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Mark Halperin: Press Would Be 'Up In Arms' If GOP President Framed Opposition's Budget as Un-American

Time's Mark Halperin called out the mainstream media Thursday for what he deemed to be a double-standard in the press's treatment of Democrats and Republicans. If - as President Obama did Wednesday - a Republican president framed his opposition's budget as un-American, Halperin claimed the press would be "up in arms."

"I think if a Republican president called the Democratic proposals on something like this un-American, I think the press would be up in arms about it," Halperin remarked. Co-host Joe Scarborough agreed, saying that the press would "savage" a GOP president for such a remark.

President Obama ridiculed the fiscal plan of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) in his Wednesday address concerning the budget. "That's not a vision of the America I know," he said of the GOP proposals.

"This vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America," President Obama stated. "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don't think there's anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don't have any clout on Capitol Hill."

Halperin said the words added insult to injury with Rep. Ryan in the front row of the audience. "I think that kind of rhetoric - for the President to say, that what Paul Ryan is doing is not consistent with his vision of America - I think that's rhetoric that only added insult, injury to the insult of inviting him to sit in the front row."

Both Halperin and Scarborough also questioned why President Obama even gave Ryan a front-row seat, if he had planned to attack the GOP budget proposals.

"I think the president does believe that the Ryan plan is not the America that he grew up in or the America he wants," Scarborough remarked. "I'm just saying, for negotiating reasons, why invite him to sit in the front row and say that his budget is not serious and is un-American when Paul Ryan's been fighting his entire life for this?"

"I totally agree," Halperin said. "It seems like a weird decision to make.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on April 14 at 6:11 a.m. EDT, is as follows:



MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Now, the president did get political in his speech, taking a few veiled shots at Paul Ryan's budget plan. Take a listen.

BARACK OBAMA: This vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America . . . Ronald Reagan's own budget director said there's nothing serious or courageous about this plan . . . There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don't think there's anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don't have any clout on Capitol Hill . . . That's not a vision of the America I know.

(...)

MARK HALPERIN: I think if a Republican president called the Democratic proposals on something like this un-American, I think the press would be up in arms.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: They would savage him.

HALPERIN: They would be up in arms. I think that kind of rhetoric: for the president to say, that what Paul Ryan is doing is not consistent with his vision of America, I think that's rhetoric that only added insult, injury to the insult of inviting him to sit in the front row.

SCARBOROUGH: Republicans have said a lot of really, really tough things about Barack Obama. Really tough things. So, it's not even the words, it's not the rhetoric. I think the president does believe that the Ryan plan is not the America that he grew up in or the America he wants. I'm just saying, for negotiating reasons, why invite him to sit in the front row and say that his budget is not serious and is un-American when Paul Ryan's been fighting his entire life for this?

HALPERIN: I totally agree. It seems like a weird decision to make.

- Matt Hadro