CBS's O'Donnell Slams Paul Ryan For 'Cut' in Veterans' Benefits

Norah O'Donnell unsurprisingly took aim at Rep. Paul Ryan on Thursday's CBS This Morning over part of his bipartisan budget proposal that he presented with Democratic Senator Patty Murray: "Military members want to know why you asked them to take a cut, in terms of cost [of] living increases...the men and women in this country, who fight and die for this country, want to know why they should not get a cost of living increase like they have in the past."

The Wisconsin Republican replied by pointing out that the Defense Department had asked for this reduction, and veterans would get an increase later in life: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R), HOUSE BUDGET CMTE. CHAIRMAN: This is a reform that was asked for us by the defense folks – by DOD and people in the defense community – because this is a part of their budget that is squeezing so – all the readiness; all the things that they want to buy. So, it's a problem that the Pentagon has with their budget, and it's only for young retirees who are in working age.

What happens is after you put 20 years in – typically, you go get another career, and your pension supplements that. So, before you're 62, your inflation update won't be as high as after you're 62. And when you turn 62, you'll get a catch-up provision. So, this reflects the reality of the fact that a lot of people who are pre-retirement age – but have already retired – are doing two jobs. But more importantly, Norah, this frees up more money for the Pentagon, so that we can meet our readiness needs.

O'Donnell has a history of going after Congressman Ryan. On the March 25, 2012 edition of Face the Nation, the CBS anchor used the Obama White House's talking points against his budget proposals at the time: "The current tax rate for the wealthiest Americans is 35 percent. You would reduce it to 25 percent, and the White House says that under your plan, you would give millionaires in this country a 150,000 [dollar] tax cut." By contrast, she tossed softballs at Democrat Chuck Schumer later in the program.

Later in 2012, O'Donnell again faced off with Ryan on Face the Nation, and likened his misstated marathon time to Al Gore's false claim that he invented the Internet. She also twice hounded the former vice presidential candidate on CBS This Morning that year. On the July 20, 2012 edition of the morning show, the anchor adopted the left's spin on extending the current tax rates, and laughed when the congressman affirmed that "they're not tax cuts." O'Donnell then replied, "Oh, Congressman, come on!"

Just under three months later, during the last weeks of the 2012 presidential campaign, the CBS journalist pressed Ryan to explain running mate Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" remark, as well as Romney's exchange with President Obama over the September 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

[Update: the full transcript of the Paul Ryan interview from Thursday's CBS This Morning can be read at MRC.org.]

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