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Schieffer Prompts Edwards to Agree Tax Cuts Must Be Stopped --2/2/2004


1. Schieffer Prompts Edwards to Agree Tax Cuts Must Be Stopped
Late last week the White House conceded its prescription drug entitlement plan would cost 33 percent more than promised, but on Sunday CBS's Bob Schieffer didn't see that permanent program as an impediment to deficit reduction. Instead, he cued up guest John Edwards to agree that the tax cuts, which will be phased out over the next six years, must be stopped. Schieffer prompted Edwards: "Aren't you going to at least have to stop some of these tax cuts or in effect raise taxes?"

2. ABC on Kerry: "Long Record of Fighting for Balanced Budgets"
Reviewing Senator John Kerry's Senate record, on Friday's World News Tonight Linda Douglass claimed that "Kerry isn't easy to pigeonhole," but she grudgingly acceded to how "a respected survey on Capitol Hill ranked him as the ninth most liberal Senator in Congress." Yet, with the words on screen for emphasis, she ludicrously asserted: "He has a long record of fighting for balanced budgets." In fact, he has regularly earned an F from the National Taxpayers Union which has also documented the expensive spending plans he's proposed during his presidential campaign.

3. CNN's Morton: Kerry No "Dukakis-Style Effete Eastern Liberal"
CNN's Bruce Morton ridiculously argued on Friday, as if policy stands are irrelevant, that since Vietnam veterans support John Kerry, and since he is one himself, "if the Republicans had any hope of casting Kerry as some Michael Dukakis-style effete Eastern liberal, that's over. The band of brothers stands in his way."

4. CBS Emphasizes the Negative in 4 Percent GDP Growth
Four percent GDP growth would normally be considered very good, but on Friday night CBS managed to make it sound pretty weak. Over an on screen graphic which proclaimed "Slow Growing," Dan Rather teased the January 30 CBS Evening News by asking: "New figures indicate the U.S. economy is still growing, but how about creating some jobs?" Anthony Mason showcased a Domino Sugar plant in Brooklyn which is shutting down, with 200 laid off. Mason delivered a snide play on words: "GDP may have jumped four percent in the fourth quarter, but the job market still isn't jumping. To Domino Sugar's laid off workers this recovery seems anything but sweet."

5. CBS Evening News Twice Features Move-On.org's Anti-Bush Ad
CBS may have refused to run MoveOn.org's anti-Bush ad during the Super Bowl on Sunday, citing its ban on political advocacy advertising, but the CBS Evening News on Friday and Saturday gave some free air time to the ad. On both nights CBS showed a hunk of the ad, which featured dreary scenes of kids doing adult jobs, such as washing dishes in a restaurant and putting trash into a garbage truck, and showcased the on screen tag line: "Guess who's going to pay off President Bush's $1 trillion deficit?"

6. PBS: Reagan and W Built on "Resentment Tapped Into by Wallace"
PBS's Now on with Bill Moyers on Friday night delivered the usual liberal media perspective on Southern politics and the history of the two political parties. Setting up a series of segments with liberal guests complaining about appeals by conservatives and Republicans to racist sentiments held by whites, co-host David Brancaccio recalled how "when the Democratic Party embraced civil rights, the old political order began to fall apart -- 1964 was the watershed moment when legendary South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond turned Republican." Online, Now's Web page named names: "Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have built on the legacy of resentment tapped into by Wallace and Thurmond."

7. Oprah "Changed Way Americans Think of Themselves and the World"?
Hyperbole of the day. Celebrating Oprah Winfrey's 50th birthday, on Friday's Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts proclaimed that she has "changed the way Americans think of themselves and the world."


Schieffer Prompts Edwards to Agree Tax
Cuts Must Be Stopped

Late last week the White House conceded its prescription drug entitlement plan would cost 33 percent more than promised, but on Sunday CBS's Bob Schieffer didn't see that permanent program as an impediment to deficit reduction. Instead, he cued up guest John Edwards to agree that the tax cuts, which will be phased out over the next six years, must be stopped. Schieffer prompted Edwards: "Aren't you going to at least have to stop some of these tax cuts or in effect raise taxes?"

