It is one matter if a president stakes out a smart position within a heated political debate, but it is another matter when members of the press believe so and shower him with positive coverage. CNN's John King complimented President Obama on Thursday's Anderson Cooper 360 for having "positioned himself smartly here in the middle" on the debt ceiling debate.
King painted the president as a pragmatic moderate who has called on both sides to compromise, in a statement that could pass for White House talking points.
"He [Obama] has been trying very carefully to portray the public image of the man in the middle, the grown-up who is willing to say hey, Democrats you're going to have to cut some Medicare, cut some Social Security. Hey, Republicans I want you to raise a little tax revenue," King remarked.
He made sure to add that Obama's strategy has been sound and supported by public opinion. King noted that "the President has positioned himself smartly here in the middle."
A transcript of the segment, which aired on July 28 at 11:08 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
ANDERSON COOPER: John how much about what – what's going on over the last – tonight and the last couple nights on Capitol Hill has been about wanting to kind of avoid getting the blame for, or getting the credit for some sort of a deal? I mean from the Republican perspective, from the Democratic perspective?
JOHN KING: Well, there's no question – well, you've seen the President giving speeches to the nation coming into the White House briefing room quite frequently in recent days, something he doesn't do all that often. He has been trying very carefully to portray the public image of the man in the middle, the grownup who is willing to say, hey, Democrats you're going to have to cut some Medicare, cut some Social Security. Hey, Republicans I want you to raise a little tax revenue.
He has done and most people give him credit, public opinion polling reflects, the President has positioned himself smartly here in the middle. But he needs a deal. He's a President who is going to be campaigning for re-election with unemployment somewhere in the ballpark of 9 percent. Any further jitters to the economy further undermine the President's re-election prospects.
In terms of the House and the Senate that's all we've had in recent days. The Republicans want to pass their plan in the House and say that Democrats won't do enough cutting, they won't do enough or they want to raise taxes. The Republicans want to say that John Boehner is hostage to the Tea Party. So what you have right now is finger-pointing and a clock ticking toward a deadline that is significant. How significant? God forbid we might have to find out.
- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center