CBS, NBC Highlight Energetic Obama 'Barely Pausing' as He Looks for Deficit Reductions

Both NBC and CBS on Monday highlighted footage of Barack Obama at the Lincoln memorial on Saturday as they portrayed a President ready to cut the deficit. In the wake of an averted government shutdown, NBC's Chuck Todd on Today enthused, "Barely pausing to consider the $38.5 billion in budget cuts he and congressional leaders had just agreed to...Mr. Obama is already looking forward" with plans to lower the debt.

Today then featured footage of the President at the Lincoln Memorial from the weekend. On CBS's Early Show, Nancy Cordes narrated, "The President bounded up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial this weekend, trying to put the best face possible on a spending deal he had admitted was not to his liking."       

On Today, Todd actually cited a poll showing public skepticism with raising the debt limit: "The public is very skeptical about the idea of raising the nation's credit card limit. And according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 62% say the ceiling should not be raised, compared to 32% who say it should be."

However, he quickly breezed by the result, not offering any analysis on its meaning.

On Good morning America, Jake Tapper explained the possible impact of an impasse, noting that not raising the debt limit "could impose a huge tax increase. And the following could be curtailed or cut off: Social Security checks, Medicare benefits, Medicaid, military salaries, veteran benefits, unemployment insurance and student loan payments."

A transcript of the April 11 Early Show segment, which aired at 7:07am EDT, follows:

ERICA HILL: We want to go to Washington now, where Congress and the White House may have agreed on a budget that will fund the federal government through the end of the year. But bigger battles do lie ahead over the budget for 2012, and this time lawmakers are arguing over trillions- not even billions of dollars, trillions.

CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes is on Capitol Hill this morning with the very latest. Nancy, good morning- too many zeros to count almost.

NANCY CORDES: Really, Erica, and we should learn more details today about what exactly is going to get cut as a result of that 11th hour deal on Friday night. We already know there will be cuts to defense and there will be cuts to agriculture, and some Democrats are complaining big cuts to social programs.

CORDES (voice-over): The President bounded up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial this weekend, trying to put the best face possible on a spending deal he had admitted was not to his liking.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I just want to say real quick that because Congress was able to settle its differences, that's why this place is open today.

CORDES: After weeks of negotiations, Republicans had secured 38 billion [dollars] in spending cuts from this year's budget, the largest annual cuts ever. Within hours of their victory, the GOP was already gearing up for another battle over the nation's debt limit.


HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: And I can just tell you this, that there will not be an increase in the debt limit without something really, really big attached to it. (applause)

CORDES: Republicans want more long-term cuts, in exchange for their vote to raise the debt limit, and therefore, prevent the government from defaulting on its loans. The limit currently stands at $14.3 trillion. But the Treasury secretary estimates the U.S. will reach that limit in mid-May.

Looking to gain the upper hand in this spending debate, the White House revealed Sunday that the President will unveil his own sweeping deficit reduction proposal this Wednesday.

SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR DAVID PLOUFFE (from CNN's "State of the Union"): We've got to do it in a balanced way. It can't be all on the backs of seniors and the middle class.

CORDES: The White House announcement comes just days after Republicans unveiled their budget for 2012 that would slash more than $5 trillion over the next decade. They want to privatize Medicare, cap Medicaid, while reducing taxes for the wealthy from 35% to 25%.

SENATOR PAUL RYAN (from NBC's "Meet the Press"): We have a debt crisis staring us in the face, and that's what's got to get fixed.

CORDES (live): The President is likely to propose raising taxes on the wealthy, and he'll also offer his prescriptions for Medicare and Social Security, two of the primary drivers of the deficit. Erica?

HILL: Nancy Cordes on Capitol Hill this morning. Nancy, thanks.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org