CBS's Plante: GOP 'Ready to Pounce' On Obama, 'Slammed' Him With ObamaCare Repeal Vote

On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante warned that as President Obama returns from vacation, " the new Republican majority in the House is ready to pounce." Plante went on to declare that the House GOP "slammed" Obama by scheduling a vote to repeal "his signature health care bill" on January 12.

Plante parroted Democratic talking points denouncing the repeal effort: "Senate Democrats fired back in a letter, warning that to do so would be 'irresponsible and reckless at a time when it is becoming harder and harder for seniors to afford a healthy retirement.'" He then concluded: "Both sides know that the House vote is purely symbolic. With no chance that the Senate Democrats will agree to kill health care."

Moments later, Plante touted how Obama made "a presidential offer of cooperation." A clip was played of the President claiming: "I'm willing to work with anyone, of either party, who's got a good idea and a commitment to see it through."

At the top of the show, co-host Erica Hill highlighted Obama denouncing Republicans for playing politics: "...he's hoping to build on some of the accomplishments of the lame duck session. Also saying that he's hoping that the House majority leader and the Senate minority leader, both Republicans, will wait to campaign for 2012, until then. Ouch." Fellow co-host Chris Wragge noted: "It's an emboldened GOP right now."

Later in his report, Plante donned rose-colored glasses, suggesting an impending political comeback for the President: "The new Gallup poll has President Obama's job approval rating back up to 50%, with 42% disapproving. And that, says Hotline's Reid Wilson, is good news." Wilson cheerfully observed: "At this point in his administration, Bill Clinton was under 40%, Ronald Reagan was right at 40%. So, you know, he's already ten points ahead of where Reagan and Clinton were, and they skated towards re-election." Currently, the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls, which includes the latest from Gallup, has Obama's approval at 46.5% and disapproval at 48%.


Here is a full transcript of the January 4 segment:

7:01AM ET TEASE:

CHRIS WRAGGE: The vacation, as we know, is officially over for everyone. Pretty much everyone back to work yesterday. But now, President Obama and the rest of the First Family on board Air Force One, making their way back to Washington today. And when the President lands, Erica, the political landscape, at least in Washington, is going to be markedly different.

ERICA HILL: It will be decidedly different, of course, as Republicans are coming in. Congress is really reporting to work tomorrow. But the President talking on Air Force One on the way home last night saying he's hoping to build on some of the accomplishments of the lame duck session. Also saying that he's hoping that the House majority leader and the Senate minority leader, both Republicans, will wait to campaign for 2012, until then. Ouch.

WRAGGE: It's an emboldened GOP right now, so we'll see exactly what happens there. But a lot of news going to be coming out of Washington in the next couple of days.

HILL: We will have our eyes trained on that.     

7:07AM ET SEGMENT:

WRAGGE: Turning now to politics, President Obama returns to the White House this morning after spending the holidays in Hawaii. And the Washington he left last month, quite different now from the one that he's going to find today. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante has more for us now. Bill, good morning.

BILL PLANTE: Good morning, Chris. Well, there's good news and bad news for the President as he steps off Air Force One today. His popularity rating is up, but the new Republican majority in the House is ready to pounce.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Goodbye Hawaii, Hello Republicans; Obama Returns to DC to Face Energized GOP]

As the President and his family prepared to return from their Hawaiian vacation, Republicans slammed him with the news that the House will vote to repeal his signature health care bill a week from tomorrow. Senate Democrats fired back in a letter, warning that to do so would be 'irresponsible and reckless at a time when it is becoming harder and harder for seniors to afford a healthy retirement.' Both sides know that the House vote is purely symbolic. With no chance that the Senate Democrats will agree to kill health care.

Taking questions on Twitter, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs listed some of the President's priorities. Creating jobs and reducing debt. Add to those, a rewrite of the tax code, education reform, and a new immigration policy. Along with a presidential offer of cooperation.

BARACK OBAMA: I'm willing to work with anyone, of either party, who's got a good idea and a commitment to see it through.

PLANTE: The new Gallup poll has President Obama's job approval rating back up to 50%, with 42% disapproving. And that, says Hotline's Reid Wilson, is good news.

REID WILSON: At this point in his administration, Bill Clinton was under 40%, Ronald Reagan was right at 40%. So, you know, he's already ten points ahead of where Reagan and Clinton were, and they skated towards re-election.

PLANTE: And there are more changes coming in the New Year here at the White House. Former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley is under consideration to be the new chief of staff. The President's 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe will soon move in as a counselor. And the President's expected to name a new head to the National Economic Council, the old Larry Summers' job, in the next few days. Chris.

WRAGGE: CBS's Bill Plante in Washington for us this morning. Bill, thank you very much. A lot of people going to be jockeying for new offices over the next couple of days.

HILL: You think? Just a little movement there.

— Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC