One more data point demonstrating the leftward tilt of the purportedly non-partisan Politico:
In his Playbook of today, Politico's chief White House correspondent Mike Allen depicts a "grand bargain" on the credit ceiling, which inevitably would include huge tax increases, as an "historic achievement" for which President Obama and House speaker John Boehner would "rightly get credit."
In contrast, Allen suggests that Republican leaders Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy are refusing a grand bargain out of petty political ambition.
On Friday’s World News on ABC, correspondent Jonathan Karl took a moment to go beyond the budget debate between House Republicans and President Obama with the GOP unwilling to support a tax increase, and noted that House Democrats have also been just as resistant to voting for cutting the growth of Medicare spending. But the same night's CBS Evening News focused on Republican reluctance to support some of the budget proposals and even gave the impression at one point that congressional Democrats were willing to curtail Medicare growth.
On ABC, after recounting some of the Republicans who have resisted voting for budget plans that have been brought up, Karl continued:
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes filed a report on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as a "lightning rod" for sharp criticism from Democrats because of his role in budget negotiations with President Obama. After beginning the report with a clip of Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer asserting that Cantor "has yet to make a constructive contribution," and after recounting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had called the Republican leader "childish," Cordes seemed to legitimize the insults as she asserted that Cantor had provided "plenty of ammunition":
It has been widely reported that President Barack Obama walked out of Wednesday night's debt limit meeting, but MSNBC's Martin Bashir on Thursday was in complete denial that the Democratic president, who's merely "exasperated by Republicans playing this dangerous game," would conduct himself in such a way.
During his daily "Clear the Air" segment, Bashir offered mounds of incredulity but not a shred of evidence to contradict numerous reports of Obama abruptly and prematurely terminating the meeting:
Hmm, I'm not so sure about that...The president losing his temper, abruptly, and rudely cutting short the conversation? Running from a room inside the White House? Does that sound the like president that we've gotten to know during the last two and a half years? Or is that the kind of behavior we've now come to expect from Eric Cantor over the last few weeks?
Also yesterday came a stern reminder from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that the president has repeatedly listened to the concerns of Congress but that "nobody can out debate him." Check out a video of Pelosi's remarks after the break, and let us know what you think of Obama's actions in the comments.
Wannabe liberal reporters in J-school could use Alex Altman's July 11 Swampland blog post at Time.com as a template for biased coverage of the federal budget battle.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is a "hard-line" conservative aligned with House Republican freshmen "who would rather risk economic catastrophe than give ideological ground" by agreeing to tax increases, Altman informed readers yesterday.
Of course Altman worked hard to avoid the T-word, latching on to the euphemism "revenue increases" to refer to tax hikes and not once examined if there are hard-liners in the White House or on the Democratic side of the aisle when it comes to reaching a debt ceiling deal.
The New York Times on Friday once again proved itself to have absolutely no clue how budgets work.
In its editorial "Negotiating the Debt Ceiling on a Knife's Edge," the Times - like so many other math-challenged "news" organizations in America today - blamed the current debt ceiling woes on the Bush tax cuts and Republican refusal to raise revenues:
NBC's David Gregory challenged House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Thursday's Today show, insinuating that Republican efforts to include tax cuts along with closing tax loopholes is not an effective compromise if Democrats are willing to cut entitlement spending.
Gregory seemed to frame the debate around whether Republicans would make the "tough" choice of not cutting taxes, since Democrats were reaching across the aisle with their "tough" choice of cutting entitlement spending. The Today show co-host pressed Cantor, "if Democrats are willing to cut trillions of dollars, which is certainly what you wanted in spending cuts, what is the Republican Party prepared to do in this negotiation that is hard?"
Sunday’s Washington Post Magazine features House Speaker John Boehner on the cover, and next to his face are the words "While the SPEAKER battles against the Democrats, is his BIGGEST THREAT from his own party?" (All the words are capitalized, actually, but "Speaker" and "biggest threat" are much larger.)
Post reporter Michael Leahy spent several pages wondering if the "Young Guns" directly under Boehner will eventually overtake him if he’s not "feverish" enough for the conservative base. It’s accurate, even positive, to cast new House members as "feisty" and "aggressive," but beware those Tea Party hotheads when they’re "feverish" – metaphorically, not medically, of course:
Remember all that talk a few months ago about toning down the violent rhetoric on the airwaves in the wake of the tragic shootings in Tucson?
