in the conversation. Hopefully that conversation is an adult one.

REID: But political analysts say the President had good reason to wait. He wanted the Republicans to go first and they did last week when influential Congressman Paul Ryan released his controversial plan.

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: In a sense, the President needed Paul Ryan's House budget plan to use as a foil for his own argument about what government should do, what government priorities are. He will say that the Ryan plan does not match up with American values.

REID: Over time, the Ryan plan would convert Medicare from an insurance program for seniors into a less-generous subsidy and would put a cap on Medicaid which serves the poor, saving about $750 billion over ten years. To the White House, it's an irresistible opportunity to portray Republicans as callous and extreme.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It places all the burden on the middle-class, on seniors, on the disabled, on people in nursing homes.

REID: While giving few details, the White House says the President's plan will trim Medicare and Medicaid with a scalpel not a machete and while the Ryan plan cuts tax rates for the top bracket from 35 to 25 percent, the President is expected to repeat his call for the wealthy to pay more. But Republicans predict the President will follow what they call a familiar pattern, cutting too little and taxing too much. House Speaker John Boehner today threw down the gauntlet, declaring that “tax increases are unacceptable and are a non-starter.”

Some liberals are also up in arms, even before the speech is delivered. One organization is urging its members to refuse to contribute to the President's campaign if he cuts Medicare or Medicaid. Katie?

— 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