CBS Touts Bad News: 'GOP Power Struggle' in Congress and 'Infighting' at CPAC

During a report on Friday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes emphasized division in the new Republican Congress: "The prospect of a mutiny had sent Republican leaders scrambling to craft an even leaner budget, and make good on their promises to the Tea Party....Just this week, small groups of conservatives defeated two of their own party's measures on the House floor."

Cordes went on to highlight tensions at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington: "Former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were booed by one faction of attendees. While Donald Trump, who's toying with a presidential run in 2012, took a swipe at his fellow Republican, Congressman Ron Paul." The headline on screen throughout Cordes's report read: "GOP Power Struggle; Agree to Budget Deal After Early In-Fighting." Later in a 7:32AM ET news brief, news reader Jeff Glor similarly declared: "Republicans are closing out a week of infighting."

Introducing Cordes, co-host Chris Wragge portrayed Tea Party demands for greater spending cuts as a hardline position: "...newly elected Tea Party Republicans are pushing their own leaders to go further and cut deeper. As the GOP works on next year's federal budget now." Cordes proclaimed: "Republican leaders clearly bowing to that pressure, abandoning their plan to cut $32 billion from the budget after Tea Party members rebelled, demanding cuts that were twice as deep." Neither Wragge nor Cordes noted the size of the national debt in the coverage.     

Here is a full transcript of the February 11 segment:

7:09AM ET

CHRIS WRAGGE: We turn now to Capitol Hill, where newly elected Tea Party Republicans are pushing their own leaders to go further and cut deeper. As the GOP works on next year's federal budget now. CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes has more on this story for us this morning. Nancy, good morning.

NANCY CORDES: Good morning, Chris. Republican leaders clearly bowing to that pressure, abandoning their plan to cut $32 billion from the budget after Tea Party members rebelled, demanding cuts that were twice as deep.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: GOP Power Struggle; Agree to Budget Deal After Early In-Fighting]

JASON CHAFFETZ [REP. R-UT]: What I saw in there was a group of House Republicans very united. We said we're going to cut $100 billion and that's what's going to happen next week.

CORDES: The prospect of a mutiny had sent Republican leaders scrambling to craft an even leaner budget, and make good on their promises to the Tea Party.

NANCY PELOSI [REP. D-CA]: I think what they're finding out is that it's easier to talk about cutting than it is to actually do it.

CORDES: When they were in the minority, Republicans excelled at sticking together. But more members means more opinions. Just this week, small groups of conservatives defeated two of their own party's measures on the House floor.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [MEMBER OF CONGRESS]: The bill is not passed.

CORDES: One to extend provisions of the Patriot Act.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN B [MEMBER OF CONGRESS]: The bill is not passed.

CORDES: And another to take back $180 million in funding from the United Nations.

JOHN BOEHNER [REP. R-OH]: Listen, we're in a new era. I've made it pretty clear that we're going to allow the House to work its will. That means the leaders may not get what they want every day.

CORDES: Some of those divisions have been on display at the annual conservative conference known as CPAC, taking place this week in Washington. Former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were booed by one faction of attendees. While Donald Trump, who's toying with a presidential run in 2012, took a swipe at his fellow Republican, Congressman Ron Paul.

DONALD TRUMP: By the way, Ron Paul cannot get elected, I'm sorry to tell you.

CORDES: The Speaker of the House is downplaying these divisions, saying that these setbacks this week are simply the result of a party that is still getting itself organized now that it controls the House. Chris.

WRAGGE: CBS's Nancy Cordes on Capitol Hill for us this morning. Nancy, thank you.

— Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC