In a report for Tuesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd touted President Obama supposedly being nicer to the GOP while in pursuit of a fiscal cliff deal: "Mr. Obama was noticeably less confrontational toward Republicans....The President's softer tone came just a day after he sat down with House Speaker John Boehner..."
While Todd focused on Obama's "softer" side, Monday's New York Times reported on the President's team playing hardball: "The White House is also cranking up the machinery of the Obama campaign to help in the battle. On Monday, the campaign sent an e-mail to its entire mailing list from its deputy manager, Stephanie Cutter....'Who will decide if your taxes increase in just 22 days?' Ms. Cutter said. 'A few dozen members of the House of Representatives, that's who.'"
In the face of possible cuts to food stamp programs, CNN let Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker rail against the House cuts and publicize his own attempt to live off of food stamps for a week. On Friday night host Piers Morgan lauded Booker, calling his food stamp challenge "something really pretty extraordinary" and "a life-changing experience for him."
In addition, Morgan cast Republicans as villains wanting to protect the rich at the expense of the hungry, asking GOP pollster Kristen Soltis, "do you feel comfortable that the Republicans are prepared to slash investment into something like food stamps in an effort to try and protect – as it seems to many people -- the wealthiest two percent from paying more tax?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Norah O'Donnell seemed unsure about the extent of Tea Party's political influence. During an interview of former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, O'Donnell first indicated that the movement was a potent force: "I want to ask you...about how powerful the Tea Party is. Is the Tea Party holding back House Republicans and Speaker Boehner from agreeing to additional revenues?"
The anchor later hinted the Tea Party's power was on the wane: "FreedomWorks spent $40 million in the last election, and you had less than one-in-four of a winning record on the candidates you backed. Was it the organization, or is the Tea Party weakened?"
As Colonel Kurtz said at the end of Apocalypse Now: “the horror, the horror.” That sentiment encapsulated New York Times Republican David Brooks and syndicated columnist Mark Shields’ reactions to the rejection of the UN treaty on the rights of the disabled in the Senate last week. Brooks called it “embarrassment for the country” – while Shields called it “a profile in cowardice.” Regardless, it seems that both men forget that we have a similar bill called The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed under George H.W. Bush.
During the segment, which aired on December 7, NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff decided to end her interview with Brooks and Shields on this point:
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich on Sunday gave Lawrence O'Donnell a much-needed education on the economic impact of the Bill Clinton tax hikes in the '90s.
As O'Donnell precipitated the exchange, he perfectly demonstrated why MSNBC commentators are far too liberally biased to be invited on NBC's Meet the Press (video follows with transcript and commentary):
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman took a lot of heat from conservatives on ABC's This Week Sunday.
Shortly after Republican strategist Mary Matalin derogatorily asked him if he was an economist or a polemicist, George Will said, "I have yet to encounter someone who disagrees with you who you don't think is a knave or corrupt or a corrupt knave" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Republican strategist Mary Matalin on Sunday asked New York Times columnist Paul Krugman an absolutely marvelous question.
As Krugman spewed typical Democrat talking points about the fiscal cliff negotiations on ABC's This Week, Matalin interjected, "Are you an economist or a polemicist? Just make up your mind" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The PBS NewsHour has yet to invite a strong conservative on the program to talk about the fiscal cliff. Tuesday night they had New York Times columnist, left-wing economist, and Obama cheerleader Paul Krugman to detail his view. Wednesday night they had moderately-conservative Sen. Bob Corker ( R-Tenn), but last night was the most interesting. PBS invited the Norquist of the left, Max Richtman, of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, who insisted we shouldn’t be in a rush to reform our entitlement spending.
After all, when the unfunded liability of both programs is around $100 trillion dollars, what’s the big hurry? Where’s the fire? Suffice it to say, none of Richtman's claims were met with skepticism by anchor Judy Woodruff. She continued with her interview, as if what Richtman said was fact.
On Friday's front page, New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer relayed the shock retirement of leading conservative Sen. Jim Demint of South Carolina, "Tea Party Hero Leaving Senate For New Pulpit." Steinhauer used her full allotment of "conservative" labels.
