CBS Hypes: Obama on Same Side as Tea Party on Budget Cuts

On Thursday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante seized on a rare instance in which the Obama administration and conservative members of Congress happened to agree on a single budget cut: "It's not very often that the Obama administration finds itself on the same side as Tea Party Republicans when it comes to spending."

The spending in question was funding for the production of jet engines for F-35 fighter aircraft. As Plante described it: "Defense Secretary Gates and the President say it's not necessary. And so do fiscal conservatives." He also noted that cancelling the project was "a defeat for House Speaker John Boehner....Part of it would have been made in his district." The on-screen headline read: "Budget Battle; GOP Fiscal Hawks Torpedo Boehner Pet Project."

News reader Jeff Glor introduced Plante's report by claiming the cut was "a budget win for the President." Neither Glor nor Plante described it as win for the Tea Party or conservatives.  

Instead, Plante went on to tout liberal criticism of other cuts proposed by the GOP: "Republicans are trying to cut as much as $100 billion, targeting everything from funding for public broadcasting....to funding for the new health care law." A clip was played of Democratic Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey declaring: "Republicans have tilted the fiscal scales in favor of big oil at the expense of Big Bird." That was followed by a clip of new White House Press Secretary Jay Carney proclaiming: "...we cannot support arbitrary or irresponsible or deep cuts that undermine our ability to grow the economy."

The only Republican sound bite in the story was that of Florida Congressman Tom Rooney speaking out against the F-35 engine project in Boehner's district, no Republicans were featured criticizing the President's budget proposal.

Here is a full transcript of the February 17 segment:

7:13AM ET

JEFF GLOR: On Capitol Hill, another budget battle. The House begins its third day of debate on this year's federal spending bill. Yesterday, a budget win for the President, with some unlikely help. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante has details on that. Bill, good morning.

BILL PLANTE: Good morning to you, Jeff. That's right. It's not very often that the Obama administration finds itself on the same side as Tea Party Republicans when it comes to spending.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Budget Battle; GOP Fiscal Hawks Torpedo Boehner Pet Project]

The battle over this year's $1.2 trillion budget included a defeat for House Speaker John Boehner. He backed the F-35 engine program. Part of it would have been made in his district. But Defense Secretary Gates and the President say it's not necessary. And so do fiscal conservatives.

TOM ROONEY [REP. R-FL]: This isn't about parochial interests. For us standing here, this is about what we can afford, and what we cannot afford anymore.

PLANTE: It was one of a series of votes as the House tries to wrap up the spending bill to fund the government for the rest of this fiscal year. Republicans are trying to cut as much as $100 billion, targeting everything from funding for public broadcasting-

ED MARKEY [REP. D-MA]: Republicans have tilted the fiscal scales in favor of big oil at the expense of Big Bird.

PLANTE: To funding for the new health care law. Jay Carney, Mr. Obama's new press secretary, giving his first White House briefing, echoed the White House line.

JAY CARNEY: Without getting into specifics, I think that the President has made clear that he doesn't, you know, we cannot support arbitrary or irresponsible or deep cuts that undermine our ability to grow the economy.

PLANTE: The House could vote today on that spending bill, which keeps the government running through early March, but the Senate isn't likely to take it up until next month, and not likely to go along anyway. That means the government could shut down unless, of course, they agree to put temporary funds in there to keep it going. It's what you could call business as usual. Jeff.

GLOR: Okay, Bill, thank you very much.

— 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