Bob Schieffer & John Edwards Schieffer proposed to Edwards, who appeared on Sunday's Face the Nation via satellite from South Carolina: "I want to go back and talk a little bit about your message, a populist message it is. But in many ways, President Bush has kind of a populist message because when he puts in those tax cuts he's saying to people, 'Look, we're just giving your money back to you.' I want to ask you, if you should become President, do you think it is possible to bring this deficit back into line? Do you think that is important? And if you are going to do that, aren't you going to at least have to stop some of these tax cuts or in effect raise taxes?"

Edwards: "The answer is yes. In order to do the responsible thing, this is one of those areas, Bob, and I know you've been listening to politicians for years where, you know, you have these politicians coming in these events before the American people, saying we're going to give you universal health care, we're going to give you all these tax cuts, we're going to spend it on education. And, by the way, we're also going to balance the budget in the next four years. It's not the truth. And you can't anytime you're spending, whether it's tax cuts or education or health care, you're making the deficit worse. Here what I believe has to be done-"
Schieffer grew excited at the prospect of a tax hike: "Oh, Senator, let me, we just have about 30 seconds. I want to make sure we're clear on one thing. I asked you 'Do you think we're going to have to raise taxes?'"
Edwards: "Yes."
Schieffer: "And you said, 'Yes.' Is that what you meant to say?"
Edwards: "I think, I think both. Can I be specific?"
Schieffer: "Yes."
Edwards: "I think we have to get rid of the tax cuts for people who make over $200,000 a year. I would raise the capital gains rate for people who make over $300,000 a year. And there are four corporate loopholes I would close. I would not raise taxes on the middle class, Bob."

ABC on Kerry: "Long Record of Fighting
for Balanced Budgets"

Reviewing Senator John Kerry's Senate record, on Friday's World News Tonight Linda Douglass claimed that "Kerry isn't easy to pigeonhole," but she grudgingly acceded to how "a respected survey on Capitol Hill ranked him as the ninth most liberal Senator in Congress." Yet, with the words on screen for emphasis, she ludicrously asserted: "He has a long record of fighting for balanced budgets." In fact, he has regularly earned an F from the National Taxpayers Union which has also documented the expensive spending plans he's proposed during his presidential campaign.

Though she ran through some of his liberal positions, she also ran a soundbite of Kerry maintaining that "on some things I may be liberal. On some things I'm very conservative. I mean, being fiscally responsible is conservative."

Douglass began her January 30 story, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Last night, Kerry defended his record on health care, arguing that he pushed through benefits for Gulf War veterans."
John Kerry in the January 29 MSNBC debate: "I wrote that legislation so that veterans all across this country are now recognized to get Agent Orange benefits."
Douglass: "True. He also helped increase funding for AIDS."
Kerry: "We did child care, five million children have health insurance in this country."
Douglass: "Kerry did introduce an early bill, but sources in both parties say he did not play a significant role in passing the final child health care law. Scholars who study the Congress say Kerry is not known for passing many laws."
Professor James Thurber, American University School Public Affairs: "He's known as a person who really hasn't done much in the Senate. He's not a leader of any legislative area, in my opinion."
Douglass: "Republicans are hitting Kerry on defense."
Ed Gillespie, RNC Chairman: "In 1995, Senator Kerry voted to freeze defense spending for seven years, cutting over $34 billion from the defense budget."
Douglass: "True, but Kerry argues he was trying to eliminate wasteful spending to shift some money to education. He has voted for the last several defense increases. Kerry isn't easy to pigeonhole, but there is one word that always comes up. Recently, a respected survey on Capitol Hill ranked him as the ninth most liberal Senator in Congress. He consistently supports abortion rights, last year voting against the ban on so-called 'late-term abortions' that later became law. He has voted for more gun control and opposes the death penalty, though he now supports it for terrorists. He was one of 14 Senators who voted against a law condemning gay marriage. Kerry said he opposed same-sex marriage, but:"
Kerry in Senate floor in 1996: "I believe that this debate is fundamentally ugly and it is fundamentally political and it is fundamentally flawed."
Douglass: "Kerry helped block oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge. He cast a crucial vote for Bill Clinton's $243 billion tax increase. Kerry says it helped wipe out the deficit in the 1990s. He has a long record of fighting for balanced budgets." [That claim, "He has a long record of fighting for balanced budgets," also appeared on screen.]
Kerry: "On some things I may be liberal. On some things I'm very conservative. I mean, being fiscally responsible is conservative."
Douglass concluded: "Kerry has led aggressive investigations in Congress. Other Senators say he is not afraid of a fight. Linda Douglass, ABC News, Capitol Hill."

