House Majority Whip Schools CNN's Candy Crowley on Why No Debt Deal

"Why can you not get this deal?"

That was the attitude of CNN's Candy Crowley on yesterday's State of the Union. She acted like if only the Republicans were "reasonable" and accepted some "revenue" enhancements, then a deficit deal could be cut. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy set her straight on why the deal as presented was unacceptable. Oh, Candy tried and tried to make a deficit deal agreement seem reasonable but McCarthy kept knocking her assertions out of the ball park as you can see in the interview video below the fold. Candy led off by accusing House Speaker John Boehner of engaging in a "bargaining ploy" instead of serious negotiation. McCarthy hit that accusation out of the ballpark while simultaneously stressing the sad state of the current unemployment situation in this country:

CANDY CROWLEY: Joining me now to try to make sense of where things stand, House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy of California. I just feel like we are -- if I am out there listening to this, I want to strangle all of you. Why can you not get this deal? This looks to me like a strategic bargaining ploy rather than where we're actually going to end up, from Speaker Boehner.

KEVIN MCCARTHY: Oh, I don't see that at all. Boehner has been very clear that there is no votes for a tax increase. And you look at the jobs data, it was only 18,000 jobs, Canada has fewer people than live in California, created more jobs than America.

Crowley later thought she caught McCarthy in an error about the size of the Obama stimulus.

MCCARTHY: Job growth in America today, start-ups is lower than it has been in 17 years from the policies of this president and this administration. He created a stimulus plan that created more than a -- spent more than a trillion dollars, it cost $278,000 for every single job. I think we have to do a new direction.

CROWLEY: OK. Just the stimulus plan was about $800 billion...

MCCARTHY: No, with interest, 1.1.


In the reasonable vs unreasonable vein Crowley then asked what the Republicans would "give up" since it appeared that Obama was willing to compromise:

CROWLEY: So what would you give up? Let's put it that way. It looks as though -- I mean, I think when you're looking at this, it looks as though -- at least we are led to believe, the president has said, fine, I will put in entitlements, Medicare, Social Security on the table, and you all have said no to anything on the revenue side, sort of consistently. So what are you willing to do that will get these things back on track?

MCCARTHY: Well, you want to know what we're willing to do? We're willing to set out a framework that puts America back on a real track, where it has tax reform, where it reforms the process. Then you close the loopholes.

And then a painful reminder that the "reasonable" Democrats haven't even produced a budget since 2009:

CROWLEY: ... taxes between now and the 2nd of August when this debt ceiling thing blows up

MCCARTHY: Well, you know what, we produced a budget in four months. You know this Democrat-controlled Senate, it has been more than 100 days. You go back to 2009. They never produced a budget. We laid out a reform to Social Security and Medicare to save them. The president has not.

Then Crowley brought up "Bush tax hikes for the wealthy" although in her confusion by this time, she probably meant "Bush tax cuts for the wealthy."

CROWLEY: So the speaker has -- the speaker could not -- even if he wanted to and we're led to believe he was willing, the speaker cannot let go of, for instance, the Bush tax hikes for the wealthy because you don't have the votes for it to back that up, is that correct?

MCCARTHY: Speaker Pelosi did not have the votes for it when they were in the majority.

CROWLEY: So you don't have the votes for it, either.

MCCARTHY: Speaker Pelosi did not have the votes when they controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House. Why didn't they raise them then? Because they know it is bad policy, especially in a down economy.

Crowley takes one last stab at the need for Republicans to "give" in the deficit negotiations:

CROWLEY: ...But the thing is, there just seems to me that there has to be some willingness to give, and I have not heard anything from you about, yes, you know what, I would go -- if we could get a deal that would cut 2.5 trillion in savings, I would agree to this on the revenue side. There's nothing on the revenue side you will agree to?

MCCARTHY: Well, you know, Candy, I've never found one tax increase that created a job. I have watched our economy sputter downward. I've been out across the American public, they want to go back to work. And I know those policies will fail. So in principle, no, we're not going to go there. But I also do know that government has spent too much. They have increased spending 73 percent in discretionary in the last three years. I don't know any American household that has done that. So, you know what, this government needs to live like those American households. I'm tired of the gimmicks, I'm tired of the budget tricks and the accounting tricks that goes forward. This has to be an honest approach. We are at a threshold that we need to change. We are not losing jobs because our credit card didn't have a higher limit. We are losing our jobs because we are spending too much. It's not that difficult to do. We have sat in the room honestly with the Democrats, we have moved forward with them all the way. But they keep saying one thing, they want to raise more taxes.

Annnnd....out of the ballpark it goes. This interview has to stand as a classic in how to respond when a member of the media accuses Republicans of not being "reasonable" by accepting phony deals offered to them by Democrats.

Budget Other CNN Kevin McCarthy Candy Crowley
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