On HBO's "Real Time" Friday night, Bill Maher actually joked about a wall collapsing on Congressman Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Why pull punches? Steve Cohen (D-TN) has been my political hero for a long time, and I have never been more proud of Steve Cohen. Steve has the balls and spine to call out the fact that Republicans are engaging in the SAME tactics that the Nazis did in Europe - taking a big lie, and repeating it over and over, louder and louder, until people believe it. Meanwhile, Eric Cantor keeps enabling the lie of the "birthers", by not calling it a lie. Cantor's career as a Republican apologist goes back to when his daddy was Reagan's State Campaign Treasurer in 1980...
There are times it seems the folks at MSNBC are so driven by their liberal agenda that they're missing their own hypocrisy even when it happens on the same show separated by mere minutes.
Take for example Chris Matthews who moments after a lengthy segment Monday complaining about Glenn Beck and the so-called "violent rhetoric of the Right" ironically tied Tea Party members to "Nazi stuff" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Talking to New York Senator Chuck Schumer on Sunday's Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer said of a video statement released by President Obama on Saturday: "If I didn't know better and had my eyes closed I might have thought that was President Reagan talking." Schieffer specifically referred to Obama's call for spending cuts, noting: "It sounded very much like a speech that a Republican would make."
After Schumer promised his party was serious about deficit reduction, Schieffer proceeded to characterize Republican calls for spending cuts in much less flattering light: "Eric Cantor said this morning, under hard questioning I should add, that yes indeed cancer research would also be on the table when you talk about cutting spending. Can you envision cuts in cancer research?"
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":
Despite virtually all economists and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve finding Friday's unemployment report disappointing, MSNBC's Ed Schultz parroted President Obama's take that the numbers released by the Labor Department were good news.
The "Ed Show" host crowed so gleefully about the much-maligned data that he even said it was evidence the 2009 stimulus package worked (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Thursday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes derided Republican efforts to repeal ObamaCare: "On Friday, they begin their assault on health care reform, with a vote to repeal the law scheduled for next week."
Cordes noted how repeal "will hit a wall in the Senate," observing: "That legislative reality will force both sides to work together on some issues, something Speaker Boehner promised to Democrats." However, moments later she touted Democratic accusations of GOP partisanship: "Democrats are already crying foul, saying that that vote to repeal health care is being held without holding hearings first, without allowing amendments, a move that they argue flies in the face of all those promises of openness."
Former Democratic aide turned journalist George Stephanopoulos on Thursday parroted Nancy Pelosi and warned the Republican Majority Leader about taking away health care benefits from Americans. The Good Morning America anchor also repeatedly needled Eric Cantor on the details of the GOP plan to cut spending.
On the subject of health care, Stephanopoulos recited, "And yesterday, the outgoing House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, really threw down the gauntlet in her speech, laying out the benefits Americans will get, she says Americans will get, thanks to the passage of health reform." After playing a clip of the ex-Speaker, he chided, "Do you think Americans really want to lose the benefits outlined by Nancy Pelosi?"
At no time did Stephanopoulos wonder about the cost of the "benefits" or where they came from. Instead, he pressed Cantor on the difficulty of cutting spending, asking five times for a specific number: "What is the target House Republicans are trying to meet this year in spending cuts? And can you lay out, specifically, how you're going to get there?...What's the number?"
Liberal newspapers may claim that taxpayer-funded art galleries should take “public sensitivities” into account, but in reality, they don’t want members of Congress actually representing the insulted public by speaking out against anti-Christian exhibits.
Friday’s Washington Post led their editorial page with the headline “The censors arrive: Do Republicans really want to ride into power with a burst of small-minded intolerance?” That’s funny: Christians might find the “small-minded intolerance” coming from artists who think that modern-day Christianity is an oppressive, Jesus-betraying force – as represented by ants crawling all over Jesus on a crucifix. Here’s the key passage:
Public sensibilities must be taken into account when taxpayer funds are in play, but the use of public dollars does not give lawmakers the right to micromanage or censor displays. Nor should the occasional dust-up be justification for threatened retribution against these valuable national assets. We hope Mr. Cantor's threats prompt many additional Washingtonians to visit the exhibit and judge for themselves.
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante scolded Republicans for not being willing to work with Democrats in an upcoming White House meeting: "President Obama made a point of raising expectations for Republicans, who up to now have united against him....The newly empowered Republicans...seemed in no mood to compromise."