A January 19 report from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation by Drew Johnson outlined the spending proposals of all of the Democratic presidential candidates. Johnson observed: "All candidates offer platforms that call for more spending than would be offset by repealing the Bush tax cut."

Johnson's summary of Kerry's plans:
"John Kerry leads the pack of Democratic Presidential candidates in the military/veterans policy category. The Senator's pledge to support veterans' health programs carries a cost of over $41 billion. The bulk of Kerry's spending, however, comes in the form of a $55.9 billion education agenda, an $89.88 billion health care platform, and $31.04 billion in infrastructure improvements.
"Included in Kerry's education plan -- the second priciest of the Democratic proposals -- is a $2.25 billion offer of more affordable child care, an expanded Head Start program, and $25 billion in school renovations. The Kerry health care plan allows Americans to buy into the same arrangement offered to Members of Congress -- at a taxpayer cost of $89.5 billion per year. Senator Kerry's infrastructure program entails $31 billion in restored highway funding and $35 million in funding for a high-speed rail programs."

For the full report: www.ntu.org

A check of NTU's annual ratings of how much net spending each Senator voted for finds that Kerry earned an "F" grade in 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1995, 1994, 1993 and 1992 with a "D" sneaking in in 1996. See: www.ntu.org

CNN's Morton: Kerry No "Dukakis-Style
Effete Eastern Liberal"

CNN's Bruce Morton ridiculously argued on Friday, as if policy stands are irrelevant, that since Vietnam veterans support John Kerry, and since he is one himself, "if the Republicans had any hope of casting Kerry as some Michael Dukakis-style effete Eastern liberal, that's over. The band of brothers stands in his way."

What stands in Kerry's way of not being seen as a liberal is his Senate voting record, a reality Morton ignored in his January 30 Inside Politics story which the MRC's Ken Shepard brought to my attention.

In a January 29 Roll Call column, Morton Kondracke recited some of Kerry's liberal stands on national security issues. An excerpt:

The dossier on Kerry also includes a 1995 proposal to cut intelligence funding by $300 million for the next five years and a 1994 proposal to cut $1 billion from the program that coordinates counterterrorism activities.

The Boston Globe observed last year that in 1984, Kerry said he would cancel the B-1 bomber and the B-2 stealth bomber; the Apache helicopter; the Patriot missile; F-15, F-14 and Harrier jets; and the Aegis air-defense cruiser.

The Globe also reported that he advocated cuts in other systems, including the Abrams tank, Bradley fighting vehicle and Tomahawk missile, all critical to U.S. military success in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And while Kerry legitimately surrounds himself with fellow Vietnam War veterans and protests GOP cuts in veterans' programs, opponents point out that he never sought an appointment to the Veterans' Affairs Committee, where he could have had an impact on policy.

END of Excerpt

For Kondracke's full piece, subscription required: www.rollcall.com

On Thursday's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, Kondracke added that Kerry also supported the nuclear freeze idea in the early 1980s.

Nonetheless, Morton maintained it will be impossible to tag Kerry as a liberal because he's supported by fellow Vietnam veterans.

