Stenographers: ABC Touts Obama's 'Ultimatum,' President Won't 'Negotiate'

Good Morning America on Tuesday touted White House talking points, promoting Barack Obama's "ultimatum" to Republicans over the debt ceiling and hyping the President's refusal to negotiate. An ABC graphic lobbied, "Obama Draws Battle Lines: Tells Congress He Won't Pay 'Ransom.'" In the segment, reporter Jon Karl featured four clips of Obama lashing out at the GOP, just one of John Boehner highlighting out of control spending.

Karl trumpeted, "President Obama used the last news conference of his first term to issue an ultimatum to congressional Republicans: Raise the debt ceiling." George Stephanopoulos began the piece by parroting, "...The President was clear, it's up to Congress to get this done. He's not going to negotiate." Karl added, "The President insists this is not even a subject for negotiation."

Karl included four clips of Obama at his press conference, including the President declaring: "The financial well-being of the American people is not leveraged to be used. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

He offered just one example of the Speaker of the House insisting, "I think the real issue here is, we all know, is spending."

Karl did allow that Republicans are "adamant they will not raise the debt ceiling unless the President first agrees to major spending cuts."

Repeating Obama's talking points isn't new for ABC's just-promoted chief White House correspondent. In November, Karl pushed GOP compromise on raising taxes and the abadonment of "anti-Tax enforcer" Grover Norquist.

A transcript of the January 15 segment is below:


7:09

STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to go to Washington now, where President Obama spent most of his final first term press conference calling out Republicans on their next big showdown. It's over the debt limit. The government loses borrowing authority to pay America's bills in about a month. And ABC's Jon Karl is covering it from the White House. And Jon, the President was clear, it's up to Congress to get this done. He's not going to negotiate.

ABC GRAPHIC: Obama Draws Battle Lines: Tells Congress He Won't Pay "Ransom"

JON KARL: That's right, George. On this one, the President is on yet another collision course with congressional Republicans. And both sides are insisting they just won't back down. Late yesterday, the Treasury Department said if Congress doesn't act, the U.S. government will hit the limit of how much money it can borrow as early as one month from today.

BARACK OBAMA: We are not a deadbeat nation. America cannot afford another debate with this Congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they've already wracked up.

KARL: President Obama used the last news conference of his first term to issue an ultimatum to congressional Republicans: Raise the debt ceiling. But House Republicans have been equally adamant they will not raise the debt ceiling unless the President first agrees to major spending cuts.

JOHN BOEHNER: I think the real issue here is, we all know, is spending.

KARL: The President insists this is not even a subject for negotiation.

OBAMA: The financial well-being of the American people is not leveraged to be used. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip.

KARL: Stakes are even higher than they were during the New Year's eve showdown over the fiscal cliff. If an agreement isn't reached, the federal government faces default on its debts and a partial shutdown.

OBAMA: Social Security checks and veterans benefits will be delayed. We might not be able to pay our troops.

KARL: Some have suggested President Obama would have better luck with Republicans if he socialized with them. The President said that probably wouldn't make much of a difference. But he wouldn't mind trying.

OBAMA: Most people who know me know I'm a pretty friendly guy. And I like a good party.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Jon, the President also talked about preventing gun violence. He said that Vice President Biden had given him the recommendations likely to be made public later this week and they include actions the President could take on his own without Congress.

KARL: That's right. Congressional sources who have been briefed on this say there's more than a dozen such executive orders the President could issue right away, acting before Congress attempts to pass gun control, which as you know, George, is a very steep climb.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The President said he didn't know how much he could pass. Thanks very much.

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