Charlie Rose Touts Jeb Bush's Differences With GOP on Obama, Taxes

On Thursday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose went out of his way to spotlight how guest Jeb Bush once complimented President Obama, and played up his disagreements with fellow Republicans. Rose touted how supposedly only Bush had the "courage" to differ with "every Republican candidate in the primary" in being open to eliminating tax deductions to increase revenue.

The anchor also highlighted how Obama claimed that he emulated the father of the former Florida governor: "The President of the United States says that his foreign policy, in sense, in part, is modeled after the foreign policy of your father, President Bush 41."

About two minutes into the first part of the interview, which began at the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour, Rose noted how Bush stated during an April 2012 interview that "the best thing he [Obama] has done was to hire Arne Duncan as secretary of education and to challenge some of the core political constituencies in his party, to focus more children and less on the adults inside our education system. I think they've done a pretty good job in that regard."

The former governor confirmed his take, but also pointed out that "we have a different approach, as it relates to school choice, and I think we need to accelerate more provocative reforms....I don't have to play the game of being a hundred thousand percent against President Obama. I got a long list of things that I think he's done wrong, and with civility and respect, I will point those out if I'm asked."

Rose continued with his point about the current president supposedly claiming George H.W. Bush as a model in the area of foreign policy. The guest replied, "I don't think he's been as good at it, if it's modeled after it...I would argue that, in some ways, by reality kind of seeping into his life as the commander-in-chief, that a lot of it's modeled after...Forty-three (George W. Bush)."

Later in the segment, the CBS anchor and the former governor had an extended exchange about the differences between him and Mitt Romney and the other would-be Republican presidential candidates on the issues of the budget and the taxes. Rose hinted that Bush was the one reasonable one in the group:

Jeb Bush, Former Governor of Florida; & Charlie Rose, CBS News Anchor | NewsBusters.orgROSE: You know that we're facing a fiscal cliff for a combination of reasons, having to do with the Bush tax cuts; having to do with raising the debt ceiling; having to do with some other issues coming late December and early January. You, in testimony before Congress, said that you were okay, as you well know, with $10 of spending cuts for $1 of tax revenue.

BUSH: Yeah.

ROSE: But that's a different position than every Republican candidate in the primary.

BUSH: I know, I know-

ROSE: So Jeb Bush stood over here....Mitt Romney and everybody else over here.

BUSH:  Look, I can appreciate why they are reluctant to say that, because commitments on spending are, you know, hard to implement; commitments on raising taxes immediately happen. It just seems like, historically, you could have deep distrust that that's the case. So, I can understand the caution in that regard. But if you're asked a hypothetical question, which I was-

ROSE: And which they were.

BUSH: They were.

ROSE: And only you had the -- some may say courage -- to say, I wouldn't go there.

BUSH: It was living proof I'm not running for anything, I think, more than anything else-

ROSE: So, if they hadn't been running, they might have said something different.

BUSH: I hope so, because we have unsustainable deficits.

ROSE: But I haven't heard Governor [Mitt] Romney say, I take that position back; that I'd prepared to raise taxes....If, in fact, I have $10 in spending cuts-

BUSH: And, by the way -- see, this is where it gets dangerous, because I didn't say raising taxes.

ROSE: You said revenue-

BUSH: There's a way to -- you know, eliminating deductions. There's things you could do-

ROSE: But they're not even prepared to go there because Grover Norquist -- who you refused to sign -- says that's not a logical way to go. He says that reducing deductions is raising taxes.

BUSH: Here's what I know to be true: next year, or the year after, there's going to have to be a grand bargain. We are on an unsustainable course. It is not possible to continue to do what we are going -- what we're doing today. It's just not possible. And I think most people that have looked at our structural deficit problems would admit that.

The veteran journalist threw in two more slanted questions near the end of the segment:


ROSE: Is this party more only interested in, sort of, less taxes, less regulation, and -- rather than policies that promote growth and a bigger tent-

BUSH: Well, I think less taxes and less regulation-

ROSE: Would promote growth-

BUSH: Promote growth. And an immigration policy that's true to our heritage would do the same.

ROSE: But are you worried about the direction of your party?

BUSH: I worry that it's short-sighted because tonally - and in terms of the tone of the debate - it sends the signal, we want your support, but you really can't join our team. I mean, that's the short-term implications of this. And demographically, Latino voters, Hispanic voters are going to be important this election, but going forward even more so. So, politically, I think it's short-sighted. I think there needs to be a lot more intense efforts to recognize the demographics of the country are changing, and our messaging -- not our views, not our principles -- but how we message our views needs to change as well.

During an earlier interview of Robert Gates on the May 16, 2012 edition of CBS This Morning, Rose desperately tried to find confirmation from the former defense secretary on whether President Obama is a good commander-in-chief: "You can answer this question as well as anyone I know....do you give President Obama high marks in the national security arena?"

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