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CBS Lets Wasserman Schultz Bash GOP, Omits Her Rosy Economic Spin

CBS's Erica Hill let DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz bash congressional Republicans unopposed on Thursday's Early Show. Hill also failed to ask the Florida Democrat about her eye-opening claim on Wednesday that "anyone" can see that the economy is improving "and now, we've begun to turn the corner."

The anchor brought on Wasserman Schultz, the morning show's only political guest, for a softball interview on the recovery of her friend and colleague, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Near the end of the segment, though, Hill raised President Obama's jobs bill: "Is there anything that you found, in talking with your colleagues on either side of the aisle, that you think can bring lawmakers together in Washington, to find some sort of compromise that will satisfy as close to everyone as you can get?"

The liberal politician immediately attacked the House Majority Leader:

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, not if you talk to Eric Cantor, because that was the most shocking thing that happened this week, was that the majority leader, Eric Cantor, specifically said that the American Jobs Act, as proposed by the President, is dead; that they won't even allow a vote on it, up or down; that the parties are so far apart that actual major reform is not possible.

You know, I don't know. I'm not ready to quit on the process. I'm not ready to quit on democracy, and I think we need to roll up our sleeves and work together to try to pass the American Jobs Act, make sure that we can put people back to work, invest in the infrastructure, make sure that we can keep teachers and first responders on the job, give small businesses and the average middle class American a 15 payroll tax cut. It's hard to understand- what are the Republicans opposed to- of any of those things?

Hill ended the segment after this answer, without asking her guest about her response to the President's admission on Monday that American's weren't better off than they were four years ago. On Wednesday, Craig Bannister of CNSNews.com (a division of the MRC) reported on the Florida representative's answer:

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, what President Obama said was that, certainly, since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, that Americans are not better off. That was specifically the President's comment, I thought. And I think anyone who looks at the economy today knows we have come a long way. We are certainly no longer dropping like a rock, like we were in the months leading up to President Obama taking office. And now, we've begun to turn the corner.

The full transcript of Erica Hill's interview of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, which began 10 minutes into the 8 am Eastern hour of Thursday's Early Show:


ERICA HILL: Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is making a rare public appearance today in Washington. The last time we saw her was August, when she returned to Congress for the first time since she was shot and wounded in January. Giffords is back in Washington today for the Navy retirement ceremony for her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly.

And joining us this morning to talk about how she is doing is her friend and colleague, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who's also chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. Nice to have you with us this morning.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, (D), FLORIDA: Thanks, Erica. Good to be with you, too.

HILL: Give us an idea- the latest on Congresswoman Giffords's recovery- any milestones you can tell us about in the past few months?

[CBS News Graphic: "Giffords in D.C.: Recovering Lawmaker Makes Rare Appearance"]

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, Gabby continues to make really wonderful progress. You know, with each passing month, she's working so hard and, you know, rehabilitation and physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy. She's just really progressing along the way. All of the doctors would like her to and even beyond that. And we're so proud of her, and I'm really excited to be able to see her this afternoon.

HILL: And you are in regular contact with her, I know. Are you able to have a full conversation with her on the phone at this point?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: She's able to initiate some conversation and respond extensively. And so, yes, you can have conversations with her.

HILL: And a lot of people wondering- any talk at this point of when she may return to Washington for her job as a congresswoman there?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know, we're still ten months from the shooting in January, and she's got a long way to go. She's working very hard. They're not focused on that at this point. At this point, they're still focused on trying to have her make a full recovery.

HIL: There's also, of course, a lot going on in Washington besides the retirement ceremony for Mark Kelly-

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Yeah, a little bit- (laughs)

HILL: And Congresswoman Giffords's time there. (laughs) And a lot of focus by the American people on what is happening, where, in many cases, they feel what is not happening in Congress. As we look at this jobs bill, which President Obama is about to embark on a bus tour to promote, there have been new proposals out in the last few days. Senator Harry Reid [is] talking about this new 5% tax on those households that make a million-plus. Is there anything that you found, in talking with your colleagues on either side of the aisle, that you think can bring lawmakers together in Washington, to find some sort of compromise that will satisfy as close to everyone as you can get?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, not if you talk to Eric Cantor, because that was the most shocking thing that happened this week, was that the majority leader, Eric Cantor, specifically said that the American Jobs Act, as proposed by the President, is dead; that they won't even allow a vote on it, up or down; that the parties are so far apart that actual major reform is not possible.

You know, I don't know. I'm not ready to quit on the process. I'm not ready to quit on democracy, and I think we need to roll up our sleeves and work together to try to pass the American Jobs Act, make sure that we can put people back to work, invest in the infrastructure, make sure that we can keep teachers and first responders on the job, give small businesses and the average middle class American a 15 payroll tax cut. It's hard to understand- what are the Republicans opposed to- of any of those things?

HIL: We have to cut it there for time, but good to have you with us this morning, and I know we'll be talking more about it-

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thanks.

HILL: Thanks again.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you.

— Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.