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CBS Plays Softball with Senator Klobuchar on Fiscal Cliff; Fails to Mention Runaway Spending

Norah O'Donnell and Charlie Rose tossed softball questions at Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar on Wednesday's CBS This Morning on the looming fiscal cliff, just two days after they hounded Republican Senator Bob Corker on the same issue. Rose casually mentioned to Senator Klobuchar how "the President believes you can't get there by deduction. You have to raise [tax] rates. Is that your view?" O'Donnell merely asked, "Is this posturing on the fiscal cliff, or is there real work being done? What's your sense?"

By contrast, Rose tried to get Senator Corker to "forgo the [anti-tax hike] pledge because it is outdated and the country's problems are too big." O'Donnell followed up by asking the Tennessee Republican if he was "willing to also raise the capital gains rate." The morning show anchors failed to make similar demands of the Minnesota Democrat to cut spending.

O'Donnell led the interview with her "what's your sense" question on the continuing budget negotiations between congressional leaders and the Obama administration. Klobuchar answered by outlining that "a number of us that really legitimately want to bring down the debt...we are going to have to see a mix of significant spending cuts, as well as revenue....You close loopholes and subsidies and you can get to that number $4 trillion, where we want to be in reductions in ten years."

The CBS anchor then pointed out that "Republicans say you could also get that...800 billion [dollars] by capping deductions and closing loopholes above about $50,000." Klobuchar countered by citing one of the left's favorite billionaires, which Rose replied to by noting President Obama's unending call for higher taxes on the wealthy:

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D), MINNESOTA: Yeah, and I don't think you see anyone saying it has to be one plan. Warren Buffett put one out this week, as a way to bring in some revenue on some of the wealthier – so, there – people are-

CHARLIE ROSE: A minimum tax on the wealthy-

KLOBUCHAR: Right - and so, people are open to different plans, and that's – to me, is the most important thing. You haven't seen people say, it's my way or no other way. That's not happened.

ROSE: It seems that the President believes you can't get there by deduction. You have to raise rates. Is that your view?

KLOBUCHAR: If you need to get that significant revenue, I believe you do have to do something with rates. But let's – let's just let everyone put their proposals out. We want to do something significant here - not just pretend that people are doing something

Later in the segment, O'Donnell brought up the record high percentage of women in the Senate, but still lamented this as too low (just as she did over a week earlier during an interview of British writer Frances Osborne). This gave Senator Klobuchar the opportunity to forward an oft-used claim by feminists that government would function better if only more women were in positions of power:

O'DONNELL: Senator, we also saw [in] this election a record number of women elected to the United States Senate - 20 female senators out of a hundred - still not on par with the population-

KLOBUCHAR: But enough to cause a traffic jam in the women's Senate bathroom. (Rose and O'Donnell laugh) So, that was – that was a big excitement-

ROSE: Men have more bathrooms than women in the Senate?

KLOBUCHAR: They just have a bigger one - first-ever in the United States history.

O'DONNELL: Why aren't there more women in the United States Senate, and why does it matter?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, it matters. You want to represent the country and you want elected officials that are representative of the country. But it matters in a much bigger way, especially now when you see this intransigence in Washington, and that is that women tend to be more problem-solvers. We work together....Susan Collins led the Postal Reform Bill on the Republican side. That's a bill that passed in the Senate - still waiting over in the House - Debbie Stabenow, Patty Murray – they led bills - Barbara Boxer - that went through working with men and women from the other side.

O'DONNELL: So you're saying, if there are more women, more would get done?

KLOBUCHAR: I believe that. Yes, I do-

ROSE: And because they are what, in terms of their approach?

Charlie Rose & Norah O'Donnell, CBS News Anchors; & Senator Amy Kobuchar, (D), Minnesota; Screen Cap From 28 November 2012 Edition of CBS This Morning | NewsBusters.orgKLOBUCHAR: They are problem-solvers. Someone who studied women candidates once said that women candidates - I don't believe this - but, speak softly and carry a big statistic-

ROSE: (Rose and O'Donnell laugh) I was wondering where you were going with that-

KLOBUCHAR: And so, I don't believe they speak softly, as we've seen, but they do carry a big statistic in that they tend to be more focused on accountability. They didn't get there by swaggering around. They got there by getting things done.

O'Donnell and Rose wouldn't have had such a light conversation with a Republican/conservative on an issue, even a secondary one. Beyond their badgering of Senator Corker earlier in the week, the two CBS anchors pummeled Senator John McCain earlier in November over his promise to block Susan Rice if she's nominated to be secretary of state. Just a day earlier, they let far-left director Oliver Stone promote his revisionist historical documentary during an eight-minute-long interview.

The full transcript of the interview of Senator Amy Klobuchar from Wednesday's CBS This Morning:

NORAH O'DONNELL: With us now is Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Senator, good to see you.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D), MINNESOTA: Well, great to be on, Norah – thank you.

