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'Bah, Humbug' – CBS's Garrett Channels Obama's 'Scrooge' Slam of GOP

On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Major Garrett promoted a thinly-veiled version of President Obama's "Scrooge Christmas" attack on congressional Republicans. After spotlighting how White House Press Secretary Jay Carney maligned the GOP's fiscal cliff solution as "magic beans and fairy dust," Garrett added that the "Republicans answered backbah, humbug."

The CBS morning newscast, along with NBC's Today, aided the President by failing to point out that his rejection of the Republican plan is a 180 from his position in 2011. That year, the Democrat called for "$1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking tax rates by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions."

Anchor Charlie Rose previewed Garrett's report on the continuing fiscal cliff face-off with a boxing analogy: "President Obama comes out swinging over the fiscal cliff fight, saying Republicans are out of balance." The former Fox News correspondent soon noted that the chief executive had "rejected [House Speaker] Boehner's proposal." Garrett then played the clip of the "out of balance" remark from the President. A graphic during the report also forwarded the Obama phrase: "Fiscal Cliff Finger-Pointing: Obama Calls GOP Plan 'Out Of Balance'".

The CBS journalist continued by outlining the GOP plan: "Republicans want smaller tax increases overall, and no movement on higher income tax rates. They want to cut unnamed tax breaks and deductions, which they say will do more to boost economic growth."

Garrett's gratuitous Scrooge reference came later in the report as he further emphasized the Obama administration's intransigent opposition to extending the Bush-era tax cuts on the rich:

GARRETT: ...The White House considers the proposal and the economic rationale behind it laughable.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY (from press briefing): We don't know what we're talking about in terms of actual legislation to increase revenues. It's magic beans and fairy dust.

GARRETT: Republicans answered back – bah, humbug.

SEN. JOHN THUNE, (R), SOUTH DAKOTA (from press conference): This is a proposal that just absolutely is not serious. The administration knows it.

Just under a week ago, during his first week on the job with the Big Three network, the correspondent had hyped the newly-reelected Democrat's apparent populist stand in the budget negotiations: "President Obama is adamant about protecting existing income tax rates for middle-income earners and raising them on the wealthy."

The full transcript of Major Garrett's report from Wednesday's CBS This Morning:

CHARLIE ROSE: The headline out of Washington: a lot of talk, not a lot of action. Not surprisingly, the White House and Congress remain far from any deal to prevent automatic tax hikes and spending cuts.

NORAH O'DONNELL And with just 27 days to go, Republicans are not talking with the Obama administration, and the President is only talking on TV.

Major Garrett is at the White House. Major, good morning.

[CBS News Graphic: "Fiscal Cliff Finger-Pointing: Obama Calls GOP Plan 'Out Of Balance'"]

MAJOR GARRETT: Well, good – good morning, Charlie and Norah. You know, there were vague references here at the White House yesterday to conversations going on with congressional Republicans about the fiscal cliff. Well, I can report this morning from my sources on Capitol Hill and here at the White House that there were no substantive conversations yesterday at any level at all - no exchanges via e-mail, no informal chats - nothing.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Let's get on with lighting the tree.

GARRETT (voice-over): House Speaker John Boehner's countdown led to the bright lights of the Capitol Hill Christmas tree last night. (clip of Boehner and crowding chanting "Three, two, one", followed by the crowd cheering) But Washington is counting down this month to the dark unknown of the fiscal cliff.

OBAMA: Thanks for having me.

GARRETT: In his first interview on the fiscal cliff, President Obama rejected Boehner's proposal.

OBAMA: Unfortunately, the Speaker's proposal right now is still out of balance.

GARRETT: That means Republicans have to bow to the message Mr. Obama's been pounding since winning re-election - raise income tax rates on households earning more than $250,000 a year.

OBAMA: We're going to have to see the rates on the top two percent go up, and we're not going to be able to get a deal without it.

GARRETT: Republicans want smaller tax increases overall, and no movement on higher income tax rates. They want to cut unnamed tax breaks and deductions, which they say will do more to boost economic growth. The White House considers the proposal and the economic rationale behind it laughable.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY (from press briefing): We don't know what we're talking about in terms of actual legislation to increase revenues. It's magic beans and fairy dust.

GARRETT: Republicans answered back – bah, humbug.

SEN. JOHN THUNE, (R), SOUTH DAKOTA (from press conference): This is a proposal that just absolutely is not serious. The administration knows it.

GARRETT: Six governors - three from each party - met the President, and said afterwards they're afraid business leaders in their states won't invest and hire until a deal gets done.

GOV. JACK MARKELL, (D), DELAWARE: The sooner this – this gets resolved in a way that's not a three month – three-month fix, but that's a fix for some longer period of time, the better off that we'll be.

GARRETT (on-camera): The White House says it has nothing new to say to Republicans, and in fact, today, it will add something to the agenda. The President will talk to business executives and lobby them to lobby Republicans for a permanent cease-fire on the debt ceiling.

Meanwhile, in a speech here last night in Washington, Mitt Romney's running mate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, said it's time for the Republicans to reshape and redirect its approach to politics.

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R), WISCONSIN: Both parties tend to divide Americans into our voters and their voters. Let's be really clear: Republicans must steer far clear of that trap. We must speak to the aspirations and the anxieties of every American.

GARRETT: In addition to Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio - both of them looking at 2016 possible runs for the presidency - said, at that very same Washington event, Republicans also need to reshape their approach to middle-class aspirations and those who want to even get into the middle class. Charlie and Norah?

O'DONNELL: Major Garrett, thank you.

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