ABC’s Klein Adopts Euphemism ‘Investments’ to Refer to Obama Spending Proposals

  On the January 23 World News Sunday, ABC News Senior Washington Editor Rick Klein used President Obama’s euphemism for spending as "investments" as he and anchor Dan Harris discussed how Republicans will likely respond to Tuesday’s State of the Union Address. Although the setup piece by correspondent David Kerley did allude to Obama’s word choice to call his plan "cut and invest" as having significance, noting that it "worries Republicans," after the piece had ended, Klein twice used the term "investments" as if it were straight, nonpartisan terminology. Klein:

But when you get down to the policy, the President talking about the targeted new investments, that is going to be such a tough sell in the current environment. Republicans are busy preparing long lists of budget cuts. That's going to be their focus. So, regardless of what the applause looks like on Tuesday night, it's going to be very difficult for the President to get any Republican support for any even very targeted new investments.

Kerley’s report had played a soundbite of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s skeptical response to the term "invest":

DAVID KERLEY: President Obama will stride into the House promising to cut spending and invest in the future. "Cut and invest," they call it. Which worries Republicans.

ERIC CANTOR, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: We want to cut and grow. Because when we hear "invest" from anyone in Washington, to me, that means more spending.

Below is a complete transcript of Kerley’s report, followed by the segment with Klein from the January 23 World News Sunday on ABC:

DAN HARRIS: And, as we all know, the shooting of Gabby Giffords set off cries for more civility in Washington. But today, top Republicans were making it clear as politely as possible that some of the ideas that President Obama plans to propose in Tuesday night's State of the Union Address are unacceptable to them. David Kerley is in Washington tonight.

DAVID KERLEY: President Obama will stride into the House promising to cut spending and invest in the future. "Cut and invest," they call it. Which worries Republicans.

ERIC CANTOR, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: We want to cut and grow. Because when we hear "invest" from anyone in Washington, to me, that means more spending.

KERLEY: And Republicans question if the President will cut enough.

MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I'm happy that the President's pivoting. We all know why. But it is kind of a trust but verify moment. Let's see if he's really willing to do it.

KERLEY: Even with high unemployment, President Obama is much higher in the polls than he was just weeks ago. His charm offensive with business, appointments of business-friendly staff and a productive lame duck session have put him on a roll. And Republicans know it.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ) CLIP #1: I think the President has already changed a great deal.

MCCAIN CLIP #2: He's going to be talking about cutting spending. That's what the message of the November election was.

KERLEY: Moving to the center, talking about cutting spending, creating jobs, is working.

DAVID GERGEN, POLITICAL ANALYST: The State of the Union is an enormous opportunity for him to continue this rebound, this comeback. He's got a chance now to really provide a theme for his presidency for the last two years.

KERLEY: After President Obama proclaims-

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Our union is strong.

KERLEY: -expect a theme he's mentioned at least eight times in the past five days.

OBAMA CLIP #1: We are competitive.

OBAMA CLIP #2: Global competition.

OBAMA CLIP #3: Even more competitive.

KERLEY: And he will use that other word, "investing," when he talks about education and research. Civility will be a big part of this speech, and that call for Republicans and Democrats to sit together, a date night of sorts, is gaining some momentum. Already, there are 60 members who will be red and blue couples, bipartisan partners, but the top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, says he will not take part. Now, there could be some awkward moments, Dan. What's going to happen when the Democrat stands up to applaud and the Republican they're sitting next to sits on their hands? It will be something interesting to watch.

HARRIS: Indeed. David Kerley, thank you. We want to talk more about this with Rick Klein, who’s our senior Washington editor. Rick, this whole date night thing, is it empty symbolism or substantive symbolism?

RICK KLEIN: I don't see a single policy implication to the choice of seat-mates. I think it is symbolic, but it’s a symbol and a new look that the White House would much rather talk about than the fact that President Obama is going to have a Republican House Speaker over his shoulder for the first time. But when you get down to the policy, the President talking about the targeted new investments, that is going to be such a tough sell in the current environment. Republicans are busy preparing long lists of budget cuts. That's going to be their focus. So, regardless of what the applause looks like on Tuesday night, it's going to be very difficult for the President to get any Republican support for any even very targeted new investments.

HARRIS: Lots going on, and it could end up being one of the more interesting State of the Unions we've seen in some time. Rick Klein, thank you.