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CBS 'Early Show': 'Centrist' Bill Daley Means White House 'Open for Business'

Friday's CBS Early Show praised the pick of former Commerce Secretary William Daley as the new chief of staff for the Obama White House, with senior White House correspondent Bill Plante proclaiming: "While Daley has long ties to the Democratic Party, he's viewed as a centrist whose Wall Street connections should help him with the newly divided Congress."

Following Plante's report, co-host Erica Hill got reaction from former George W. Bush adviser Dan Bartlett and wondered: "As you look at this appointment of Bill Daley....coming over from Chase, he sits on a number of corporate boards. Is the message from the White House essentially not only that the White House is open for, but also open to, business this morning?" Bartlett replied: "I really think that is the clear message. If you take this, coupled with the tax compromise they made at the end of last year, it is sending an important signal."

Hill followed up by again touting Daley's moderate credentials: "...he's really seen as a centrist, Bill Daley is....Is this also an attempt, perhaps, by the President to continue that little bit of cooperation that we saw during the lame duck session?" Bartlett agreed with that assessment: "It seems that way, Erica. On one hand, Bill Daley is the perfect pick. He has the pedigree and the credentials as a partisan....At the same time, as Commerce Secretary under Bill Clinton, in many different postings he's had, he's had the ability to work across party lines, work with the business community."

Bartlett went further, concluding: "So he has a unique opportunity, the President does, with this pick, to send a real signal not only to Congress, but to America....'We understand, we're going to move to the middle.'" He added that Obama was "picking up where he left off at the end of last year with some real political momentum."

At that point, Hill fretted over the reaction of the President's left-wing base: "Should there be any concern, though, about the more liberal folks in the President's party who are feeling a little alienated and are not exactly happy with this choice?" Bartlett emphasized the importance of Obama winning back independents and argued "base satisfaction will come from the Republican nominee, once they're selected."

Here is a full transcript of the January 7 segment:

7:00AM ET TEASE:

ERICA HILL: 'The Daley Show.' President Obama picks former Commerce Secretary William Daley to be his new chief of staff as the White House shake-up continues. We'll go live to Washington and tell you what Republicans on Capitol Hill have to say about it.

7:04AM ET SEGMENT:

ERICA HILL: Also this morning, politics and lots of politicking. This morning President Obama is getting a new chief of staff. While over on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats aren't wasting any time arguing over the record-high deficit and health care. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante has the details for us this morning. Bill, good morning.

BILL PLANTE: Good morning, Erica. Remember all that talk about bipartisanship at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue? Well, it faded pretty quickly when the House got down to business and focused on the President's top priority of last year, his new health care bill.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The Daley Show; Obama Names Fmr. Commerce Secretary Chief-of-Staff]

Democrats came out swinging, backed by a Congressional Budget Office report that said repealing the health care law would actually increase the debt by more than $200 billion.

ROB ANDREWS [REP. D-NJ]: They are breaking their first promise in their first week.

PLANTE: Republicans quickly countered with their own estimate, that the new law would eventually cost $2.6 trillion.

JOHN BOEHNER: I don't think anybody in this town believes that repealing ObamaCare is going to increase the deficit.

PLANTE: And for the first time in the history of the House, the Constitution was read aloud on the floor, minus some sections that were later amended, like the reference to slaves as three-fifths of a person. Perhaps the most dramatic moment came when New Jersey Congressman Frank Palone was reading the section on eligibility requirements for the presidency.

FRANK PALLONE [REP. D-NJ]: No person except a natural born citizen or citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this constitution shall be eligible for the office of president. Neither shall-

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Except Obama! Except Obama!

PLANTE: The protester was removed and arrested. At the White House, President Obama introduced his new chief of staff, Bill Daley.

BARACK OBAMA: Few Americans can boast the breadth of experience that Bill brings to this job.

PLANTE: While Daley has long ties to the Democratic Party, he's viewed as a centrist whose Wall Street connections should help him with the newly divided Congress. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell sounded positive.

MITCH MCCONNELL: I frankly think it's kind of a hopeful sign.

