CBS’s Schieffer Trumpets Coburn’s ‘Candor’ on Willingness to Hike Taxes, Rues Others Lack Such ‘Courage’

Previewing Tuesday’s Early Show town hall meeting with Republicans on the economy, CBS’s Bob Schieffer, who pushes his Face the Nation guests to agree taxes must be raised, hailed a Republican, Senator Tom Coburn, for expressing a willingness to include a tax increase in deficit negotiations.

After dismissing the Republicans CBS assembled -- Monday afternoon at the Newseum -- for how they “pretty much stuck to the Republican line: Low taxes and cutting the deficit will eventually lead to economic growth,” Schieffer championed: “But it was Coburn who may have won the prize for candor.” Viewers then heard Coburn declaring: “I’ll stand up as a conservative Republican, one of the biggest deficit hawks in Congress, and say ‘I'll negotiate on taxes’ -- because our country’s in trouble.”

A pleased Schieffer gushed: “That is not the first time we have heard someone offer that analysis but it may be the first time a Member of Congress has been willing to admit that Congress simply lacks the courage to do what everyone knows needs to be done.”

On Face the Nation in February, Schieffer implored New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: “You have a reputation as a straight talker, I think. Do you believe that the budgetary problems across this country can be resolved without raising taxes?” In April, he pressed GOP Congressman Paul Ryan: “Do you think that we can solve the deficit problem without raising taxes in some way?”

From the Monday, June 13 CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley:

BOB SCHIEFFER: After the CBS News town hall with President Obama, this was the chance to get the Republican side of things. South Carolina Governor Nickey Haley, Florida Congressman Alan West, Congressman Paul Ryan, architect of the House budget plan, and Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn pretty much stuck to the Republican line: Low taxes and cutting the deficit will eventually lead to economic growth, and that will increase jobs. Ryan said what's been tried so far just hasn't worked.

CONGRESSMAN PAUL RYAN: Remember what the stimulus was to do. It was to keep unemployment from going above 8 percent. We're at 9.1, we went as high as 9.8 percent.


SCHIEFFER: But it was Coburn who may have won the prize for candor.

SENATOR TOM COBURN: I'm convinced that Washington is, the main focus is short-term political expediency. And the reason our country’s at risk is because we think short term and about the next election rather than thinking about the future of our country. You know, the reason I'll stand up as a conservative Republican, one of the biggest deficit hawks in Congress, and say “I'll negotiate on taxes” -- because our country’s in trouble.

SCHIEFFER: Scott, that is not the first time we have heard someone offer that analysis but it may be the first time a Member of Congress has been willing to admit that Congress simply lacks the courage to do what everyone knows needs to be done. You can hear all of it on The Early Show tomorrow.

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