Morton began his piece: "The candidate himself said it in his New Hampshire victory speech."
John Kerry: "I depended on the same band of brothers that I depended on some 30 years ago. We're a little older, and a little grayer, but I'll tell ya this: we still know how to fight for our country!"
Morton: "They are, of course, the veterans of Vietnam. Veterans haven't been a big force in past campaigns, Bob Dole's, for instance, but the Vietnam vets may feel bound together more strongly. They fought in a long, unpopular war. A war under which, under the rules imposed on them, they could not win. They know through hard personal experience how bad the government can mess up. A good thing for voters, and candidates to know. They know combat, and pain, and loss. Even reporters who covered the war, as I did, had people they had come to like and respect get killed. Except that wasn't the word they used. The word the troops used was wasted. 'Where's so-and-so? Got wasted.' Which says something about how they viewed that war. Draftees, mostly, though some like Kerry and Max Cleland, volunteered."
"They are, as Kerry said, older and grayer now. Not scorned as some were at first by the society they fought for. The Vietnam Memorial is a national shrine. And it may be too early to know how influential they'll be in Kerry's campaign, but they've already done one thing: If the Republicans had any hope of casting Kerry as some Michael Dukakis-style effete Eastern liberal, that's over. The band of brothers stands in his way.
"In the Dukakis election, it was George Herbert Walker Bush who fought, who'd been a hero. This time it's the Democrat. And Kerry not only fought the war, he came home with some of his brothers and protested against it, once he was sure it was wrong. Knowing again that government doesn't always know best is a good quality in candidates and voters.
"Anyway, whatever effect they have on his campaign, on him, they're there. You couldn't ask for better company. Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington."

CBS Emphasizes the Negative in 4 Percent
GDP Growth

Four percent GDP growth would normally be considered very good, but on Friday night CBS managed to make it sound pretty weak. Over an on screen graphic which proclaimed "Slow Growing," Dan Rather teased the January 30 CBS Evening News by asking: "New figures indicate the U.S. economy is still growing, but how about creating some jobs?"

Rather set up the subsequent story: "New numbers are about the U.S. economy and they're mixed. They show the economy was growing in the fourth quarter of last year at a respectable annual rate of four percent. But that was down, less than half the rate of the third quarter and less than Wall Street was expecting, so stock prices fell today. The Dow lost 22 points. And even as the economy grows, CBS's Anthony Mason reports, it is not growing any high number of new jobs."

Mason showcased a Domino Sugar plant in Brooklyn which is shutting down, with 200 laid off. Mason delivered a snide play on words: "GDP may have jumped four percent in the fourth quarter, but the job market still isn't jumping. To Domino Sugar's laid off workers this recovery seems anything but sweet."

Mason proceeded to run through layoffs at KB Toys, Kraft, Kodak and Ford before allowing a John Hancock economist to predict that the continued growth will require new jobs.

CBS Evening News Twice Features Move-On.org's Anti-Bush Ad

CBS may have refused to run MoveOn.org's anti-Bush ad during the Super Bowl on Sunday, citing its ban on political advocacy advertising, but the CBS Evening News on Friday and Saturday gave some free air time to the ad. On both nights CBS showed a hunk of the ad, which featured dreary scenes of kids doing adult jobs, such as washing dishes in a restaurant and putting trash into a garbage truck, and showcased the on screen tag line: "Guess who's going to pay off President Bush's $1 trillion deficit?"

MoveOn.org successfully turned CBS's rejection of its ad into quite a bit of free air time on the cable news channels which ran segments about the ad on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday night's CBS Evening News, in a story dedicated to MoveOn.org's complaint about CBS blocking its ad, Lee Cowan described the far-left group simply as "an online activist group" and failed to apply a label to Democratic Senator Dick Durbin. Cowan wasn't so hesitant about describing the ideology of talk radio hosts, who agreed with CBS's decision, as "conservative," but he added "allegedly" before the idea of a "liberal media." He mused over "conservative talk radio defending the allegedly liberal media."

The next night, Saturday, Russ Mitchell cited the ad in a larger story about ads in the Super Bowl. Over video of the MoveOn.org ad, Mitchell managed to call it "liberal." Mitchell noted: "The liberal group MoveOn.org tried to get this anti-Bush ad into the game, but CBS turned it down because of its rules on advocacy or issue-oriented advertising. MoveOn cried foul, but CBS maintains that its decision is consistent with its decades-old policy."

On Friday's CBS Evening News, anchor Dan Rather set up the January 30 piece by noting how ads by some groups were turned down and "one is accusing CBS of playing politics."