PLANTE: Daley, the brother of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, was Secretary of Commerce in the Clinton administration and chair of Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign. Now he turns his talents to one of the most influential jobs in American government, adviser and gate keeper to the President.

WILLIAM DALEY: I share with you, Mr. President, as they have done in the last two years, that this team will not let you down, nor the nation.

PLANTE: The President's biggest priority, of course, is still fixing the lagging economy. There are new jobs numbers coming out today, and the President will make some appointments today, notably his new chair of the national economic council, Gene Sperling, who held the job in the Clinton administration and is replacing Larry Summers. Erica.

HILL: Bill, thanks. Bill Plante at the White House this morning. Also joining us from Washington, Republican strategist Dan Bartlett, former White House counselor to President George W. Bush. Dan, good morning to you.

DAN BARTLETT: Good morning.

HILL: As you look at this appointment of Bill Daley, Bill talked a little bit about his breadth of experience there. He is, though, coming over from Chase, he sits on a number of corporate boards. Is the message from the White House essentially not only that the White House is open for, but also open to, business this morning?

BARTLETT: I really think that is the clear message. If you take this, coupled with the tax compromise they made at the end of last year, it is sending an important signal. We'll see whether it's symbolic, with regards to a personnel decision, or whether it's going to be substantive and we'll be told more about that in his State of the Union address and his budget that will come out later this month.

HILL: The compromise - you know, Bill mentioned that he's really seen as a centrist, Bill Daley is. He's told The New York Times in the past that he thought the administration miscalculated health care. I mean, he doesn't always see eye to eye with the President on this. Is this also an attempt, perhaps, by the President to continue that little bit of cooperation that we saw during the lame duck session?

BARTLETT: It seems that way, Erica. On one hand, Bill Daley is the perfect pick. He has the pedigree and the credentials as a partisan. Remember, he's somebody who led the recount for Vice President Al Gore. At the same time, as Commerce Secretary under Bill Clinton, in many different postings he's had, he's had the ability to work across party lines, work with the business community. He understands the perspective of the business community because he served in senior posts, like you mentioned, on Wall Street. So he has a unique opportunity, the President does, with this pick, to send a real signal not only to Congress, but to America, and to independents, who have kind of moved away from this president to say, 'Hey, take another look. We understand, we're going to move to the middle.' So in many respects he's picking up where he left off at the end of last year with some real political momentum.

HILL: Should there be any concern, though, about the more liberal folks in the President's party who are feeling a little alienated and are not exactly happy with this choice?

BARTLETT: Well, that's the challenge for him as he goes into his own re-election as you have to take care of your base, you have to keep them energized. And I think the calculation they're making, and I bet it's the right one at this point, is that the bigger political problem for them was all the independents and those who came to his defense and came to his - his support during his '08 election, those are the critical votes going into his re-election and that they will find other ways to keep their base satisfied. And a lot of that base satisfaction will come from the Republican nominee, once they're selected.

HILL: Yes, that will determine so much. You worked in the White House, Dan. Talk to us a little bit about the timing of not only this change but some of the other ones which are coming from the White House.

BARTLETT: Well, I've got to admit that's the one part, as somebody who has actually worked in the West Wing, I give a little bit of pause. These are the types of decisions that it's easier to make in December when things are winding down and the holidays are there so you can get people settled into their roles, you can get people comfortable with the new rhythm of a chief of staff, of people running something as important as the top economic positions, so it's going to be a very hectic January right when they're trying to get the State of the Union address ready, to get the budget ready to roll out, so a lot of long nights and early mornings there in the West Wing. I'm sure they'll figure it out, but that would be the only thing, just from a practical standpoint, that's going to be a challenge for this White House.

HILL: Right. Although, I guess that way it doesn't get lost in the shuffle of the holidays. And aren't they always long nights and days in the White House, Dan?

BARTLETT: I have to admit, they are.

HILL: Dan Bartlett, good to have you with us as always, thanks.

BARTLETT: Thank you, Erica.

WRAGGE: Those long days, long nights, that's why there's so much turn over every couple of years.

HILL: Can't last for too long.

WRAGGE: You can only take so much.

 

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