[CBS News Graphic: "Facing The Fiscal Cliff: Sen. Klobuchar On Possible Compromise"]

O'DONNELL: So, what do you think about – is this posturing on the fiscal cliff, or is there real work being done? What's your sense?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I wouldn't have been surprised that this is going on. People are going to stake out positions. But I think the most significant thing, is you're starting to see a number of major Republicans just mentioned - representatives, but also Saxby Chambliss, Lindsey Graham, others - saying, you know what? I'm going to be willing to look at revenues, in addition to spending cuts. That's what we need for a compromise here. That's what the President's been pushing for. A number of us that really legitimately want to bring down the debt - that we are going to have to see a mix of significant spending cuts, as well as revenue. And the way you get a big chunk of revenue is by looking at the plan that the representative mentioned, which is extending the middle-class tax cuts for people, $250,000 and below. You then save $700 billion in 10 years. You add that to the spending cuts. You close loopholes and subsidies, and you can get to that number $4 trillion, where we want to be in reductions in ten years-

O'DONNELL: But Republicans say you could also get that seven-seven – or 800 billion by – by capping deductions and closing loopholes above about $50,000.

KLOBUCHAR: Yeah, and I don't think you see anyone saying it has to be one plan. Warren Buffett put one out this week, as a way to bring in some revenue on some of the wealthier – so, there – people are-

CHARLIE ROSE: A minimum tax on the wealthy-

KLOBUCHAR: Right - and so, people are open to different plans, and that's – to me, is the most important thing. You haven't seen people say, it's my way or no other way. That's not happened.

ROSE: It seems that the President believes you can't get there by deduction. You have to raise rates. Is that your view?

KLOBUCHAR: If you need to get that significant revenue, I believe you do have to do something with rates. But let's – let's just let everyone put their proposals out. We want to do something significant here - not just pretend that people are doing something-

ROSE: How much is this posturing? And people who are involved in this seem to say, I think we'll get the deal. Is that what you think, and, if so, when?

KLOBUCHAR: I think that, first of all, the election demanded such a deal. You look at the number – the candidates that lost were adhering to rigid ideologies. While the balance of power didn't change in Washington, there was a message from the people of this country that they wanted to see a different tone - that they wanted to see people who are willing to stand next to someone they didn't always agree with for the betterment of this country. And then, you look at the fact the last year in the Senate - a slightly-overlooked fact - is that a number of bills have come through with 62 to 75 senators supporting them from both parties - the farm bill-

[CBS News Graphic: "Who Should Compromise More? House GOP: 14%; Obama & Senate Dems: 14%; Both sides equally; 68%; Margin of Error: +/- 4% Pts.; Source: Gallup Poll, Nov. 9-12"]

ROSE: And that suggests what to you?

KLOBUCHAR: That there is willing people – people are willing to make compromise,  march through amendment, take tough votes, get things done. The farm bill; violence against women act; transportation bill; aviation bill – these bills went to the United States Senate. Many of them went on to become law.

O'DONNELL: Senator, we also saw [in] this election a record number of women elected to the United States Senate - 20 female senators out of a hundred - still not on par with the population-

KLOBUCHAR: But enough to cause a traffic jam in the women's Senate bathroom. (Rose and O'Donnell laugh) So, that was – that was a big excitement-

[CBS News Graphic: "Madame Senator: Record Number Of Women To Serve In Congress"]

ROSE: Men have more bathrooms than women in the Senate?

KLOBUCHAR: They just have a bigger one - first-ever in the United States history.

O'DONNELL: Why aren't there more women in the United States Senate, and why does it matter?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, it matters. You want to represent the country and you want elected officials that are representative of the country. But it matters in a much bigger way, especially now when you see this intransigence in Washington, and that is that women tend to be more problem-solvers. We work together. Remember those bills I just mentioned, were led by women senators. Susan Collins led the Postal Reform Bill on the Republican side. That's a bill that passed in the Senate - still waiting over in the House - Debbie Stabenow, Patty Murray, they led bills, Barbara Boxer, that went through working with men and women from the other side.

O'DONNELL: So you're saying, if there are more women, more would get done?

KLOBUCHAR: I believe that. Yes, I do-

ROSE: And because they are what, in terms of their approach?

KLOBUCHAR: They are problem-solvers. Someone who studied women candidates once said that women candidates - I don't believe this - but, speak softly and carry a big statistic-

ROSE: (Rose and O'Donnell laugh) I was wondering where you were going with that-

KLOBUCHAR: And so, I don't believe they speak softly, as we've seen, but they do carry a big statistic in that they tend to be more focused on accountability. They didn't get there by swaggering around. They got there by getting things done.

ROSE: Okay. I just want to nail this down: you think they will get things done when?

KLOBUCHAR: First of all, we have to do something by the end of the year-

ROSE: So, it will happen before the end of the year?

KLOBUCHAR: Yes, but then, larger, more comprehensive work also needs to be done on economic issues. I'd like to see there – things done with the tax system to simplify it, to make it, just, work better for the country, and I – we have to do something on this debt, and people are devoted to that in the Senate.

O'DONNELL: All right. Senator Klobuchar, we'll be watching. Thank you very much.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.

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