CBS Touts Democratic Strategy Labeling GOP 'Party of Wall Street'

Chip Reid, CBS On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith lamented Republican opposition to the Democrats' financial reform legislation: "The Senate is expected to vote for a third time on financial reform. Republicans blocked the previous two attempts. President Obama says he can't understand why, and plans to make his case once again later today."

In the report that followed, White House correspondent Chip Reid described the Democratic strategy against Republicans:

Of course, both parties have accepted millions of dollars in political contributions from Wall Street over the years. But now Democrats are doing everything in their power to portray Republicans as the party of Wall Street. It's an argument the President believes is especially effective here in the heartland. President Obama was back where it all started, Iowa, this time denouncing Senate Republicans for blocking debate on financial reform.

A headline on screen read: "Presidential Push; Obama Takes on GOP on Financial Reform."

On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric asked congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes about the Democratic posturing: "Republicans blocked the bill again today. Is this Harry Reid's plan? Hold a vote to bring the bill to the floor for debate every day and then force the Republicans to vote against that?" Cordes replied: "Democrats say they have a number of tactics planned to try to force Republicans to keep negotiations going behind the scenes. They think Republicans don't want to make too many more of these 'no' votes, which they believe paint Republicans as the party of Wall Street."

Couric then declared: "President Obama's doing all he can to portray Republicans as the party of Wall Street as he travels to the heartland. Over two days, he's visiting Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri, states where Democrats are facing tough contests in upcoming congressional elections." In a report similar to that on the Early Show, Chip Reid explained: "the White House believes that's a message that really resonates across the country, but especially here in the battleground states of the Midwest."
            
Reid highlighted how "At the top of the agenda is jobs....At a factory in Fort Madison, Iowa, the President....made no secret of the fact that the success of this plant is largely due to a $3.5 million tax credit from the stimulus bill." However, he also pointed out Obama critics: "protesters say it's offensive for the President to brag about creating jobs when unemployment in this town is 9.5%. Small business owner Randy Bradley says the President's policies are killing private-sector job creation."

Concluding the report, Reid declared: "Tomorrow, the President takes his jobs and financial reform message to small towns in Illinois and Missouri. I think it's fair to say that for the President, the midterm campaign has begun." It would seem that CBS is already on board with the campaign slogan.

Here is a full transcript of Reid's Wednesday Early Show report:
7:08AM

HARRY SMITH: The Senate is expected to vote for a third time on financial reform. Republicans blocked the previous two attempts. President Obama says he can't understand why, and plans to make his case once again later today. CBS News chief White House correspondent Chip Reid is traveling with the President and joins us from Des Moines this morning. Good morning, Chip.

CHIP REID: Well, good morning, Harry. Of course, both parties have accepted millions of dollars in political contributions from Wall Street over the years. But now Democrats are doing everything in their power to portray Republicans as the party of Wall Street. It's an argument the President believes is especially effective here in the heartland. President Obama was back where it all started, Iowa, this time denouncing Senate Republicans for blocking debate on financial reform.

[ON SCREEN HEADLINE: Presidential Push; Obama Takes on GOP on Financial Reform]

BARACK OBAMA: It's one thing to oppose reform. But, to oppose just even talking about reform in front of the American people, and having a legitimate debate, that's not right.

REID: Senate Republicans unveiled their alternative bill, which would force creditors and shareholders to take responsibility for dismantling large banks, create a council to ensure large banks don't take advantage of consumers, and restrict assistance to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

JUDD GREGG: I think a lot of other people would like to see this bill improved and that's why we're opposing going forward with the bill in its present form until we're allowed to participate in the negotiations on improving it.

REID: Meanwhile, the top of the President's agenda continues to be jobs. On this two-day campaign-style swing through the Midwest, that the President calls his 'White House to main street tour.'

OBAMA: Our economy is finally growing again. Our markets are climbing. Our businesses are beginning to create jobs again.

REID: Today, the President continues his swing through the Midwest with stops in small towns in Missouri, where he'll talk about jobs, and southern Illinois, where he'll talk about the need to pass financial reform. Harry.

REID: Chip Reid in Des Moines this morning. Thanks so much.
Here is a full transcript of Reid's Tuesday Evening News report:
6:35PM

Katie Couric and Chip Reid, CBS KATIE COURIC: Meanwhile, President Obama's doing all he can to portray Republicans as the party of Wall Street as he travels to the heartland. Over two days, he's visiting Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri, states where Democrats are facing tough contests in upcoming congressional elections. Our chief White House correspondent Chip Reid is traveling with the President, and Chip, I know financial reform wasn't the first thing on the agenda, but in Iowa today, it certainly came up.

CHIP REID: Well, it sure did, Katie. At this town hall in Ottumwa, Iowa, the President had some unusually harsh words for Republicans.

BARACK OBAMA: I just want to let them debate it. And you know, you've learned these Senate rules are complicated. So they won't even let it get on the floor to be debated. It's one thing to oppose reform, but to oppose just even talking about reform in front of the American people and having a legitimate debate, that's not right.

REID: Now, the White House believes that's a message that really resonates across the country, but especially here in the battleground states of the Midwest. But as you said, Katie, financial reform is not at the top of the agenda on this trip. At the top of the agenda is jobs, and that has not been an easy sell. At a factory in Fort Madison, Iowa, the President was so fascinated by wind turbine blades that he asked perhaps one too many questions.

OBAMA: And then you inject the resin?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That's proprietary, that's our secret.

OBAMA: Shhh.

[LAUGHTER]

REID: But he made no secret of the fact that the success of this plant is largely due to a $3.5 million tax credit from the stimulus bill.

OBAMA: Just a few short years ago, this facility was dark, it was quiet, nothing was going on. And today it's alive and humming with more than 600 employees.

REID: But in Ottumwa, Iowa, protesters say it's offensive for the President to brag about creating jobs when unemployment in this town is 9.5%. Small business owner Randy Bradley says the President's policies are killing private-sector job creation.

RANDY BRADLEY: This unprecedented federal spending has tightened credit markets because every dollar they spend they have to tax or borrow out of the private economy.

REID: Tomorrow, the President takes his jobs and financial reform message to small towns in Illinois and Missouri. I think it's fair to say that for the President, the midterm campaign has begun. Katie.

COURIC: Chip Reid traveling with the President in Iowa tonight. Chip, thank you.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC