CBS' Rodriguez allowed McCain adviser to claim unchallenged that Obama "has a plan to raise" taxes


On CBS' The Early Show, Maggie Rodriguez did not challenge McCain campaign adviser Steve Schmidt's claim that "Senator [Barack] Obama has a plan to raise" taxes, even though McCain's own chief economic adviser has reportedly said it is inaccurate to say "Barack Obama raises taxes." Rodriguez did not point out that, in fact, Obama has proposed cutting taxes for low- and middle-income families and raising them only on households earning more than $250,000 per year.

During the September 5 edition of CBS' The Early Show, co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez did not challenge McCain campaign senior adviser Steve Schmidt's assertion that "Senator [Barack] Obama has a plan to raise" taxes. Rodriguez did not note that Obama has proposed cutting taxes for low- and middle-income families, and McCain's own chief economic adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, has reportedly said that it is inaccurate to say that "Barack Obama raises taxes." According to Obama's "Tax Fairness Plan," "Barack Obama's plan will provide $80-85 billion in tax relief to America's workers, seniors, and homeowners." Obama's proposed tax cuts include "a new 'Making Work Pay' tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family," a "universal mortgage credit" which "will provide the average recipient with approximately $500 per year in tax savings," and the "eliminat[ion]" of "all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year."

In its analysis of Obama's and Sen. John McCain's tax proposals, the Tax Policy Center concluded that "Obama would give larger tax cuts to low- and moderate-income households and pay some of the cost by raising taxes on high-income taxpayers. In contrast, McCain would cut taxes across the board and give the biggest cuts to the highest-income households."

Rodriguez also did not challenge Schmidt's claim that Obama is "against" expanding domestic drilling. In fact, although Obama's energy plan states that "with 3 percent of the world's oil reserves, the U.S. cannot drill our way to energy security," Obama calls domestic oil and natural gas production "critical to prevent global energy prices from climbing even higher" and proposes "set[ting] up a process for early identification of any infrastructure obstacles/shortages or possible federal permitting process delays to drilling" in Montana, North Dakota, Texas, Arkansas, and Alaska.

From the September 5 edition of CBS' The Early Show:

RODRIGUEZ: Thanks, Jeff. I'm joined now by Steve Schmidt, John McCain's senior strategist. Good morning, Steve.

SCHMIDT: Good morning, Maggie. It's great to be with you.

RODRIGUEZ: Thank you. So, what was John McCain's strategy last night, and what do you think he accomplished?

SCHMIDT: Well, what he wanted to do was talk to the American people about why he is ready to be president of the United States. American people got to hear his remarkable story, his journey from that 4-by-6 foot squalid prison cell in Vietnam to accepting his party's nomination. He's someone who has fought every major special interest in Washington, somebody who's put his country first, and what we have to do to change America is to stop the "me first" politics that you see out of so many of the Washington politicians. Senator Obama talks --

RODRIGUEZ: Steve, we heard all this from Senator McCain last night, but I just want to ask you, as I watched the biographical videos and heard all these personal stories, I was reminded of what Rick Davis, your campaign manager, said this week. This campaign, this election is not about the issues; it's a composite view of what people will take from -- about the candidates. Do you think you've focused enough on the issues?

SCHMIDT: Well, it will certainly be about the issues and Senator McCain talked about them last night: For example, $700 billion a year going overseas to countries who don't like us because of our dependence on foreign oil. Senator McCain has a real plan to start moving this country towards energy independence. We need to drill for more oil here, now. We need to build nuclear power plants. Senator Obama is against both. And if you're against both, we will never be energy independent. Senator McCain has talked about reducing the wasteful spending in Washington that is bankrupting our kids' future. Senator Obama wants to raise spending. Senator McCain is going to hold the line against tax cuts. Senator Obama has a plan to raise them. So, when we talk about the people --

RODRIGUEZ: Steve, I don't want to repeat --


RODRIGUEZ: I don't want to repeat everything that Senator McCain said last night 'cause our viewers heard that already. I want to ask you in the limited time that we have left one more question about your running mate, Senator McCain's running mate Sarah Palin.

SCHMIDT: Isn't she great?

RODRIGUEZ: I know that you raised a million dollars -- I know that you raised a million dollars after her speech, so apparently John McCain's supporters think she's great, but Senator Obama's campaign raised $10 million. What do you think that says about Sarah Palin?

SCHMIDT: Well, I think she did a great job. She gave one of the great speeches that anybody has seen in a generation at -- out of a candidate from either party. She's going to have broad appeal across the country. She's somebody who understands what working families are going through. She's been one of the great governors in this country. She's the most popular governor of any governor in the country. And she's an expert on energy issues and it would be good to have an expert on energy issues who can help lead this country into energy independence working with Senator McCain in the White House.

RODRIGUEZ: All right. Steve Schmidt, thanks for your time this morning.

Posted In
Economy, Taxes, Elections
Maggie Rodriguez
The Early Show
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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