CBS This Morning has a long established history of conducting softball interviews of liberal/Democratic guests, while unleashing on conservative/liberal ones. But on Friday, the morning newscast surprisingly hounded Rep. Nancy Pelosi on the ongoing government shutdown. Obama supporter Gayle King repeatedly pressed Pelosi about "people [who] are just saying...work it out....both sides have to be willing to leave something on the table."
Anthony Mason underlined how "Senator [Harry] Reid called some Republicans anarchists. You've called them arsonists....How do you get a meeting of the minds when people are talking like that?" Norah O'Donnell also wondered about "a scenario...where Democrats would be willing to give on a larger budget deal – the grand bargain coming back, and giving on entitlements, so that we can move forward." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
O'Donnell led with the Thursday security scare at the Capitol, and raised the subject of the shutdown by asking, "Is it true the Capitol Police are working without pay because of the budget shutdown?" Once the San Francisco liberal confirmed that this was the case, King began pursuing her about her role in the shutdown:
GAYLE KING: ...What do you say to people that say, just work it out, without going into the tit for tat that seems to be going on both sides? What will it take, Madame Speaker, to resolve this issue?
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Well, it will take some – coming together on the Republican side. It's very hard to negotiate with the Republicans when they can’t negotiate with themselves. But having said that-
KING: I know, but they're saying the same thing about you guys, too.
PELOSI: No, it isn't; no, it isn't. We have – four times – brought to the floor their bill and voted 100 percent for their bill, and they still won't take yes for an answer. But let's take a deep breath on this. We have a serious matter. Our government is shut down. The – the default on our full faith and credit is at risk. And so, we have to find a path. And so, we have...said to the Speaker, we will accept your bill – we don't like the bill....But we will accept that in order to go forward. But they do not have, within their own ranks, the ability to take yes for an answer-
KING: I know. A good friend of mine said, in any negotiation, both sides have to be willing to leave something on the table.
PELOSI: That's right, and that's why we agreed to their number...which we don't like. We've always said to them, we'll help you procedurally; we'll help you substantively....
Mason continued with his citation of Harry Reid and Pelosi's name-calling. The former House Speaker answer by launching more attacks against her Republican opponents:
PELOSI: Well, the fact is that there are, within the ranks of the Republican Party – and this is the bigger picture that the Republican Party has to deal with, and has an impact on our country – if you don't believe in a government role, then it's easy for you to say, in order to lift the debt ceiling, we want to eliminate all EPA rules for clean air, clean water, and the rest....You have to come to a conclusion. Sandy aid – fewer than 20 percent of the Republicans voted for Sandy aid. They have something going on there. I say Republicans, take back your party.
O'Donnell then asked her "grand bargain" question. Pelosi replied that "the President already has in the budget that he agreed to in 2011. That isn't a happy scenario for our members, but...nonetheless, it was part of a grand bargain, and it all depends on what the bargain is."
Near the end of the segment, King hounded her one more time, pointing out that Pelosi has "five children, and you're used to squabbling. In one sentence, what would you say to your children if they were behaving the way the Democrats and the Republicans are behaving?" The liberal guest replied by actually pointing a finger at the left-leaning press: "Well, I don't agree to your stipulation of behavior. The President of the United States has gone forward with – extending the hand of friendship over and over. I think that has been lost in the news."
Mason interrupted and shot back, "But, at the same time, the President's saying, we won't negotiate, and he's taking criticism for that." Pelosi stuck to her talking points, but King came right back: "To the people outside, it really just does seem like white noise. It just seems like, you say something; they say something...And the people are just saying, you guys, just work it out. That's all I'm saying."
[Update, Friday, 5:15 pm Eastern: the full transcript of the Nancy Pelosi interview on Friday's CBS This Morning can be read on MRC.org.]