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Pelley Cites Tea Party as 'Problem' as ABC Relays 'Disgust,' Pelley Prompts Obama to Hail Reagan's Compromise 'Virtue'

In a relatively inoffensive interview with President Barack Obama for Tuesday's CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley implied the Tea Party (and maybe congressional liberals too) should be blamed for blocking a debt ceiling deal ('Isn't the problem that a large number of the Members of Congress will not follow your leadership or the Republican leadership?') and fondly recalled how 'it wasn't that long ago when compromise in Washington was considered a virtue, not a vice.'

Pelley touted how 'Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but they respected each other, they liked each other and they got things done.' That allowed Obama to use Reagan to scold conservatives: 'If Ronald Reagan could compromise, why wouldn't folks who idolize Ronald Reagan be willing to engage in those same kinds of compromises?'

(That exchange came after Pelley imbued his session with importance as he pointed out 'we spoke with the President in the same room where FDR broadcast his fireside chats.')

Meanwhile, over on ABC's World News, Jake Tapper highlighted another scolding aimed at the Tea Pary, this one from a cranky contrarian:

Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, who co-chaired the deficit commission, said the American people are rightly disgusted. And he's personally bothered by Republicans undermining any chance of Speaker Boehner compromising.

But Obama's scare-mongering didn't bother ABC where Diane Sawyer led, not by condemning it, but by trumpeting it: 'With the economy on the brink over the debt talks, the President warns Social Security checks could be in jeopardy.'

Pelley teased his newscast by conveying that less than high-minded polemical strike: 'Tonight, the President tells us Social Security checks may be in jeopardy.' Pelley accepted the claim at face-value, opening:

Good evening. It was a striking thing, today, to hear the President of the United States say that he cannot guarantee the 27 million Social Security checks that are due to be mailed August 3rd.

The new CBS anchor also offered a balanced description beneficial to liberals as he insisted 'both sides say they won't raise the limit without a deal to massively cut the federal deficit.' Democrats really want to 'massively cut the federal deficit'?

From the Tuesday, July 12 CBS Evening News:

SCOTT PELLEY: Good evening. It was a striking thing, today, to hear the President of the United States say that he cannot guarantee the 27 million Social Security checks that are due to be mailed August 3rd. August 3rd is the day after the government will default on its debts if Democrats and Republicans do not agree to increase the nation's borrowing limit. Both sides say they won't raise the limit without a deal to massively cut the federal deficit.

....

PELLEY, TO OBAMA: Every day, you bring the leadership into the cabinet room right next to the Oval Office, but I wonder, isn't the problem that a large number of the Members of Congress will not follow your leadership or the Republican leadership?

....

PELLEY: In our interview today, we spoke with the President in the same room where FDR broadcast his fireside chats. It wasn't that long ago when compromise in Washington was considered a virtue, not a vice.

PELLEY TO OBAMA: Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but they respected each other, they liked each other and they got things done. Do you like Speaker Boehner?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I do, and I think John would like to do the right thing.

PELLEY: Do you trust him?

OBAMA: I do trust that when John tells me something he means it. I think that his challenge right now is inside his caucus, but I think Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill are a great example. Ronald Reagan repeatedly took steps that included revenue in order for him to accomplish some of these larger goals, and the question is, if Ronald Reagan could compromise, why wouldn't folks who idolize Ronald Reagan be willing to engage in those same kinds of compromises?

PELLEY: Do you regret any of the things you've said in all this?

OBAMA: No, I think I have been pretty restrained.

PELLEY: You told the Congress they don't do their work as well as their daughters do their homework.

ABC's World News, picking up after Tapper described Mitch McConnell's fallback plan:

JAKE TAPPER: ...President Obama told CBS News that if this impasse is not resolved before default day, August 2nd, there will be an immediate effect on Social Security, veterans' benefits and Medicaid.

OBAMA TO CBS NEWS: I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue.

FORMER SENATOR ALAN SIMPSON: This is turning into a laugh, except there's nothing funny about it.

TAPPER: Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, who co-chaired the deficit commission, said the American people are rightly disgusted. And he's personally bothered by Republicans undermining any chance of Speaker Boehner compromising.

SIMPSON: If that the stuff that's going on in my party, where the pettiness overcomes the patriotism, it's disgusting to me.

TAPPER: Diane, a Democrat familiar with negotiations said that there was, this evening in that room, a growing recognition they need to put aside the talking points and get to work. But Diane, the clock is ticking.

- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brent Baker on Twitter.