CBS Hypes 'Split' in House GOP Between 'Staunch' Tea Party and 'Mainstream'

Monday's CBS Evening News unsurprisingly ginned up the ideological struggle inside the Republican Party as it covered the ongoing partial government shutdown. Chip Reid spun the face-off inside the House Republican caucus as being between "staunch" Tea Party-aligned representatives inside the House and "mainstream" Republicans.

Reid later played up how House Speaker John Boehner could "face a dilemma" if the Senate came up with a compromise to end the shutdown, and that Boehner "can either allow the House to vote, which will likely split the Republican Party in two and create a major backlash from the Tea Party; or...he can refuse to allow a vote, which could lead to default." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

The correspondent zeroed in on the divide inside the House GOP just moments into his report: "Boehner will still soon have to make a decision of enormous consequence, and the split in his party isn't making it any easier." He soon added that the House Speaker is "the man in the middle – feeling the pressure from all sides, especially from competing factions within his own party."

Reid continued with his "staunch" language about the Tea Party representatives, and hinted at their supposed radical ideology:

CHIP REID: When President Obama was reelected last year, Boehner said ObamaCare was the law of the land. That infuriated Tea Party Republicans, who set about trying to change his mind. They were backed up by a multimillion dollar campaign funded by conservative outside groups....

There are only three or four dozen staunch Tea Party Republicans in the House, but they have influence with conservative activists across the country. Some Tea Party elements tried to oust Boehner as Speaker earlier this year. Eager to avoid another revolt, he joined forces with the Tea Party last month, and demanded that the President's health care law be repealed or delayed, as part of a deal to avoid a government shutdown.

Near the end of the segment, the CBS journalist spotlighted how the "mainstream" House Republicans convinced Speaker Boehner to change his position, and concluded with his hype about the possible "split" if the House leader allowed a vote on any compromise from the Senate.

The full transcript of the Chip Reid report from Monday's CBS Evening News:


SCOTT PELLEY: So, all of this is about to rest on the shoulders of the leader of the Republicans – the Speaker of the House, John Boehner.

Chip Reid has some insight on all of that for us this evening. Chip?

CHIP REID: Well, Scott, this afternoon, Speaker Boehner walked over to the Senate side of the Capitol, and received an update on the negotiations from Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Boehner will still soon have to make a decision of enormous consequence, and the split in his party isn't making it any easier.

REID (voice-over): It's no surprise that Speaker John Boehner sometimes shows his frustration.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R), HOUSE SPEAKER (from October 4, 2013 press conference): I get the Wall Street Journal out, and it says – well, we don't care how long this lasts, because we're winning. This isn't some damn game!

REID: After all, in one of the highest stakes negotiations in years, he is the man in the middle – feeling the pressure from all sides, especially from competing factions within his own party.

When President Obama was reelected last year, Boehner said ObamaCare was the law of the land. That infuriated Tea Party Republicans, who set about trying to change his mind. They were backed up by a multimillion dollar campaign funded by conservative outside groups.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: ObamaCare is dangerous. It can't be implemented.

REID: There are only three or four dozen staunch Tea Party Republicans in the House, but they have influence with conservative activists across the country. Some Tea Party elements tried to oust Boehner as Speaker earlier this year. Eager to avoid another revolt, he joined forces with the Tea Party last month, and demanded that the President's health care law be repealed or delayed, as part of a deal to avoid a government shutdown.

BOEHNER (from September 20, 2013 press conference): The American people don't want the government shut down, and they don't want ObamaCare. (audience cheers and applauds)

REID: But last week, Boehner changed course again, dropping his demand that ObamaCare be part of a deal.

BOEHNER (from October 10, 2013 press conference): I don't want to put anything on the table; I don't want to take anything off the table.

REID: This time, the pressure to switch came from mainstream House Republicans. Boehner had promised them, with the debt limit deadline looming, that he would not allow the nation to default.

REID (on-camera): If there is a deal in the Senate, Boehner will face a dilemma. He can either allow the House to vote, which will likely split the Republican Party in two and create a major backlash from the Tea Party; or, Scott, he can refuse to allow a vote, which could lead to default.

PELLEY: Chip Reid in our Washington newsroom – Chip, thanks very much.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center