President Obama is scheduled to give his sixth State of the Union address on January 28, and CBS’s Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer decided to bring on the man who will give the Tea Party response, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Rather than focus primarily on the failures of the Obama Administration over the past 5 years, the veteran CBS reporter chose to use his interview with Cruz as an opportunity to attack the Tea Party favorite and spew White House and Democratic talking points at the Republican. Schieffer began his interview with Cruz by saying that the senator “led the shutdown of the government last fall because the president wouldn't agree to shut down ObamaCare.”
After he briefly allowed Cruz to explain his opposition to President Obama’s agenda, Schieffer immediately launched into an attack against the Tea Party freshman, and blamed him for the government shutdown. The CBS host said that Cruz:
Became a celebrity when you led the drive to shut down the government over ObamaCare. But afterward your fellow Republicans said you led them over a cliff. Can you conceive of any situation in which you would do that again, try to shut down the government in exchange or in demand for some action by the president?
For his part, Cruz immediately shot down Schieffer’s accusation, and argued that, “I don't agree with the premise of your question. Throughout the government shutdown I opposed the government shutdown. I said we shouldn't shut the government down, I think it was a mistake that president Obama and the Democrats shut the government down this fall.”
The CBS host seemed clearly displeased with Cruz’s answer, and rather than moving on to the topic Cruz was invited on to discuss, the CBS reporter doubled down on his accusations, and asked the senator “would you ever conceive of threatening to shut down the government again?”
After Scieiffer tried to blame Cruz for a third time for the government shutdown, Cruz finally called him out for peddling tired Democratic talking points:
Bob, I understand that the White House said over and over again the shut down is the Republicans fault, and I understand, that's what you're repeating. But the reality is, I voted over and over again to fund the federal government and the reason we had a shutdown.
Despite the fact that Cruz repeated numerous times that he voted numerous times to fund the entire federal government except for ObamaCare, Schieffer refused to shift blame away from the GOP senator and onto President Obama who failed to compromise once on ObamaCare funding.
Sadly, the long-time Face the Nation host is no stranger to using White House and Democratic talking points to smear the GOP. Just last week, the CBS reporter questioned Robert Gates’s loyalty to President Obama and even compared anti-Obama GOPers to Japanese WWII vets who didn’t know the fight was over.
See relevant transcript below.
Face the Nation
January 24, 2014
10:38 a.m. Eastern
BOB SCHIEFFER: We want to turn now to the president's State of the Union speech on Tuesday and we're going to Houston and the Tea Party Republican Ted Cruz who led the shutdown of the government last fall because the president wouldn't agree to shut down ObamaCare. Senator, thank you for coming. You have already released a list of issues you want the president to address in his State of the Union speech. Including you want a new investigation in to Benghazi controversy and IRS. You want him to admit that his economic program has failed. That it was a mistake to pass ObamaCare on party line vote. Senator, that sounds like you want a confession not a speech.
TED CRUZ: Well, what I put out are the questions that I'm hearing from Texans all over the state. I spent a lot of time traveling the state of Texas listening to Texans and the questions they raise over and over again they say, why are jobs and economic growth so dismal? We've got the lowest labor force participation in over three decades, since 1978. And if President Obama wants to give an honest, candid state of the union address this week he'll address the fact that his economic policies are not working and that they're exacerbating income and equality. They're hurting the people who are struggling the most. Each of the questions I put up are questions that the people are asking. And I think the odds that the president will answer them are not high but it's what he should if he was listening to the concerns that people are raising.
SCHIEFFER: Well of course what he would say is that he is creating more jobs that unemployment is going down and on and on. But we'll leave that for the Democrats to talk about. Let me ask you this, you became a celebrity when you led the drive to shut down the government over ObamaCare. But afterward your fellow Republicans said you led them over a cliff. Can you conceive of any situation in which you would do that again, try to shut down the government in exchange or in demand for some action by the president?
CRUZ: Well, Bob, with all due respect I don't agree with the premise of your question. Throughout the government shutdown I opposed the government shutdown. I said we shouldn't shut the government down, I think it was a mistake that President Obama and the Democrats shut the government down this fall. The reason they did so, is that president Obama dug in and said he wouldn't compromise, he wouldn't negotiate. In fact I went to one of the most surreal meetings I've ever been at where president Obama invited all the Senate Republicans to go up to the White House. He sat us in a room this was in the middle of the shutdown and he said I invited you here to tell you I will not negotiate, I will not compromise on anything. That's why we had a shutdown. That was a mistake. But in terms of whether we should have stood and fought on ObamaCare, I think the proof is in the pudding. Millions of people across the country have seen why we were standing and fighting because ObamaCare is a disaster. And for the state of the union, one of the things president Obama really ought to do is look in the TV camera say to the over five million Americans all across this country who of have had their health insurance cancelled because of ObamaCare to look in the camera say, and say I'm sorry. I told you if you like your health insurance plan you can keep it. I told you if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor and that wasn't true. I'm sorry. But then, Vob, here is the real quicker if you are really sorry you don't just say you're sorry you actually do something to fix the problem. The pattern we've seen over and over again with this president is he says he's sorry, he expresses outrage but then he doesn't fix the problem. He keeps doing it over and over.
SCHIEFFER: Alright, let me go back to one thing, the question I asked of you was, would you ever conceive of threatening to shut down the government again?
CRUZ: Well, as I said I didn't shut down the government the last time. I don't think we should ever shutdown the government. I repeatedly voted to fund the federal government.
SCHEIFFER: Well, Senator if you didn't threaten to shut down the government who was it that did?
CRUZ: It was Harry Reid and President Obama. Bob, I understand that the White House said over and over again the shut down is the Republicans fault, and I understand, that's what you're repeating. But the reality is, I voted over and over again to fund the federal government and the reason we had a shutdown -- look, the Democrats were very candid I know they told you. They said we think the shutdown benefits us politically right now the democrats are telling you that they want another shutdown because they think it benefits them politically. Why is it hard to understand that they forced the shut down when they think it benefits them politically?
SCHIEFFER: Senator, I know what Republicans were telling me like John Boehner who said this was the disaster and never again. But let me ask you one more question here. The government is
CRUZ: Let me ask you—
SCHIEFFER: Now, just a minute. The government is approaching another deadline, February 7th. When it will run out of money unless Congress agrees to raise the debt ceiling will you agree to raise the debt ceiling or will you demand something in return?
CRUZ: Look, of course we should do something. We shouldn't just write a blank check. Five years ago the national debt was $10 trillion that took 43 presidents over 200 years to build up $10 trillion in debt. Today it's over $17 trillion. It's grown nearly 70% with one president in five years. And if you ask any American outside of Washington, should we just keep raising the debt ceiling while doing nothing to have fundamental structural control on spending to get Washington spending problem under control? It doesn't matter if you're talking to a Republican, a Democrat, an independent, a Libertarian, anyone outside of Washington of course. And it's worth noting in the past the debt ceiling has been the effective lever point for real structural reforms whether it was Graham Rudman who did great job of restricting government spending, getting it under control or whether it was the Budget Control Act. Both of those came through the debt ceiling. And what the president is saying is he just wants a blank credit card to keep growing and growing the debt and I think that's irresponsible. I think it's irresponsible to our kids and grandkids to stick that debt on them because we can’t live within our means.