Lack of Congressional Approval for Libyan Strike Doesn't Bother CBS, NBC
Of the three morning shows, only ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday highlighted anger and dismay on Capitol Hill that Barack Obama did not seek congressional approval for air strikes against Libya. Reporter Jake Tapper pointed out the "real disappointment" felt by "all the Republicans I spoke to and the liberal Democrats."
An ABC graphic asserted, "Obama faces critics on Libya." Yet, although NBC's Today found time for the latest on Charlie Sheen's escapades, the program couldn't manage a full report on Barack Obama's decision bomb Libya. CBS's Early Show also failed to cover this aspect of the story.
Tapper related, "There was a conference call over the weekend in which one Democrat, one liberal Democrat, read a quote from candidate Obama about the need to seek congressional approval before taking military action and the member of Congress said, 'I agree with candidate Obama.'"
The exact quote from then-Senator Obama in 2007:
The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.
As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch.
When George W. Bush was President, journalists were much more interested in congressional approval for conflicts such as Iraq. See a post by the MRC's Rich Noyes for more.
A transcript of the March 22 GMA segment can be found below:
ABC GRAPHIC: Obama Faces Critics on Libya
ROBIN ROBERTS: Let's turn now to Jake Tapper at the White House where he's tracking the latest out of Libya. And, Jake, what is the situation right now with the coalition?
JAKE TAPPER: Well, there have been a lot of reports about the coalition fraying, but the White House is pushing back on those reports. They're saying that the coalition is growing and that yesterday, for the first time, allies flew more missions over Libya than the U.S. did. Of course, even with that news, there are reports of the UAE hesitating before contributing any military, of Norway turning its pilots back because they weren't sure who was going to be in charge. So, it is still a work in progress, this coalition, Robin.
ROBERTS: And back here at home is the U.S. Congress united in how to handle this, Jake?
TAPPER: I was e-mailing all night with members of the House and Senate and there is some real disappointment. It seems to be, basically, all the Republicans I spoke to and the liberal Democrats. There was a conference call over the weekend in which one Democrat, one liberal Democrat, read a quote from candidate Obama about the need to seek congressional approval before taking military action and the member of Congress said, "I agree with candidate Obama." But, the White House is saying they are consulting, but this was a very fast moving process and one senior White House official said, "Last week, some critics on Capitol Hill were complaining we were going to slow. Now they're complaining we're going to fast." Robin?
ROBERTS: They hear that. All right, Jake Tapper.
— Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.