CBS Omits How Obama Broke Campaign Promise on Tax Hikes

On Thursday's CBS Evening News and Friday's Early Show, CBS glossed over President Obama's aim to break a campaign promise with a proposal to raise taxes on people who make less than $250,000 a year. Both Chip Reid and Bill Plante noted that "the White House is also insisting on...a limit on deductions for people...making more than $200,000 a year," but didn't reference the Democrat's 2008 tax pledge.

Near the end of his report, which aired 44 minutes into the 6 pm Eastern hour, Reid highlighted the Obama administration's push for tax hikes:

REID: Democratic sources familiar with the negotiations say the President now wants more than $400 billion in tax increases as part of the deal. The biggest piece by far- $290 billion- would come from limiting deductions for couples making more than $250,000 a year and individuals making more than $200,000, who the President referred to in yesterday's press conference as millionaires and billionaires.

Just over 12 hours later, the senior White House correspondent gave a similar line during his report on the stalemate in the budget/debt ceiling talks and named other tax increase proposals:

Bill Plante, CBS News Senior White House Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgPLANTE: Bipartisan talks, led by Vice President Biden, have identified more than a trillion dollars worth of spending cuts over ten years. But the White House is also insisting on revenue increases- a limit on deductions for people the President called millionaires and billionaires, would apply to anyone making more than $200,000 a year, and raise $290 billion over ten years; a change in accounting practices, 60 billion [dollars]; elimination of oil and gas loopholes, 45 billion; elimination of an interest deduction for hedge funds, 20 billion; elimination of the corporate jet loophole, 3 billion; a total over ten years: 418 billion.

During the first presidential debate between Obama and Senator John McCain on September 26, 2008, the then-candidate promised that "if you make less than $250,000, less than a quarter-million dollars a year, then you will not see one dime's worth of tax increase." That very night, after the debate concluded, ABCNews.com actually pointed out that "Obama misleads on $250,000 tax claim," explaining that "Obama has called for higher taxes on income, capital gains and dividends for individuals making $200,000 per year; his tax plan imposes higher taxes on couples starting at $250,000 a year." One might conclude that the President has consistently misled since he made that statement almost three years ago. But CBS certainly hasn't gone out of its way to point this out.

The full transcripts of Chip Reid's report from Thursday's CBS Evening News and Bill Plante's report from Friday's Early Show:

06:44 pm EDT

SCOTT PELLEY: The negotiations over the U.S. debt crisis have apparently descended to insults. Yesterday, the President said his daughters work harder on their homework than the Congress does on the budget. Today, one Republican senator suggested Mr. Obama needs medication. All of this as the nation careens toward defaulting on its debts in about four weeks.

Chip Reid has the latest.

Chip Reid, CBS News Chief White House Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgCHIP REID (voice-over): Republican leader Mitch McConnell today politely invited President Obama to visit the Senate.

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (from speech on the Senate floor): Come on up to the Capitol and meet with Senate Republicans.

REID: Kansas Republican Pat Roberts was a little less polite.

SENATOR PAT ROBERTS (from press conference): So, maybe, if he'd just take a Valium and calm down and come on down to talk to us, it might be helpful.

REID: Both senators said they want to explain to the President that there is no chance Republicans will support tax increases as part of a deal on increasing the national debt. But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the President has no interest in talking about what will not pass.

WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY (from press conference): That's not a conversation worth having. What we need to have is a conversation about what will pass.

REID: Despite Republican resistance, Democratic sources familiar with the negotiations say the President now wants more than $400 billion in tax increases as part of the deal. The biggest piece by far- $290 billion- would come from limiting deductions for couples making more than $250,000 a year and individuals making more than $200,000, who the President referred to in yesterday's press conference as millionaires and billionaires.

The sources also say that while August 2 is the final deadline for passing a deal and avoiding a economic meltdown, it will take time to get it through Congress. They say that means an agreement in principle needs to be reached by about July 22, just over three weeks away.

REID (on-camera): Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said today he's canceling next week's Fourth of July recess, to work on the debt deal. But, Scott, sources on Capitol Hill tell me there's very little they can do until the President and Republican leaders resolve their impasse over taxes.

PELLEY: Thanks, Chip.


07:06 am EDT

HILL: President Obama heads to Camp David today for the Fourth of July weekend, after turning down Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's offer to meet with Republicans over the budget stalemate.

CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante has the latest this morning on those negotiations. Bill, good morning.

BILL PLANTE: Good morning to you, Erica. Well, now, the talks are stalled, so both sides are playing to public opinion. Senator McConnell delivered his invitation to the President from the Senate floor, and the White House, just as publicly, said no thanks.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY (from press conference): What the Senator invited the President to do was to hear Senate Republicans restate their maximalist position. We know what that position is, and he also invited them to hear- invited the President to hear what would not pass. That's not a conversation worth having.

PLANTE (voice-over): After the President's taunt that Congress was away too often, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the Senate would forego its July Fourth break, and instead, work on a deal to raise the debt ceiling and balance the budget.

SEN. HARRY REID, MAJORITY LEADER (from speech on Senate floor): It's very important that we do this. That moment is too important, the obstacles too steep, and the time too short to waste even a moment.

PLANTE: Bipartisan talks, led by Vice President Biden, have identified more than a trillion dollars worth of spending cuts over ten years. But the White House is also insisting on revenue increases- a limit on deductions for people the President called millionaires and billionaires, would apply to anyone making more than $200,000 a year, and raise $290 billion over ten years; a change in accounting practices, 60 billion [dollars]; elimination of oil and gas loopholes, 45 billion; elimination of an interest deduction for hedge funds, 20 billion; elimination of the corporate jet loophole, 3 billion; a total over ten years: 418 billion. Republicans say all those ideas are dead on arrival.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, MINORITY LEADER (from speech on Senate floor): The Congress isn't going to approve hundreds of billions of dollars in tax hikes. It's simply not going to happen.

PLANTE: And Republicans let it be known they were unhappy that the President was out of town at political fundraisers, instead of meeting with them at the Capitol.

SEN. PAT ROBERTS, (R), KANSAS (from press conference): Maybe if he'd just take a Valium and calm down and come on down and talk to us, it might be helpful.

PLANTE (on-camera): Well, each side is obviously trying to make sure that the other gets the blame if this doesn't work. But Democrats familiar with the negotiations tell CBS News that they remain confident there will be a deal. They say the drop-dead date is about July 22, in order to have something by August 2, which is the deadline. That means that you can expect three or four more weeks of all this public posturing, while, maybe, behind the scenes, there's actual talking going on. Erica?

HILL: Just what everybody wanted to hear, three more weeks of it. Bill Plante at the White House this morning- Bill, thanks.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center