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CBS's Major Garrett: Obama 'May Need the Wisdom of Lincoln' For Gun Control 'Battle'

On Thursday's CBS This Morning, Major Garrett tried to shoehorn Steven Spielberg's screening of his recent film "Lincoln" for the Senate into his report on President Obama's Wednesday press conference on the fiscal cliff and gun control. Garrett hyped how the movie "celebrates presidential power and crafty legislative strategy," and that Obama "may need the wisdom of Lincoln for his latest legislative battle - gun control."

The correspondent even played a clip from the film about the sixteenth President to hint at a parallel between the passage the 13th Amendment, which happened after the carnage of the Civil War, and possible new firearms regulations in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre [audio available here; video below]:

DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, ACTOR (playing Abraham Lincoln, from the movie "Lincoln"): Blood's been spilled to afford us this moment – now, now, now!

During the segment, Garrett further slanted towards the President with four soundbites from the news conference, compared to only one from Speaker of the House John Boehner. Three of the clips were on the fiscal cliff negotiations. The final clip from Obama was of the chief executive's vow for further gun control: "I will use all the powers of this office to help advance efforts aimed at preventing more tragedies like this."

The CBS journalist trumpeted how "Mr. Obama said he trusts Boehner, and understands many Republicans don't like dealing with him. Just this once, the President said, get over it." Garrett also underlined that "while the President was chatty, Boehner devoted only 52 seconds to the still-emerging GOP strategy of voting to increase income taxes on households earning $1 million or more."

Garrett has been less "militantly non-partisan," as he labeled himself in 2011, and more of Obama administration stenographer since becoming CBS's chief White House correspondent at the end of November 2012. On November 29, he hyped the President's apparent populist stand in the fiscal cliff negotiations: "President Obama is adamant about protecting existing income tax rates for middle-income earners and raising them on the wealthy."

On back-to-back days earlier in December, the correspondent also promoted a thinly-veiled version of the President's "Scrooge Christmas" slam of congressional Republicans and spotlighted the Democrat's P.R. visit to a northern Virginia family.

The full transcript of Major Garrett's report on Thursday's CBS This Morning:

CHARLIE ROSE: There are now 12 days to the fiscal cliff deadline, and there is no deal between the White House and congressional Republicans.

NORAH O'DONNELL: In fact, the Speaker of the House is pushing for a vote on his own Plan B today. That has President Obama fired up.

Major Garrett is at the White House – Major, good morning.

[CBS News Graphic: "Fiscal Cliff Clash: Deadline Looms For A Grand Bargain"]

MAJOR GARRETT: Well, good morning, Norah and Charlie. A top White House official told me the lines of communication are open between the President and House Speaker John Boehner, but no one is using them. Yesterday, the President spoke expansively about the contours of a fiscal cliff deal, and said a historic grand bargain is tantalizingly close.

OBAMA: I'm going to reach out to all the leaders involved over the next couple of days and – and find out what it is that's holding this thing up.

GARRETT (voice-over): Mr. Obama said he trusts Boehner, and understands many Republicans don't like dealing with him. Just this once, the President said, get over it.

OBAMA: They've got to take me out of it and think about their voters.

GARRETT: While the President was chatty, Boehner devoted only 52 seconds to the still-emerging GOP strategy of voting to increase income taxes on households earning $1 million or more.

BOEHNER: The House will pass legislation, to make permanent, tax relief for nearly every American. And then, the President will have a decision to make: he can call on the Senate Democrats to pass that bill, or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in American history.

GARRETT: Mr. Obama now favors higher income taxes on households earning more than $400,000. That's up from his re-election campaign promise of 250,000. And the President hinted he could go even higher - possibly to 800,000.

OBAMA: They – they can't increase tax rates on folks making seven or $800,000 a year. That's not a persuasive argument to me.

GARRETT: Amid all the fiscal cliff wrangling, director Steven Spielberg and actor Daniel Day-Lewis showed the movie 'Lincoln' to the entire Senate.

DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, ACTOR (playing Abraham Lincoln, from the movie "Lincoln"): Blood's been spilled to afford us this moment – now, now, now!

GARRETT: The film celebrates presidential power and crafty legislative strategy.

STEVEN SPIELBERG, FILM DIRECTOR: Both sides, sitting in the same room, watching a president who put the people out in front of the abyss, and very, very proud that we get to have this moment.

[CBS News Graphic: "President's Next Push: White House Looks At New Gun Control Laws"]

GARRETT: And the President may need the wisdom of Lincoln for his latest legislative battle - gun control. Mr. Obama said the Newtown school massacre has changed the way we look at that issue, and he tapped Vice President Joe Biden to lead a new gun violence task force.

OBAMA: I will use all the powers of this office to help advance efforts aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.

GARRETT (on-camera): The President's top priority is on reinstating the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 banning high-capacity ammunition clips, and putting all gun sales at gun shows and through private dealers through federal background checks. Later today, the Vice President meets with law enforcement officials from around the country. They may suggest additional measures.

ROSE: Major Garrett, thank you.

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