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CBS's Cordes Charges Ryan's Plan Undermined by 'Big Tax Cut for the Wealthy'

Picking up from flustered colleague Bob Schieffer, who on the April 17 Face the Nation demanded of Congressman Paul Ryan, "Why do these rich people need another tax cut? I mean, they're already rich," CBS reporter Nancy Cordes on Tuesday night asked him: "Do you think that you would be getting more support out there if you didn't include this big tax cut for the wealthy?"

Cordes insisted "35 percent to 25 percent is a big cut," though Ryan's plan is meant to be revenue neutral, or even give a boost, as he explained the rate reduction is "in exchange for losing their tax shelters."

Cordes pressed Ryan from the left on tax rates after her story featured soundbites of liberal hostility to Ryan and other Republicans at town hall meetings, some clips taken from video posted by a left-wing site, clips which included a woman screaming "your plan screws the next two generations!" and "You're a liar!" before video of a crowd yelling "Hands off Medicare!" and a close-up of this sign: "PAUL RYAN'S DEATH PANEL KILL MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY."

NBC also aired a story, though less antagonistic toward Ryan, about reaction back home to his plan. ABC skipped the topic Tuesday night.

From the Tuesday, April 26 CBS Evening News:

KATIE COURIC: Another economic concern for many Americans is the rising cost of medical care. Congressman Paul Ryan has a plan that would change Medicare as we know it and require future generations of seniors to pay a greater share of their health care costs. Nancy Cordes reports Ryan is holding a series of town meetings and not everyone's buying what he's selling.

NANCY CORDES: Congressman Paul Ryan's town meetings in this mostly rural district are normally intimate affairs.

RYAN STAFFER: Unfortunately, they are at capacity.

CORDES: But this week constituents from Twin Lakes to Kenosha are being turned away as capacity crowds inside come to praise or condemn the plan Ryan likes to call "the path to prosperity."

WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: Your plan screws the next two generations.

CORDES: Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, is trying to convince these mostly older audiences that Medicare for future generations should be replaced with subsidies that would partly pay for private insurance.

CONGRESSMAN PAUL RYAN: We're going over $10 trillion deeper in the hole every year if we don't do something to fix this situation.

CORDES: And he's trying to make an even harder sell: That in an era of growing income disparity, taxes for corporations and wealthy Americans should be lowered.

WEB VIDEO OF MAN IN AUDIENCE: There's nothing wrong with taxing the top because it does not trickle down.

RYAN IN SAME VIDEO: We do tax the top. (audience groans)

CORDES: It's a clash playing out in town meetings across the country this week.

MAN IN WEB VIDEO: Not one senior citizen is harmed by this budget.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: What? You're a liar!

CORDES TO RYAN: Do you think that you would be getting more support out there if you didn't include this big tax cut for the wealthy?

RYAN: We're not doing that. We're not agreeing with the President's tax increases. So the new definition of-

CORDES TO RYAN: Well, 35 percent to 25 percent is a big cut.

RYAN: In exchange for losing their tax shelters.

CROWD: Hands off Medicare!

CORDES: But the protests here and there don't bother Ryan. For every detractor there's more than one constituent thanking him-

WOMAN, TO RYAN: Keep up the good work.

CORDES: -for trying to tackle the deficit. And this debate will be front and center when they get back to Washington next week because Republicans have made it clear they will not vote to raise the debt limit unless deficit reduction is part of the deal. Katie?

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