Lee Cowan began, over matching ads: "In the religion of advertising, the Super Bowl is a mecca, a snack food sanctuary, a bonanza for beer. With 90 million viewers at stake, sometimes the competition between commercials is better than the competition on the field, but this year it's gotten nasty."
Eli Pariser, MoveOn.org: "I think it basically amounts to censorship."
Cowan: "CBS refused airtime to at least three Super Bowl hopefuls. Turning down advertisers is nothing new. But this year one jilted suitor is turning up the heat."
Pariser: "What's at the core of it is, where in the national discourse can you speak freely, and CBS is saying, not here."
Cowan, over 13 seconds of MoveOn.org's ad: "It's a short, pointed ad questioning President George W. Bush's budget policies. It depicts children wearily working adult jobs, and ends with this simple question [full screen shot of white text on black background: "Guess who's going to pay off President Bush's $1 trillion deficit?"]
Cowan: "CBS says the sponsor, an online activist group called MoveOn.org, crossed the line, attempting to use Super Bowl airtime as a platform for public debate, something CBS and other networks have banned for years."
Martin Franks, CBS Executive Vice President: "The network simply does not accept any advocacy advertising of any kind."
Cowan: "But CBS does plan to air anti-drug ads sponsored by the White House. But CBS says that isn't an advocacy ad because there's no political controversy."
Franks: "There isn't a group out there advocating drug abuse,"
Cowan, over video of Durbin with big poster of shots from ad with this text at top: "Why is CBS Censoring This Political Ad?": "Nevertheless, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin used the Senate floor to poke CBS right in the eye."
Durbin on Senate floor: "It's time for CBS to announce that the name of its network is the Conservative Broadcasting System."
Cowan finally decided to apply a label, to conservatives: "Which set off the unthinkable -- conservative talk radio defending the allegedly liberal media."
Dan Patrick, KSEV Radio in Houston: "CBS, is right thinking in this. It's probably the first time they've been right thinking in a long time."
Cowan concluded: "In the end, all the controversy over not airing the ad has given it a lot of air time. Maybe not 90 million viewers in one shot, but if the point was to get a message across; mission accomplished."

Thanks, in part, to CBS News.

For CBS's online version of this story, showing a still from the ad of a boy at a commercial dishwashing machine: www.cbsnews.com

For video of the ad: www.moveon.org

PBS: Reagan and W Built on "Resentment
Tapped Into by Wallace"

PBS's Now on with Bill Moyers on Friday night delivered the usual liberal media perspective on Southern politics and the history of the two political parties. Setting up a series of segments with liberal guests complaining about appeals by conservatives and Republicans to racist sentiments held by whites, co-host David Brancaccio recalled how "when the Democratic Party embraced civil rights, the old political order began to fall apart -- 1964 was the watershed moment when legendary South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond turned Republican."

In fact, Democrats, such as House Speakers Tip O'Neill and Jim Wright, held power for another 25 years on the backs of Southern blacks since it was segregation-supporting, Southern white Democratic Congressmen who gave Democrats their House and Senate majorities. But instead of noting that, Brancaccio tried to discredit the other party: "Republicans came to dominate Southern politics. Their core message changed from overt racism to family values and law and order."

Online, Now's Web page named names: "Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have built on the legacy of resentment tapped into by Wallace and Thurmond. Social issues figured prominently in southern races and white evangelical Christians proved a powerful voter base for the Republican Party."

Left unsaid, naturally, how when Newt Gingrich won election to the House in 1978, 14 years after Thurmond's party switch, he replaced a segregationist Democrat.

