Schieffer Calls Anti-Tax Pledge a ‘Problem,’ Presses Republican and Democrat to Raise Taxes

Highlighting Grover Norquist’s upcoming appearance on 60 Minutes, CBS’s Bob Schieffer, on Face the Nation, pointed to the anti-tax hike pledge Norquist asks politicians to sign as “one of the problems” undermining the failed “super-committee.”

After ruing the pledge with Republican Senator Pat Toomey, a super-committee member, Schieffer later also hit a Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin, from the left on taxes: “Would you be willing to raise taxes if that’s what it takes to get our financial footing?” Manchin: “You don't need to raise taxes.”) 

Schieffer fretted to Toomey:

One of the problems, Senator, is that so many Republicans -- I think 238 Congressmen, 48 Senators, including one Democratic Senator, Ben Nelson, and two Democratic Representatives, plus all of the GOP candidates including yourself, Huntsman did not -- signed a pledge sponsored by this group called the Americans for Tax Reform.

The CBSNews.com promotion for the November 20 edition of 60 Minutes similarly holds Norquist culpable: “60 Minutes interviews Grover Norquist, the anti-tax lobbyist many blame for holding up the deficit reduction process - Watch Steve Kroft's report on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.”

(Schieffer did at least also confront West Virginia’s Manchin with a GOP point: “Let me tell you what some Republicans say. They say the President has stood back because in his secret heart of hearts he really wants this to fail so he can bash the Republicans for it to get re-elected.”)

From June: “CBS’s Schieffer Trumpets Coburn’s ‘Candor’ on Willingness to Hike Taxes, Rues Others Lack Such ‘Courage’”

Schieffer with Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey on the Sunday, November 20 Face the Nation:

BOB SCHIEFFER: As a member of this super committee, you actually proposed a modest increase in revenues by eliminating loopholes and some deductions. Some people are calling that a tax increase in exchange for some serious spending cuts and some reform that went nowhere. One of the problems, Senator, is that so many Republicans -- I think 238 Congressmen, 48 Senators, including one Democratic Senator, Ben Nelson, and two Democratic Representatives, plus all of the GOP candidates including yourself, Huntsman did not -- signed a pledge sponsored by this group called the Americans for Tax Reform. Now this is a group headed by Grover Norquist. He’s not a household name but people in Washington are clearly afraid of him. It just so happens that our friend Steve Kroft interviewed Grover Norquist and they’re going to do a story about him tonight on 60 Minutes. Let's just get a little sample of Grover Norquist here.

60 MINUTES EXCERPT
STEVE KROFT: You make it pretty clear, if someone breaks the pledge you’re going to do everything you can to get rid of them.

GROVER NORQUIST: To educate the voters that they raise taxes. Again, we educate people-

KROFT: To get rid of them.

NORQUIST: To encourage them to go into another line of work, like shoplifting or bank robbing, where they have to do their own stealing.

KROFT: You’ve got them by the short hairs.

NORQUIST: The voters do, yeah.
END 60 MINUTES EXCERPT

SCHIEFFER: So there you are. Now you did actually sign that pledge, the Grover Norquist pledge. But you were willing to go ahead and put this plan out on the table. I think he said that if your plan was actually enacted, it would be poison.

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