Good Morning America's Jake Tapper on Tuesday spun Barack Obama's reaction to a tax deal with Republicans this way: "The devil made him do it..." The devil, apparently, being GOP representatives.
Picking an easy target as an example, Tapper asserted that, as a result of tax rates staying the same, the "family of the average Wall Street banker [who] paid more than $300,000 last year, will keep more than $9300 of it."
Co-host Robin Roberts and news anchor Juju Chang both made sure to highlight Democratic unhappiness over the deal. In an 8am news brief, Chang noted that Joe Biden will be dispatched to lobby Democratic support. She worried, "Many are outraged that the President has agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts for all Americans, including the wealthy."
Roberts pointed out that there was "a lot of criticism from Senate and House Democrats, feeling the President should have fought more." On November 30, GMA's George Stephanopoulos lobbied Republicans to "move the President's way" on "tax cuts for millionaires."
Yet, on Tuesday, Roberts was more cheery. Recounting Obama's plan for a payroll tax holiday, she trumpeted, "We break down the numbers, the numbers that will cut payroll taxes for every American worker."
A transcript of the December 7 segment can be found below:
ROBIN ROBERTS: It's a deal. The President and Republican leaders hammer out an agreement to extend the Bush tax cuts. We break down the numbers, the numbers that will cut payroll taxes for every American worker.
ROBERTS: The President announced a deal with top Republicans on a extending the Bush tax cuts. And in a strange twist, Republicans may be more onboard with the President than Democrats are. Jake Tapper has the latest. Joins us, as always, from the White House. Good morning, Jake.
ABC GRAPHIC: Tax Cut Deal: What It Means for You
JAKE TAPPER: Good morning, Robin. That's exactly right. President Obama is under fire from congressional Democrats for agreeing to extend those Bush tax cuts for wealthier Americans. A part of the deal, a key part of the deal, even though President Obama has spent years campaigning against those very tax cuts. The devil made him do it, the President said.
BARACK OBAMA: Republicans will block a permanent tax cut for the middle class, unless they also get a permanent tax cut for the wealthiest Americans.
TAPPER: So, he backed down and cut a deal to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone, for two more years.
OBAMA: I'm not willing to let working families across this country become collateral damage for political warfare here in Washington.
TAPPER: The President did get some concessions from Republicans. Extending unemployment insurance benefits for an additional 13 months for approximately nine million Americans. Without it, two million jobless workers would have lost their benefits over the holidays. Extending several tax credits for working families, including for college tuition and children. And a two percent payroll tax holiday for every American. So, what will this deal mean for you? The average U.S. household, with an income just below $50,000, keeps that Bush tax cut of $2,124. And gets almost $1,000 from the lower payroll tax. Plus a $1,000 credit per child. And a partially refundable charge of up to $2500 for college tuition.
OBAMA: I have no doubt that everyone will find something in this compromise that they don't like. In fact, there are things that I don't like.
TAPPER: The things that the President does not like includes continuing the Bush tax cuts for income over $250,000 a year. Meaning the family of the average Wall Street banker paid more than $300,000 last year, will keep more than $9300 of it. $1,306 more than Obama wanted them to keep.
ROBERTS: And, Jake, as you told us, a lot of criticism from Senate and House Democrats, feeling the President should have fought more. How is the White House responding?
TAPPER: Well, they make two points, Robin. First of all, as you heard in that piece, the President wasn't willing to gamble. Wasn't willing to throw middle class voters under the bus. Their taxes would have gone up as of January 1st, just to make a political point. That's one. And the second point is, they say President Obama wanted a fight on this issue for months before the midterms, he was talking about it. But Democrats in Congress wouldn't vote. Said one senior White House official, "Democrats wouldn't throw a punch. It was like having the Jets versus the Sharks. Except, there were no Jets." They're befuddled by the criticism because they say, where was the congressional Democrats when they wanted this fight?
ROBERTS: Hey, don't talk about the Jets this morning after what happened last night. Too soon for that. All right, Jake. Thanks so much.
— Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.