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NBC Hounds Jarrett Over Lack of 'Actual Action' from Obama; CBS Goes Easier on the Adviser

Norah O'Donnell, CBS News Anchor; Charlie Rose, CBS News Anchor; & Valerie Jarrett, Senior Obama Adviser; Screen Cap From 12 February 2013 Edition of CBS This Morning | MRC.orgNBC's Savannah Guthrie pressed White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett on Tuesday's Today over President Obama's apparent inaction on many key issues. After reading an excerpt from the President's 2009 address to Congress, Guthrie wondered, "You know, Americans have heard these refrains over and over again. What can you guarantee to the American people that will turn these words into actual action?"

By contrast, on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, anchor Charlie Rose merely prompted Jarrett to provide the Obama administration's talking points on the upcoming State of the Union address:

CHARLIE ROSE: Okay, let me turn to the State of the Union. You are, perhaps, other than the First Lady, the person closest to the President in the White House. And more and more people are saying what The New York Times said this morning: 'As the President prepared to outline his second-term agenda, it is clear from those personal accounts, as well as his public acts, like his bold inaugural address, that he has shown an assertiveness, self-possession, even cockiness that contrasts with the caution, compromise, and reserve that he showed for much of his first term.'

Guthrie followed up by hounding the President's senior adviser on the impending automatic spending cuts:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Let me turn to a more immediate crisis. In a few weeks, these automatic spending cuts known as the sequester will go into effect. This is something that both sides have said will be massively destructive to our economy. My question to you is when is the last time the President sat down with congressional leaders to try to work out some kind of compromise to avoid this?

VALERIE JARRETT: Well, as you saw at the end of the last year, we made a great deal of progress. We were so close, Savannah. The President and Speaker Boehner were really just moments apart in reaching a deal. And unfortunately, the Republicans were unwilling to do the deal we proposed. The President proposed a balanced approach, one that includes both spending cuts as well as rate increases. And that that's – that's the way that we have to get ourself to a healthy budget. We can't cut our way out of this.

Savannah Guthrie, NBC News Anchor; & Valerie Jarrett, Obama Senior Adviser; Screen Cap From 12 February 2013 Edition of NBC's Today | NewsBusters.orgGUTHRIE: Have there been any recent – have there been any recent meetings along those lines?

JARRETT: Well, there haven't. We had the issue of the end of the last year, and over the last few weeks we've been preparing and gearing up. The President has made it clear numerous times that he welcomes the opportunity to sit down with the Republicans in Congress and work out a deal. He has presented a range of options for how we can get our fiscal house in order. He's looking for a big deal. But if we can't get a big deal, let's at least try to come to terms on a smaller deal that avoids the sequestration from kicking in.

The only tough question Rose asked Jarrett was when the CBS anchor targeted her from the left regarding Obama's second-term Cabinet appointments:

ROSE: We have seen resignations including, for example, the secretary of energy. The question still is, when will we see those major women appointed to top-level Cabinet positions, whether it's Justice or something else?

The CBS journalist has a record of going softer on liberal guests than conservative one. On January 17, 2013, Rose and co-anchor Norah O'Donnell set up New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to promote his pro-gun control platform, just minutes after their contentious interview of NRA President David Keene.

The transcript of the relevant portion of the Valerie Jarett interview on Tuesday's CBS This Morning:

CHARLIE ROSE: Okay, let me turn to the State of the Union. You are, perhaps, other than the First Lady, the person closest to the President in the White House. And more and more people are saying what The New York Times said this morning: 'As the President prepared to outline his second-term agenda, it is clear from those personal accounts, as well as his public acts, like his bold inaugural address, that he has shown an assertiveness, self-possession, even cockiness that contrasts with the caution, compromise, and reserve that he showed for much of his first term.'

[CBS News Graphic: "State Of The White House: Obama Adviser On State Of The Union Speech"]

VALERIE JARRETT, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Well, I think that, certainly, after four years, he's had a lot of experience. His confidence has grown. But his objective is the same. Since day one, he's been focused on building the middle class from the middle-out, as opposed to the top-down; growing our economy; making sure that we are a magnet, here in the United States, for jobs and for manufacturing; making sure that as we develop those jobs, that our folks are equipped with the skills that they need to perform those jobs; and making sure that if you work hard, that you have a good living. And so, I think those basic values are American principles; they're American values; and you'll see that the theme tonight is consistent with his theme of the inaugural, where if you really worked hard and everybody gets a fair shot – everybody gets a fair shake; everybody plays by the same set of rules; and that if we do that together, our nation will be stronger.

[CBS News Graphic: "President Obama Approval Rating: Approve, 52%; Disapprove, 38%; Source: CBS News Poll: Margin of Error: +/- 3% Pts."]

ROSE: Let me talk about appointments for the new second-term team. Dick Cheney, the former Vice President [is] very critical, saying it's a second-rate term – team in – in the national security arena, and it simply reflects the President and a weakening of America.

[CBS News Graphic: "State Of The White House: Obama Adviser On Cabinet Picks"]

JARRETT: Well, obviously I disagree with that. I think it's no surprise that we would pick different people than, perhaps, would have been selected under a prior administration. The President has picked an outstanding team, and given our challenges ahead, we really call on Congress to confirm them as soon as possible, so that we can move forward. We have challenges, but we also have opportunities, and I think the president deserves to have a team swiftly confirmed, so that we can get about the business of defending our country, moving our country forward, building that middle class that I talked about.

ROSE: We have seen resignations including, for example, the secretary of energy. The question still is, when will we see those major women appointed to top-level Cabinet positions, whether it's Justice or something else?

JARRETT: Well, the attorney general intends to stay. The President just appointed Sally Jewell to the Department of Interior last week. He'll be filling out his cabinet in the coming weeks. And I think when he is finished, you'll see it is a Cabinet that reflects the diversity of our country – not just the Cabinet, but the sub-Cabinet – and one that he believes will work collectively to put America first, put the middle class first, help those who want to move into the middle class, and move our country forward. So, we're very optimistic, Charlie, about the future, and it's time to get going now.

O'DONNELL: Valerie Jarrett, good to see you. Thank you for joining us.

JARRETT: Thanks, Norah. Thanks, Charlie.

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