Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, who oversees the IRS, made the rounds of four Sunday morning TV talk shows (all but CBS’s Face the Nation) to promote President Obama’s latest “pivot” to the economy, but ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and CNN’s Candy Crowley failed to take advantage of the opportunity to press him on the IRS scandal.
NBC’s David Gregory squeezed a question in at the very end of their session, but then didn’t follow up on Lew’s insistence “there’s no evidence of any political involvement.” Gregory: “Mr. Secretary, I’ll leave it there. Thank you as always.”
Scott Pelley devoted a minute and a half segment to the IRS scandal on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, the first time that the Big Three newscast had mentioned the issue in a month. Pelley asked Treasury Secretary Jack Lew if "any political appointee had oversight of the decisions that were made around the Tea Party applications", and reported on some of the recent developments in the scandal.
Mere hours later, Thursday's CBS This Morning didn't even cover the IRS portion of the Lew interview, but did play a clip of Pelley asking the Cabinet official about the economy.
Your daily dose of inadvertent humor comes from an article by Annie Lowrey at the New York Times on Sunday evening ("Lew to Press for European Policy Changes"; also in today's print edition).
In "covering" (from Washington?) Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's four-day European trip for meetings with EU leaders encouraging them to pursue "growth" policies -- which in Keynesians' fevered minds always really means "stimulus" and not genuine growth-driven initiatives -- Lowrey wrote the following (bold is mine):
The Washington Post has been around for more than 150 years and is the largest newspaper in the nation's capital. So there's absolutely no excuse why the paper recently commissioned and published a poll related to the looming sequester which failed to account for the Democrats controlling the upper chamber, even though Republicans were noted as controlling the House.
Call her MoveOn.Mika . . . Bob Woodward has demonstrated that President Obama was not telling the truth during the third presidential debate when he flatly stated that "the sequester is not something that I've proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed.” In fact, it was two Obama aides who devised the plan, and Obama himself who approved it.
But when Joe Scarborough wanted to get those facts on the record this morning, Mika Brzezinski repeatedly declared that discussing Obama's failure to tell the truth was "silly." Things got heated between the co-hosts at one point as Mika cut Joe off, saying "I need to talk." And trying to end the uncomfortable discussion, Mika actually announced "I'm moving on." View the video after the jump.
CNN had a friendly take on President Obama's Treasury Secretary nominee Jack Lew, despite the pick receiving sharp criticism from conservative circles. "He's definitely the guy for the next several months," CNN's Ali Velshi gave the White House spin on Thursday's Newsroom.
"Yeah, funnily enough if Wall Street hates him, he might be perfect for the job," chuckled anchor Michael Holmes."That's what a lot of people think, Michael, actually," Velshi added. Back in 2008, however, CNN framed Wall Street support for potential nominee Tim Geithner as a good thing.
ABC and CBS on Thursday hit Barack Obama from the left, fretting about a lack of diversity for his second term cabinet picks. The two network morning shows ignored substantiative criticism about Treasury Secretary choice Jack Lew, but highlighted the cutesy story of his messy handwriting.
Correspondent Jon Karl chided, "Well, some critics are looking at that emerging second-term cabinet and wondering, where are the women?" He touted a New York Times article fretting about the "all-male look" of the new picks. Karl noted that "the President will have to replace Jack Lew as chief of staff. The top candidates are, you guessed it, men." Rather than worry about meeting a liberal quota, Karl could have noted Lew's total lack of experience in business.
After ignoring its own 2009 clip of Obama denying his health-care law was a tax increase, ABC finally played the snippet of the President on Sunday's This Week -- but bizarrely, they failed to mention that it was theirs. Host George Stephanopoulos highlighted an ad from Americans for Prosperity that included the clip, but omitted that he conducted the interview where the President made this denial.
Later in the program, Rep. Paul Ryan exposed what the ABC News host omitted, that "the President, on your show, said this is not a tax." [audio available here; video below the jump]
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision that upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional under the taxing powers of Congress, the Obama administration can’t seem to call it a tax. Instead, they’re trying to peddle the “tax” as a penalty. White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew did his run through the Sunday morning talk shows with this entertaining spin. Even former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos was unconvinced: “As you know, President Obama denied all along that this was a tax. Is he now prepared to defend it?”
Mr. Lew stuck to the "not a tax" spin: “I think we have to take a step back. What is in the law is a penalty. It starts by saying all Americans have a right to health insurance. For Americans who buy health insurance or who can't afford it and get it through a government program, there is no penalty.”