Contrasting a “contrite” President Obama with a “less conciliatory” Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, CBS reporter Nancy Cordes on Thursday night conveyed Democratic concern about likely House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's pledge to hold oversight hearings as she recalled “a barrage of damaging probes, one of which ended in impeachment hearings.”
Cantor, Cordes asserted, has called “for more investigations into the administration, with quote 'one major oversight hearing each week.' That worries Democrats, who remember what happened the last time Republicans controlled the House during a Democratic presidency.” She then challenged Darrell Issa, now the ranking minority member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: “Democrats have said that you're going to start a witch-hunt against the President if Republicans take control.”
From the Thursday, November 4 CBS Evening News:
KATIE COURIC: President Obama will board Air Force One tomorrow for his longest foreign trip since he took office. A ten-day visit to Asia, with stops in India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan. The President says one of his aims will be to get those countries to open their markets to more American products. Now, when he comes home the President will turn his attention to domestic political issues. Nancy Cordes, I understand Nancy the President is offering the legislative branch an olive branch.
NANCY CORDES: That's right, Katie. It's been two days now since his self-described shellacking and the President is still contrite. Today he invited Democratic and Republican leaders to the White House for a meeting later this month and said he hopes they'll stay for dinner.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I want us to talk substantively about how we can move the American people's agenda forward. It's not just going to be a photo-op.
CORDES: But Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell was less conciliatory.
SENATOR MITCH McCONNELL: If the administration wants cooperation, it will have to begin to move in our direction.
CORDES: In a speech today, McConnell said his top priority is to repeal the President's signature achievement, the health care reform bill.
McCONNELL: We can and should propose and vote on straight repeal repeatedly. But we can't expect the President to sign it. So we'll also have to work in the House on denying funds for implementation.
CORDES: That strategy was embraced by Eric Cantor of Virginia, who is expected to be second in command of the new House majority. In a 22-page document outlining his agenda, Cantor also calls for more investigations into the administration, with quote “one major oversight hearing each week.” That worries Democrats, who remember what happened the last time Republicans controlled the House during a Democratic presidency.
FROM HEARING: The President also denied having sexual relations-
CORDES: A barrage of damaging probes, one of which ended in impeachment hearings. Congressman Darrell Issa of California will chair the powerful House oversight committee.
CORDES, TO ISSA: Democrats have said that you're going to start a witch-hunt against the President if Republicans take control.
CONGRESSMAN DARRELL ISSA: Certainly there are a lot of things that every administration would like to not have looked at. In our case, what we have to look at is the growth of government and the waste in government. And that's what we're going to do.
CORDES: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is talking to Democrats to try to figure out her next move, but already one Democrat has said she should step down from leadership and another has said he might run against her. Katie?
— Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.