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CBS Pushes Liberal Talking Point About Tea Party 'Downgrade'

On Monday's Early Show, CBS's Norah O'Donnell promoted the left-of-center talking point that Standard & Poor's recent lowering of the U.S.'s credit rating is a "Tea Party downgrade." O'Donnell played three soundbites of notable liberals using this line of attack, versus only one opposing from a center-right politician. She also spun Treasury Geithner's decision to stay as "good news for the President."

The correspondent began her report by trumpeting how apparently, "this was supposed to be a week when President Obama was going to turn his attention toward jobs with a positive message. But instead, he's dealing with this talk of a double-dip recession, that the terrible week in the markets last week, and that credit downgrade."

O'Donnell then played three straight clips from former Obama advisor David Axelrod, Senator John Kerry, and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who all blamed the Tea Party for S&P's decision:

O'DONNELL (voice-over): President Obama returned from Camp David Sunday, leaving his fellow Democrats to place blame for the downgrade of America's credit rating squarely on Tea Party Republicans.

DAVID AXELROD, FMR. WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR (from interview on CBS's "Face The Nation"): The fact of the matter is, that this is, essentially, a Tea Party downgrade.

SEN. JOHN KERRY, (D), MASSACHUSETTS (from interview on NBC's "Meet The Press"): I believe this is, without question, the Tea Party downgrade.

HOWARD DEAN, FMR. DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN (from interview on CBS's "Face The Nation"): I think this is a Tea Party problem. I think they're totally unreasonable. I think they've been smoking some of that tea, not just drinking it.

The CBS journalist followed this with a sole soundbite from Senator Lindsey Graham, who defended the Tea Party from the left-wing talking point and placed blame on President Obama: "He's had a chance- we're three years into this- and he's failing. And it's not the Tea Party's fault. What was hope and change is despair and confusion."

Near the end of her report, O'Donnell gave her "good news" about the treasury secretary, and added that his decision supposedly "will provide some certainty during this great instability in the economy."

The full transcript of Norah O'Donnell's report from Monday's Early Show, which began three minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour:

CHRIS WRAGGE: In Washington now, reaction to the credit rating downgrade is pretty much what you'd expect- Democrats and Republicans busy blaming each other.

And CBS News chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell has past of that story for us this morning. Norah, good morning.

NORAH O'DONNELL: Good morning, Chris. You know, this was supposed to be a week when President Obama was going to turn his attention toward jobs with a positive message. But instead, he's dealing with this talk of a double-dip recession, that the terrible week in the markets last week, and that credit downgrade.

O'DONNELL (voice-over): President Obama returned from Camp David Sunday, leaving his fellow Democrats to place blame for the downgrade of America's credit rating squarely on Tea Party Republicans.

DAVID AXELROD, FMR. WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR (from interview on CBS's "Face The Nation"): The fact of the matter is, that this is, essentially, a Tea Party downgrade.

SEN. JOHN KERRY, (D), MASSACHUSETTS (from interview on NBC's "Meet The Press"): I believe this is, without question, the Tea Party downgrade.

HOWARD DEAN, FMR. DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN (from interview on CBS's "Face The Nation"): I think this is a Tea Party problem. I think they're totally unreasonable. I think they've been smoking some of that tea, not just drinking it.

O'DONNELL: Not so fast, says Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who also appeared on 'Face The Nation.' He believes the downgrade shows a failure of leadership by President Obama.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA (from interview on CBS's "Face The Nation"): He's had a chance- we're three years into this- and he's failing. And it's not the Tea Party's fault. What was hope and change is despair and confusion.

O'DONNELL: The Friday night downgrade came after one of the most contentious weeks Washington has seen in years. On Monday, just a day before the federal government would have defaulted on its debts for the first time in history, President Obama and Congress finally agreed on a $2 trillion deal to raise the debt ceiling and lower the deficit. But the size of the deal and the messy process that led up to it weren't enough to stop credit ratings agency, Standard & Poor's, from issuing their downgrade, and warning that there may be more to come.

JOHN CHAMBERS, MANAGING DIRECTOR, STANDARD & POOR'S (from interview on ABC's "This Week"): If the fiscal position of the United States deteriorates further, or if the political gridlock becomes more entrenched, then that could lead to a downgrade. The outlook indicates, at least, a one-in-three chance.

O'DONNELL (on-camera): Now, there's some good news for the President. It was well-known that his treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, wanted to leave his post. But President Obama gave the hard sell. And now, Secretary Geithner has agreed to stay through the 2012 election, and that will provide some certainty during this great instability in the economy. Chris?

CHRIS WRAGGE: CBS's Norah O'Donnell at the White House for us this morning- Norah, thank you.

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