CBS: GOP 'Vilified' ObamaCare; 'What's the Point' of Repeal Vote?

On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric was dismissive of a vote by House Republicans to repeal ObamaCare as she asked congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes: "There is no chance this repeal will succeed, it's a largely symbolic measure. So what's the point?" Cordes described it as "the first step in their long-term effort to wipe this health care law off the books."

Cordes proclaimed that "The party line vote capped a vigorous debate....In which Republicans vilified the health care law, and Democrats exalted it." However, only seconds earlier in the report, an image appeared on screen of the House of Representatives vote tally, showing that three Democratic members of Congress joined Republicans in voting for repeal. No sound bites of those three Democrats were featured.

In a brief moment of balance, Cordes noted a particularly vicious attack by Democrat Steve Cohen of Tennessee during the floor debate: "A tentative agreement to tone down the rhetoric was shattered when one Democrat likened Republican claims about the law to Nazi propaganda." What Cordes left out was the fact that Cohen also used the phrase "blood libel" in his rant, something which CBS attacked Sarah Palin for just days earlier. On the January 13 Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid claimed that Palin "ignited a new controversy by using the term" in her Facebook video response to the Tucson shooting.

As NewsBusters' Scott Whitlock reported earlier, Wednesday's NBC Nightly News skipped Cohen's outrageous comments completely.

Cordes quickly went back to focusing on the tone of Republicans: "The most vocal critics of the law were the dozens of new Republican members who made repeal a top campaign promise." She added that "Democrats called the repeal vote pure politics."

Concluding the segment, Cordes asserted the futility of the repeal effort: "House Republicans say that the law is just too flawed, that tweeks aren't enough, and that they want to draft legislation to replace it. But as long as Democrats control the Senate, neither the repeal nor the replacement have any chance of becoming law."


Here is a full transcript of the segment:

6:35PM ET

KATIE COURIC: Now to a different issue involving big money. Late today, the new Republican-controlled House voted to repeal health care reform. Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes is on Capitol Hill tonight. Nancy, there is no chance this repeal will succeed, it's a largely symbolic measure. So what's the point?

NANCY CORDES: Well, Katie, Republicans will contend that this was absolutely not for show, that it was just the first step in their long-term effort to wipe this health care law off the books.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [REPUBLICAN MEMBER OF CONGRESS]: On this vote, the yeas are 245, the nos 189. The bill is passed.

CORDES: The party line vote capped a vigorous debate.

MICHELE BACHMANN [REP. R-MN]: ObamaCare, as we know, is the crown jewel of socialism.

CORDES: In which Republicans vilified the health care law, and Democrats exalted it.

MIKE PENCE [REP. R-IN]: When you order every American to buy health insurance, whether they want it or need it or not, that's a government takeover of health care.

ANTHONY WEINER [REP. D-NY]: Really? Who's taking over what health care plan? Who? We're offering people tax incentives – small businesses tax incentives to go buy private insurance plans.

CORDES: A tentative agreement to tone down the rhetoric was shattered when one Democrat likened Republican claims about the law to Nazi propaganda.

STEVE COHEN [REP. D-TN]: You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, and eventually people believe it. The Germans said enough about the Jews, and the people believed it, and you had the Holocaust.

CORDES: The most vocal critics of the law were the dozens of new Republican members who made repeal a top campaign promise.

TODD ROKITA [REP. R-IN]: The people of Indiana sent me to Washington D.C. with very specific instructions – get the government out of our lives.

CORDES: Democrats called the repeal vote pure politics.

ELIOT ENGEL [REP. D-NY]: The American people want us to work together. This is not the way to do it. If there's a problem with the bill, we should tweak it.

CORDES: House Republicans say that the law is just too flawed, that tweeks aren't enough, and that they want to draft legislation to replace it. But as long as Democrats control the Senate, neither the repeal nor the replacement have any chance of becoming law. Katie.

COURIC: Nancy Cordes on Capitol Hill tonight. Nancy, thank you.

— 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