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Kyl Repeatedly Corrects Schieffer: No Tax 'Cuts' for Rich, Just Extending Existing Rates; Schieffer: 'I Gotcha'

On Sunday's Face the Nation, Republican Senate whip Jon Kyl kept correcting host Bob Schieffer about how extending tax "rates," not "cuts," is what is being debated, leading Schieffer to conceded "I gotcha" and even prompted Schieffer to let Kyl fill in for him the correct term. Schieffer: "Are the votes there now in the Senate, in your opinion, to extend these tax ah-" Kyl: "Rates."

Schieffer had asked: "Is the Senate going to get down to business and resolve this whole business of the tax cuts?" Kyl chastised: "Nobody is talking about tax cuts. We're talking about extending the rates that have been in existence for the last decade." Nonetheless, Schieffer stuck with his terminology: "Why is it so important to Republicans to extend the tax cuts for the upper-income people?" (Listen to the MP3 audio.)

Democratic Senate whip Dick Durbin matched Schieffer's framing: "I'm not voting for any permanent tax cut for the people of the highest income categories" and Kyl felt compelled to again correct Schieffer and Durbin: "First of all we're not talking about tax cuts." Schieffer interjected "I gotcha" as Kyl continued: "We're talking about extending, for another period of time, the rates that have been in existence for the last decade."

Later, Schieffer deferred to Kyl to complete his sentence:

SCHIEFFER: Are the votes there now in the Senate, in your opinion, to extend these tax ah-

KYL: Rates.

SCHIEFFER: Rates as you call it, for all Americans if the package includes extending unemployment benefits?

In the next segment, however, with Politico's Jim Vandehei and CBS's Nancy Cordes, Schieffer showed he really didn't buy into Kyl's phraseology: "I think that the headline, if I were going to write one right here, is that it appears they are going to extend these Bush tax rates, as Senator Kyl likes to call them. He doesn't want to call them tax cuts..."

From the Sunday, December 5 Face the Nation on CBS:

BOB SCHIEFFER: So, gentlemen, yesterday the Senate did exactly what everybody knew the Senate was going to do. We got these votes out on whether to extend the Bush tax cuts for the people who make $250,000 or less, and the Senate did, voted exactly the way we knew it would come out. They voted no. Because the Republicans say they want these tax cuts for everybody. So here we are. We've got the posturing out of the way. You might call it something different. But now Senator Kyl, is the Senate going to get down to business and resolve this whole business of the tax cuts?

SENATOR JON KYL: I hope so. We can. We should. I would just make one point. Nobody is talking about tax cuts. We're talking about extending the rates that have been in existence for the last decade, so just to be sure. And I think that most folks believe that the recipe would include at least an extension of unemployment benefits for those who are unemployed and an extension of all of the tax rates for all Americans for some period of time.

SCHIEFFER: At every level including those who make $250,000 or more. Let me just ask you this, Senator Kyl. A new CBS News poll shows that only 26 percent of those questioned wanted to extend the tax cuts for everybody, including the wealthy. 53 percent said they wanted the cuts, or the extension of the tax cuts, for the lower-income groups and I guess 14 percent want to let all of the tax cuts expire. Why was it so important, why is it so important to Republicans to extend the tax cuts for the upper-income people? ...

SCHIEFFER: Would these tax cuts be temporary for everybody or would this be something permanent?

SENATOR DICK DURBIN: Well, I'm not voting for any permanent tax cut for the people of the highest income categories. And I will just say - I don't speak for anyone else - but when it comes to the President's position and the position of Democrats in Congress, we are laser focused on this jobs issue.

SCHIEFFER: What about you, Senator Kyl? Is temporary good enough on those upper-income extensions?

KYL: First of all we're not talking about tax cuts.

SCHIEFFER: I gotcha.

KYL: We're talking about extending, for another period of time, the rates that have been in existence for the last decade.

....

SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you this. And I'll ask both of you. Are the votes there now in the Senate, in your opinion, to extend these tax ah-

KYL: Rates.

SCHIEFFER: Rates as you call it, for all Americans if the package includes extending unemployment benefits? Is that do-able? Are the votes there right now?

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