CBS's Rose Claims Focus on Social Issues 'Troubling' for GOP, But Paul Ryan Sees Media Obsession
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose lobbed a series of
questions from the left at Republican Congressman Paul Ryan. Rose
wondered if the recent trend towards social issues in the Republican
presidential race was "troubling." The Wisconsin Republican replied, "It's not troubling for me, and...I think that's more about the media, and maybe the Democrats, who are trying to move it in that direction."
The anchor also touted the auto bailout as an Obama administration success: "The bailout- should that be an issue, and should the voters look at Governor Romney and Governor Santorum [sic] and say, we had an economic bail-out of the auto companies and look what happened? Profits are up, and they're both doing well." Rose later asked Ryan if he thought that the apparently better economic numbers was "good news for President Obama" [audio available here].
It didn't take long for the CBS on-air personality to ask the
congressman his "troubling" question. After initially targeting the
media, Ryan added that "when it all comes down to it...we're going to be
really talking about the economic issues....There are issues
that arise that must be discussed, like the President's new mandate that
affects Catholic churches and Catholic hospitals and things like that.
But, by and large, this is going to be about economic issues, I think."
Rose followed up by asking his slanted question about the auto bailout. The Wisconsin Republican answered, "Well, if you give any company tens of billions of dollars and wipe their debt off the books, I would expect them to do well. I don't think there's a difference in their positions....between Rick and Mitt on that issue. So I don't see that as a particular issue that goes beyond Michigan." Just as he did with Haley Barbour the previous morning, the anchor interrupted and replied, "They're both against the bailout."
Later in the segment, the CBS journalist made it clear that he was in
the liberal tank with his final economic question to Rep. Ryan: "Do you also believe that the economy [is] beginning to improve and that that's good news for President Obama?"
Just five days earlier, Rose tossed softballs at Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs. Since he became a morning newscast host in January, he has consistently been tougher on Republicans than Democrats.
The full transcript of Charlie Rose and co-anchor Erica Hill's interview of Rep. Paul Ryan, which aired five minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of Tuesday's CBS This Morning:
CHARLIE ROSE: With us now from Capitol Hill, Republican Congressman
Paul Ryan. He is, as you know, chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Congressman Ryan, good morning.
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R), WISCONSIN: Good morning, Charlie and Erica. How are you doing this morning?
[CBS News Graphic: "Race For The White House: Rep. Ryan On GOP Nomination Fight"]
ROSE: Do you have a prediction for Michigan?
RYAN: No, I don't. I'll let you do that. (Erica Hill laughs)
ROSE: (laughs) We're not in the predicting business either-
RYAN: Neither am I-
ROSE: Let me go to the question of what is being debated there. It seems more about social issues than economic issues. Is that troubling for you and the Republican Party?
RYAN: It's not troubling for me, and, actually, I think that's more about the media, and maybe the Democrats, who are trying to move it in that direction. I think what these candidates are mostly talking about are the fiscal issues, the economic issues, and the choice of two futures that the country's going to have to make in the fall. And when it all comes down to it, I think, we're going to be really talking about the economic issues, which are the driving issues of- the front of the minds of the American people. And so, I don't think we're going to have a sidetrack into social issues.
[CBS News Graphic: "American Research Group, Inc. Poll: Michigan Republican Race: Santourm, 36%; Romney, 35%; Paul, 15%; Gingrich, 8%; Margin of Error: +/- 4%"]
There are issues that arise that must be discussed, like the President's new mandate that affects Catholic churches and Catholic hospitals and things like that. But, by and large, this is going to be about economic issues, I think.
ROSE: And the bailout- should that be an issue, and should the voters look at Governor Romney-
ROSE: And Governor Santorum [sic] and say, we had an economic bailout of the auto companies and look what happened? Profits are up, and they're both doing well.