Plante went on to cite a Washington Post op ed by Republican congressional leaders as evidence of their resistance to compromise: "...sure to aggravate the Democrats, with language like this: 'Our friends across the aisle have clung for too long to the liberal wish list, including a job-killing health care law. Now we have a real chance to move away from the misplaced priorities of the past two years.'" While touting raised expectations for the GOP, Plante also highlighted Democratic efforts to lower expectations for themselves: "The White House spokesman is trying to keep expectations for today's meeting low. Probably a good idea in light of what the Republicans had to say in their op-ed in today's paper."
NBC's Matt Lauer, on Tuesday's Today show, invited on soon to be House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to discuss today's meeting of Republican congressional leaders with Barack Obama, and in the process tried to force Cantor to move in the President's direction on raising taxes. The Today co-anchor opened the conversation by wondering if Cantor was going into the meeting in the mood for "compromise or confrontation" and then quickly brought up the issue of extending the Bush era tax cuts as he pressed: "Could you not see possibly raising taxes just a little bit?" on those making over $250,000 a year.
Cantor responded that job growth and tax cuts were intertwined as he educated Lauer: "We want to make sure that we're doing everything to get people back to work right now and that means we've got to ensure that taxes don't go up on anybody, especially on the small businesses that we're expecting to create jobs so we can finally bring the unemployment down."
The idea was first proposed months ago by House Republicans, as Politico notes, but it apparently took an electoral "shellacking" to get the president on board. Congressional Democrats are still hesitant.
"I am encouraged by President Obama's proposal to freeze non-military federal pay for the next two years. This past May, House Republicans, prompted by YouCut voters, offered the very same spending-cut proposal on the floor of the House," [House GOP Whip Eric] Cantor said in a statement to POLITICO.
Contrasting a “contrite” President Obama with a “less conciliatory” Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, CBS reporter Nancy Cordes on Thursday night conveyed Democratic concern about likely House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's pledge to hold oversight hearings as she recalled “a barrage of damaging probes, one of which ended in impeachment hearings.”
Cantor, Cordes asserted, has called “for more investigations into the administration, with quote 'one major oversight hearing each week.' That worries Democrats, who remember what happened the last time Republicans controlled the House during a Democratic presidency.” She then challenged Darrell Issa, now the ranking minority member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: “Democrats have said that you're going to start a witch-hunt against the President if Republicans take control.”
Lawrence "Crazy Larry" O'Donnell was back to his former self during MSNBC's Election Night coverage Tuesday. During the 9 p.m. EDT hour the MSNBC anchor claimed that if Rand Paul holds to his "principles" and filibusters an attempt to raise the debt ceiling, it would destroy the United States' credit rating and possibly spark a worldwide depression. O'Donnell also pressed House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on the matter.
After Cantor refused to give O'Donnell a direct answer to his oddball question, the frustrated MSNBC host ranted that he didn't want to see Cantor on MSNBC again.
In the beginning segment, O'Donnell was giving commentary after live coverage of Rand Paul's victory speech. Paul, he noted, will soon be pressed to vote on raising the debt ceiling, something which O'Donnell asserted is vital to the health of the U.S. economy.
Politico's Mike Allen on Monday told Laura Ingraham the only way to do a piece about what Washington insiders are really thinking is to get anonymous opinions from unnamed sources unwilling to go on the record.
Less than 24 hours later, New York Times columnist David Brooks showed Allen how wrong he is in an article about what Republicans are feeling heading into Tuesday's midterm elections complete with the names of those offering opinions:
On Friday morning, after airing a full report on the Democratic strategy of painting Republican candidates as "dangerous" and "extreme," CBS’s The Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez seemed surprised when Republican guest Eric Cantor disagreed with her view that "there is no question these Tea Party Republicans are outside the Republican mainstream," and her suggestion that next year Republican congressional leaders may be in the "tricky position" of "feeling indebted to these candidates while trying to keep them in line."
And, picking up on Republican accusations of Democrats being extreme, the CBS anchor also wondered, "If these Tea Party-backed candidates win the election, wouldn't we just be going from one extreme to another?"
Meanwhile, over on the Today show, NBC’s David Gregory repeated the theory of some Democrats that Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell and other Tea Party-backed candidates are hurting Republicans in neighboring Pennsylvania. And, while he at least conceded that the Tea Party is a "legitimate movement," he described Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle – in addition to O’Donnell – as "outliers." He did not acknowledge the role the mainstream media may be playing in turning swing voters against Tea Party candidates.