Brancaccio introduced the preview of Tuesday's South Carolina primary, as transcribed by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "Money and power on display as Democrats barnstorm through the South this week. But a battle is raging in the party about how to win hearts and minds in the changing landscape of the new South. Al Gore failed to carry a single Southern state, not even his home state of Tennessee. The primary in South Carolina on Tuesday will be the first real test of which candidates can connect with the Southern electorate. History is against these Democrats. Only one Democratic presidential candidate in the last generation has managed to crack South Carolina's political code. A gentleman from the next state down did it in 1976. But since Jimmy Carter, it's been a long dry spell for the Democrats, the party that used to reign supreme in these parts. Remember for the first hundred years after the Civil War, Democrats here and across the South were the party of segregation, dedicated to preserving the racial status quo. But when the Democratic Party embraced civil rights, the old political order began to fall apart -- 1964 was the watershed moment when legendary South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond turned Republican."
Former Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC), in 1964: "The Democratic Party has forsaken the people to become the party of minority groups, power-hungry union leaders, political bosses, and big businessmen looking for government contracts and favors."
Brancaccio: "Race was still the number one issue, but Thurmond and others often transmitted in code. 'States Rights,' was the phrase, meaning the rights of white Southerners to oppose the federal push for integration. Republicans came to dominate Southern politics. Their core message changed from overt racism to family values and law and order. Behind it was anger at big government and faceless, meddling Washington bureaucrats. A potent political message, says David Beasley. In 1991, Beasley, a fifth generation Democrat and South Carolina state representative, changed his party and ran for governor as a Republican. He won."
David Beasley, former South Carolina Governor: "Democrats became perceived as the party of big government, central government, more taxes, more regulations, Washington knows all, opposed to states rights, these type of issues, and opposed to pro-family and Southern traditional family values-type issues. And those issues culminated into what began the slow march away from the Democrat Party to the Republican Party over time."
Brancaccio: "Now both Republicans and Democrats are faced with a South that's in rapid transition. Industry and technology are now driving the region's economy, no longer agriculture. Republicans have responded to a world driven by freer trade by offering tax breaks to companies to move in, attracting investment from foreign countries such as Michelin, BMW, and Hitachi. There are losers in this new economic equation. New jobs created in South Carolina don't necessarily go to workers displaced in old line industries. In the past three years, 70,000 jobs have disappeared in South Carolina, the worst stretch for jobs since the Great Depression. Many of those jobs came from the state's once-booming textile industry. Those jobs and many others have shifted overseas."

Online, Now's Web site featured this item:
"The Solid South?
"In the aftermath of the American Civil War the former Confederate states maintained a cohesive voting pattern nearly a century. It became known as 'The Solid South' and was counted in the Democratic column for years. But as times, and party platforms, changed southern politics did too. Now for several decades the South has been solidly in the Republican camp. Find out more about the history, and possible future, of the southern vote below....

"THE REAGAN REVOLUTION AND BEYOND
"Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have built on the legacy of resentment tapped into by Wallace and Thurmond. Social issues figured prominently in southern races and white evangelical Christians proved a powerful voter base for the Republican Party. Consider these trends from historian Richard K. Scher:
"-- Beginning in 1980 the Republican presidential nominee has won about 54% of the popular vote in the South, virtually landslide proportions; the Democratic nominee averaged only 42%.
"-- Since 1984, the South has supported the Republican presidential nominee at a higher percentage than the country as a whole. At the presidential level, the South is now the most Republican region of the country.
"During the 2004 campaign southern states like South Carolina are seen as crucial in both the primary and national elections. Democratic candidates will likely emphasize the South's ongoing troubles. Key industries like textiles have been moving operations overseas -- South Carolina's textile industry shrunk by 7 percent in 2003. And, southern states consistently rank near the bottom in national education and poverty statistics."

That's online at: www.pbs.org

Oprah "Changed Way Americans Think of
Themselves and the World"?

Hyperbole of the day. Celebrating Oprah Winfrey's 50th birthday, on Friday's Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts proclaimed that she has "changed the way Americans think of themselves and the world."

For the "Picture of the Morning" segment at the end of the 7am half hour on the January 30 show, Roberts played a clip from Oprah's syndicated program with scenes of John Travolta and Jay Leno saluting Oprah at her 50th birthday party during a taping of her show. Setting up the video, Roberts gushed: "Well wishers from all over the world weighed in with birthday greetings for the woman who really changed the way Americans think of themselves and the world."

Oprah may have done some great things for daytime TV and her show is certainly more worthy than Jerry Springer's, but has she really "changed the way Americans think of themselves and the world"?

What percent of Americans have even seen her show?

-- Brent Baker