RYAN: Well, if you give any company tens of billions of dollars and wipe their debt off the books, I would expect them to do well. I don't think there's a difference in their positions, if I'm not mistaken, Charlie, between Rick and Mitt on that issue. So I don't see that as a particular issue that goes beyond Michigan-
ROSE: They're both against the bailout-
RYAN: Yeah, I think it's a big issue in Michigan. I'm not sure that it's a big issue in the rest of the country. Look, in my hometown of Jamesville- and Kenosha, that I represent, we lost our auto plants. So, where we come from in auto country, we don't see them as great success stories because we had plant shutdowns, irrespective of those bailouts.
ERICA HILL: Sir, when you look at the plans of the different candidates who are out there- but, perhaps, most specifically, Santorum and Romney- is there one that sticks out to you as the best economic plan for this country?
RYAN: Well, you know- look, I think Romney came out with a great tax plan just the other day at Ford Field on Friday. I think that was a really excellent, pro-growth tax plan. Both of them had been talking about fundamental entitlement reform, which is critical to getting this debt crisis averted, to making sure that we can keep promises to seniors. And I think what matters is, are they going to do the right thing to get the economy going and get this debt crisis averted? They've been fantastic on spending, they've been fantastic on entitlements, and they're now advancing really good pro-growth economic policies.
So, as far as I'm concerned, no matter who emerges from this primary season- which might take a while- we're going to have a sharp contrast about what it takes to get this country growing, and about reclaiming American exceptionalism with the President, and I'm comfortable with the direction that both of these campaigns are headed.
[CBS News Graphic: "It's The Economy: Rep. Ryan On GOP's Plan"]
HILL: So you believe, though, just to sum up, that either one of those campaigns would avoid that, what you see, as the possibility of an European-style debt crisis-
HILL: And potential austerity measures?
ROSE: You believe the economy is-
RYAN: I am, I am. I know these gentlemen well. I've talked with them at great length about these issues, and I do believe either one of them are [sic] very well poised and ready to provide the kind of leadership that has been lacking for the last three and a half years to tackle our debt crisis, and I do think they're really ready to do that.
ROSE: Do you also believe that the economy [is] beginning to improve and that that's good news for President Obama?
RYAN: Sure. I mean, it's good news for Americans, first of all. Let's not read politics into all of these things. But what we've also seen is a lot of people are just leaving the workforce. They're not even trying to find jobs anymore. [line graphic of unemployment rate - 7.8% in 2009; 8.3% in early 2012; Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]
So we still have 20 million people out of work. We still have huge challenges ahead, Charlie. We have a massive debt that will surely doom our economy in the near future if we don't get it under control. So I don't think we should be taking a big pause when there's so much work yet to do. But it's always good when you can see some signs of economic vitality. It tells me that there's a great resiliency in American businesses and small businesses, and imagine how well we could grow if we got the government out of their way.
ROSE: Let me talk- just one question about foreign policy. There is a growing sentiment things are going from bad to worse in Afghanistan. Do you sense among Republicans and your fellow congresspeople- both Democratic and Republican- more talk about we have got to get out of their faster than we expected?
[CBS News Graphic: "Exit Strategy: Rep. Ryan On Afghan Plans"]
RYAN: Not- I was there in December. I met with the commanding generals and looked at what was going on on the ground, and there's a concern that propping up this central government isn't going to work. But that there are things we can do with special forces- we call it village stability operations- that have been really successful. So the question is, is can we make sure that Afghanistan never becomes a safe haven for terrorists in the future? And I think with a very limited footprint, we can do that. The question is, can we keep this kind of huge troop and money investment to try and make this government succeed? That's where there's a big debate about it. But I do believe we can have- with a limited commitment of American people and resources- the ability to prevent it from becoming a safe haven.
The question really kind of goes over to Pakistan, which is another conversation. That's where a big debate occurs. But there is a debate about whether or not full success is seen as this government succeeding, or that the place is pacified and it's not becoming a safe haven for the Taliban and al Qaeda. And that, I think, that's an objective we clearly can- and must- achieve.
ROSE: Congressman Ryan, thank you very for joining us.
RYAN: You bet, Charlie. Take care.