Meanwhile, another Steinhauer story bolstered Republican House leader John Boehner against those childish conservatives in his caucus: "....many House Republicans appear to view Mr. Boehner with the same sort of respect that adult children award their parents for the sage counsel they ignored in their younger days." For good measure she called South Carolina "a very conservative state."
CNN's Wolf Blitzer said Thursday that the Democratic fiscal cliff plan of raising tax rates on the top two percent of income earners is the "beginning" of a solution.
"But it's a beginning. A billion here, a billion there, it winds up being real money," Blitzer told Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Thursday's The Situation Room. Blitzer had already pushed House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to consider tax hikes in a fiscal cliff deal. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
"Militantly non-partisan" Major Garrett sounded more like an Obama administration flack on Thursday's CBS This Morning as he spotlighted the President's latest P.R. stunt. Garrett noted Obama's plan to visit a northern Virginia middle-class family and claimed that the Democrat was underlining the "self-evident point that if the there is a deal and their taxes aren't raised by about $2,000, they'll be happier and spend more money."
The correspondent also uncritically pointed out how Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner signaled that the White House was willing to go over the fiscal cliff if their demand for higher taxes isn't satisfied.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has once again demonstrated that when it comes to budgets, he’s simply not serious and neither is his fellow partisan President Barack Obama. Yesterday, the Republican leader in the Senate Mitch McConnell called for a vote on the budget outline (once again no bill) from Obama. This was immediately killed as a "stunt," which was Reid’s term for it.
Question: Does Reid actually want to pass any budget? He has not allowed a vote on any budget for years and will not propose one himself. Feel free to discuss amongst yourselfs or talk about any other topic you’d like right on this thread.
Once again, CNN's Soledad O'Brien grilled a Republican while giving an easy interview to a Democrat. She pushed Republicans to increase taxes on Wednesday's Starting Point, but, showing her double standard, she let President Obama's former deputy campaign manager attack the GOP fiscal cliff proposals.
O'Brien told Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) that Republicans could "do some kind of a deal now and that will keep us from going over the fiscal cliff? Andthen you can let the tax cuts expire for the wealthy January 1st. It happens. And you can do some kind of a negotiation." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Major Garrett promoted a thinly-veiled version of President Obama's "Scrooge Christmas" attack on congressional Republicans. After spotlighting how White House Press Secretary Jay Carney maligned the GOP's fiscal cliff solution as "magic beans and fairy dust," Garrett added that the "Republicans answered back – bah, humbug."
The CBS morning newscast, along with NBC's Today, aided the President by failing to point out that his rejection of the Republican plan is a 180 from his position in 2011. That year, the Democrat called for "$1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking tax rates by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions."
Newark Mayor Cory Booker is considered a rising star in Democratic Party politics. Though a doctrinaire liberal on many fronts, he possesses several positive traits, including a willingness to risk his own safety when he sees people in danger and the courage to call out his fellow party members when they irresponsibly bash private-equity firms which, while occasionally making mistaken investments, have a far better track record of success than, say, the Department of Energy's solar plays.
That makes it all the more disappointing that Booker, like so many other leftist politicians before him, is cynically taking the bogusly designed "Food Stamp Challenge." Such an idea isn't necessarily bad, as it has the potential for helping people make wiser, more nutritious and economical food choices. But to the left that's not the point. Instead, their mission is to convince the public that benefits are too low and that the numbers of those participating in the program need to increase. To achieve their aims, advocates make a fundamentally dishonest claim about benefit levels. And in a unique twist, the Politico appears to have proactively attempted to become part of the false message.
On Wednesday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd proclaimed that despite fiscal cliff negotiations being "in such a bad state," one bit of "good news" was that House Republicans "realize they don't have much leverage right now" and predicted they would eventually sign on to tax hikes proposed by President Obama. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Moments later, co-host Savannah Guthrie declared: "Speaker John Boehner is probably in the most unenviable position because he has to get the deal, he has to sell it to the far right of his caucus in the House. Can he get that deal?"
New York Times's Sheryl Gay Stolberg profiled White House chief of staff and "fiscal cliff" negotiator Jacob Lew (who may be the next Treasury secretary) on Sunday's front page, calling liberal Lew "a policy nerd" who "morphs into a warrior" when it comes to helping the poor. Yet he's also a "pragmatist," just like his boss Barack Obama, and also makes "a mean potato kugel."
