ABC’s Jonathan Karl Hails Big Moments in Washington Over President’s Budget and Gun Control

We’re living through an important moment in U.S. political history, and thankfully we have ABC’s chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl to tell us just how momentous it is. Karl appeared as a guest on Charlie Rose’s PBS show Thursday night to chat about gun control and the president’s budget, among other things. The veteran ABC reporter lamented the fact that neither Republicans nor Democrats on Capitol Hill appreciated President Obama’s budget very much:
 

"I mean, the Republicans didn't give him really any credit at all. And then you have on his liberal flank people like Barry Sanders [sic] saying this is outrageous that the president is, in the words of some progressives, stealing money from seniors, stealing deserved benefits. So it's hard to find somebody up on Capitol Hill that was truly ready to give the president credit. And to praise his budget."


But not to worry – Karl was ready to give the president credit and praise his budget. He continued:
 

"But you know, you've got to say, this is quite a moment, Charlie, in Washington. You had a Democratic president go out and defy the AARP, who also adamantly opposed the steps he took on Social Security and Medicare in this budget. And come out and propose some entitlement reforms."


High praise, to be sure, and Karl deserves credit for noting that the president is at least making an attempt to compromise. However, Karl was not done glorifying our federal government’s progress. Later in the interview, Rose asked him about the gun control bill being brought to the Senate floor, and Karl couldn’t contain his glee:


"Well, another big moment in Washington, right? I mean, first you have a Democratic president defying the AARP. We thought that that would kind of never happen; they’re credited for being maybe the most powerful lobbying force in Washington. If there is another most powerful Washington lobbying force it's the NRA. And the fact that the NRA came out, they were against having a, you know, this bill go forward; it goes forward in the Senate."

The point here seems to be that President Obama is on a roll! He was not directly responsible for advancing this bill to the Senate floor, but he has consistently flogged the issue from his bully pulpit. Remember the "they deserve a vote" line from his State of the Union?

Karl then provided his take on the Toomey/Manchin gun control compromise: "It's only partial, you know, a part of the president's plan, but it is something. You know, it's significant movement."


Significant movement, you say? It sounds like ABC is getting less excited about this bill by the day. On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Karl called the compromise “a big deal” and “a big, significant breakthrough. It doesn’t get you all the way there, but it gets you a long way there.” Contrast that with yesterday’s Charlie Rose segment, where Karl downgraded the compromise to “only partial...but it is something” and called it a “significant movement.”

So the bill went from a “big, significant breakthrough” to a “significant movement.” Then, on this morning’s GMA, anchor Elizabeth Vargas sounded a much more somber note: “This morning, there's disappointment setting in for advocates who feel that there's not being enough done to expand the laws requiring more background checks into the way people buy guns.”

Well, that enthusiasm certainly died down quickly. Perhaps ABC has realized that the bill is truly a compromise, and that gun control advocates did not get all of what they wanted. Whenever the Left doesn’t get all of what it wants, that is cause for despair in the liberal media.

Below are transcripts of the Charlie Rose segments:


CHARLIE ROSE: Let's start with the president's budget. Obviously some Democrats believe he went too far. Republicans saying he didn't go far enough. What did he accomplish? And where are we?

JONATHAN KARL: Well, he got a lot of credit from those that have been beating the drums, talking about the need to take on entitlements and deal with the long-term deficit situation. But politically he didn't get much. I mean, the Republicans didn't give him really any credit at all. And then you have on his liberal flank people like Barry Sanders saying this is outrageous that the president is, in the words of some progressives, stealing money from seniors, stealing deserved benefits. So it's hard to find somebody up on Capitol Hill that was truly ready to give the president credit. And to praise his budget. But you know, you've got to say, this is quite a moment, Charlie, in Washington. You had a Democratic president go out and defy the AARP, who also adamantly opposed the steps he took on Social Security and Medicare in this budget. And come out and propose some entitlement reforms. Modest reforms, perhaps, but I think a significant step.

***

11:16:20

CHARLIE ROSE: So what do you make of the deal that was made to allow the gun control debate to come to the floor of the Senate?

JONATHAN KARL: Well, another big moment in Washington, right? I mean, first you have a Democratic president defying the AARP. We thought that that would kind of never happen; they’re credited for being maybe the most powerful lobbying force in Washington. If there is another most powerful Washington lobbying force it's the NRA. And the fact that the NRA came out. They were against having a, you know, this bill go forward; it goes forward in the Senate. And then you have, you know, Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin, these are two of the most conservative senators in their respective parties, and both lifetime A-rated NRA members come forward with a proposal that would at least do something in the way of gun control. You know, expanding background checks. It's only partial, you know, a part of the president's plan, but it is something. You know, it's significant movement. We're still a long way from anything actually passing, but it's significant movement.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.