Only ABC Highlights Obama's Flip-Flop on a Budget Solution That Doesn't 'Hike' Tax Rates

One year ago, Barack Obama backed a budget solution that would not "hike" tax rates. Now, the President rejects this plan, an apparent flip-flop only ABC's Jake Tapper reported. House Speaker John Boehner has proposed a plan that increases revenues though the closing of loopholes and the elimination of deductions.

On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Tapper reminded that "what the Republicans are offering sounds a lot like what the President wanted during last year's budget showdown." He then played a 2011 clip of Obama requesting, "Give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking tax rates by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] CBS This Morning and NBC's Today both ignored this quote.

Instead, Today co-host Savannah Guthrie insisted that Boehner is in an "unenviable position" because "he has to get the deal, he has to sell it to the far right of his caucus in the House." Over on CBS, Major Garrett described the Republican's response to Obama as "bah, humbug."

On Tuesday's evening newscasts, Tapper, again, was the only journalist to mention Obama's 2011 remarks versus his current position.

USA Today described the reversal:

Turns out that President Obama once backed the idea of raising more government revenue by closing tax loopholes rather than by raising tax rates.

Congressional Republicans are flagging this Obama comment from 2011: "What we said was give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without

 hiking taxes -- tax rates -- but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base."

...

Said a statement from Boehner's office: "It's a solution President Obama himself once supported. If the math worked in 2011, why doesn't it work today?"

A transcript of the December 5 GMA segment can be found below:


7:09

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: The latest now on that fiscal cliff. Everyone's taxes set to go up in just 27 days if Congress and the White House can't strike a deal. And publicly, at least, President Obama is taking a harder line with every day that goes by. ABC's Jake Tapper is covering it all from the White House. And Jake, it's clear that President Obama believes he has the upper hand here.

JAKE TAPPER: He sure does, George. And later today, President Obama will speak to corporate executives at the business roundtable. And he'll try to enlist their help with negotiations with congressional Republicans. And his latest demand, that Congress remove its own power, as it stands right now, to raise the debt ceiling. It is a bold gambit that congressional Republicans are already calling a non-starter. Paul Ryan stepped back into the spotlight late Tuesday, with a feisty shot at the President.

PAUL RYAN: I congratulate him on his victory. But on January 20th, he'll face a stagnant economy and a fiscal mess. You might even say, he'll inherit these problems.

TAPPER: There's a lot of bah humbug in Washington, D.C. These days. 'Tis the season to be surly. The President told Bloomberg Television that without tax rates going up on the wealthiest Americans, there will be no deal to avert going over the fiscal cliff.

BARACK OBAMA: We're going to have to see the rates on the top two percent go up. And we're not going to be able to get a deal without it.

TAPPER: House Republicans are adamant, no tax rate increases.

JOHN BOEHNER: We're willing to put revenues on the table. Revenues that come from closing loopholes, getting rid of special interest deductions and not raising rates.

TAPPER: But what the Republicans are offering sounds a lot like what the President wanted during last year's budget showdown.

OBAMA: Give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking tax rates by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions.

TAPPER: Today, however, the President says those moves will not be enough. And the latest Pew poll, George, indicates a lot of public pessimism. With 49 percent of the public saying they do not expect a deal to be struck by the deadline. Forty percent, a little more optimistic. George?

STEPHANOPOULOS: It sure looks like this is going to go right to the deadline. Okay, Jake, 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