For the second time in less than 24 hours, ABC's Jon Karl on Tuesday hyped a "newfound willingness" by Republicans to compromise on raising taxes and a possible abandonment of "anti-tax enforcer" Grover Norquist. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Yet, this didn't appear enough for Karl who lamented that "even Republicans who say they are willing to violate the pledge say they will only do so by closing loopholes, not by doing what the President wants to do, which is raising tax rates." Talking to Norquist on Good Morning America, the journalist quizzed the founder of Americans for Tax Reform on pledges his organization encourages politicians to sign: "If somebody signed this 10 years ago, 18 years ago, 20 years ago, are they still bound by it?"
Norquist retorted, "Now, when you got married, did you wife understand there was an expiration date on that promise?"
Karl suggested that congressional Republicans are "expressing a newfound willingness to compromise on that long-standing Republican pledge never to raise taxes." He introduced, "Meet the anti-tax enforcer, the man behind the pledge. Grover Norquist."
On Monday's World News, anchor Diane Sawyer touted, "a Republican mutiny against a man who had convinced them to take a pledge."
During that segment, Karl whined that the pledge is "the biggest obstacle to any deal that would raise taxes."
A transcript of the November 27 GMA segment can be found below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're counting down now to that fiscal cliff. Just over a month to go before everyone's taxes go up. Both sides set to meet with business leaders this week. The President's going to take his campaign on the road, too, as more Republicans appear willing to bend on their no new taxes pledge. ABC's Jon Karl is covering all the maneuvers in Washington. Jon, even though the President has been calling congressional leaders, they haven't made enough progress for another face-to-face negotiation.
JON KARL: That's right, George. There is no face-to-face meeting even scheduled now between the President and congressional leaders. But I can tell you that high-level talks with staff are intensifying, with time running out. And Republicans are expressing a newfound willingness to compromise on that long-standing Republican pledge never to raise taxes.
GROVER NORQUIST: The pledge was designed–
KARL: Meet the anti-tax enforcer, the man behind the pledge. Grover Norquist.
NORQUIST: Republicans who vote for a tax increase are rat heads in a Coke bottle. They damage the brand for everyone else.
KARL: Ronald Reagan unveiled Norquist's first pledge in the mid 1980s. And over the last two decades, virtually no Republican has been elected without signing that no tax increase pledge. Now, how many of these things have been signed?
NORQUIST: Thousands over the years.
KARL: He keeps them all on file. Here's John Boehner's pledge, signed 20 years ago. If somebody signed this 10 years ago, 18 years ago, 20 years ago, are they still bound by it?
NORQUIST: Now, when you got married, did you wife understand there was an expiration date on that promise?
KARL: Norquist has consistently warned that anyone who violates the pledge is doomed.
NORQUIST: It is difficult to imagine somebody winning a primary without taking the pledge.
KARL: But with the fiscal cliff just months away, and a re-elected Barack Obama insisting that tax increases must be part of any budget deal, key Republicans are now talking about ditching the pledge.
SENATOR BOB CORKER: I'm not obligated on the pledge.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform.
KARL: But George, even Republicans who say they are willing to violate the pledge say they will only do so by closing loopholes, not by doing what the President wants to do, which is raising tax rates.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, the sides, still far apart. Meanwhile, we heard about Susan Rice, the UN ambassador going up to Capitol Hill today, to meet with many of her critics as the President contemplates whether to appoint her as Secretary of State. And it does appear that some of the critics, at least Senator John McCain, are softening their opposition just a bit.
KARL: Just a bit. And she's going to go right into the lion's den. She's meeting not just with John McCain but also with Lindsey Graham. Both have said point blank that they would do anything in their power to stop her nomination. But with this meeting coming up, they have softened that a bit, although, George, far short, George of ever saying they would support her for Secretary of State.