During the panel discussion on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer launched an assault against Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist for holding Republicans to a pledge not to raise taxes: "What this is about is avoiding a recession which is going to happen....You're going to sacrifice that on the cross of two percent. Is that what you want?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Norquist, a fellow panelist, shot back: "I'm supportive of the Republican position, which is we need to have economic growth, not higher taxes. If we grew at four percent a year instead of two percent a year, Reagan levels instead of Obama levels, for one decade we'd net five trillion in additional revenue. That would pay down the debt that Obama has run up with the Solyndra stimulus stuff."
We know that more Democrats than Republicans have been talking nonchalantly about jumping off the fiscal cliff. But is President Obama one of them? It is a very real possibility.
What's your prediction for how things are going to play out? Should the GOP go along and forget about the automatic budget cuts and tax increases? Sound off in the comments here on this or any other topic you'd like.
Despite Chris Matthews having worked for former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, his grasp of how the United States government works is tenuous at best.
On Monday's Hardball, the host repeatedly said current Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh.) "lost" on Election Day despite the Congressman winning 99.9 percent of the votes in his district while his Party retained control of the House (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Appearing on Monday's MSNBC Morning Joe, NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd shared some inside information: "So I threw the Lincoln analogy at a close aide to the President last week, and he said, 'You know, with this Republican – with the way politics of Washington are today, there'd still be slavery.' That Lincoln wouldn't have been able to navigate the polarization..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Rather than dismiss such a nasty partisan attack, Todd observed: "It was an interesting and depressing observation from this very smart White House aide."
On today's Morning Joe, asked by substitute host Willie Geist how much of the tough talk by Republicans and Dems over the fiscal cliff was posturing, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele said that 80% was posturing, then added "a lot of it is, let's see how big yours is versus mine."
Steele was careful to suggest he was simply talking about the size of the two parties' respective . . . plans. But between the smirks, raised eyebrows—and an immediate intervention from Geist—it seemed obvious that Steele was making a macho allusion to something else. View the video after the jump.
In a colorful demonstration of the Washington press corps’ disdain for Grover Norquist and his anti-tax pledge, on Sunday’s This Week, a flustered ABC News/NPR veteran Cokie Roberts blurted out: “It’s...politically smart to cut the knees out from under Grover Norquist. I mean this guy is, you know, who is he? He’s an unelected lobbyist.”
She soon urged that “a certain amount of saying ‘the emperor has no clothes’” about Norquist is helpful. “To say that, I think is very useful.”
CNN's Ali Velshi labeled anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist a "dangerous man" on Friday for blocking a fiscal cliff compromise between Democrats and Republicans.
"Hey, speaking of the fiscal cliff, there's been all this focus on one dangerous man who stands in the way of a deal that could avert it, Grover Norquist. He is neither elected, nor has he ever run for office, so why is Washington so scared of him?" Velshi introduced his segment on Norquist. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Congress returned to "work" this week (now there's a laugh) to complete its lame-duck session before taking another holiday. Spending other people's money is a taxing experience.
Their task is to avoid the "fiscal cliff," a geological construct of their own making. It doesn't take a genius to predict both parties will try to do two things: (1) reach an agreement that will allow each side to take some credit and (2) require those who work for a living to pay government more while they come up with phony, or inconsequential spending "cuts."
A search at the Associated Press's national website on Warren Buffett's last name at about 5 p.m. ET returned two recent items which are still present there. Each item (here and here) mentions the Obama Fan of Omaha's idea to "impose a minimum tax of 30 percent on income between $1 million and $10 million, and a 35 percent rate for income above that." Neither mentions the pathetically small amount such a tax would raise while seriously impacting the ability of high income earners who own or run businesses to expand them -- or in some cases causing them to shrink.
It's the same at other establishment press outlets. Two recent New York Times items found in a search on Buffett's full name (here and here, the latter item being Buffett's own op-ed on Sunday) fail to note how little money Buffett's proposed tax hikes would raise. So how little is "little"?