Scott Pelley chided House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, indicating the Republican leader was largely to blame for the imminent sequester: "You said that the President didn't have the guts to do what needed to be done on the budget. Today, you said the Senate has to get off its ass. Those don't sound like the words of a man seeking to bring people together to compromise."
Pelley had already pointed the finger at Boehner for the impasse over the federal budget back on the February 12, 2013 edition of the evening newscast, mere hours before the State of the Union:
SCOTT PELLEY: At the State of the Union address tonight, there will be a great deal said about compromise and bi-partisanship, but in reality there seems to be very little mood for it. Today, in a meeting with reporters, but no cameras, John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House, said this of the President and deficit reduction, quote: 'When it comes to the heavy lifting that has to be done, he doesn't have the guts to do it.' Those of us in the room asked the Speaker if he really meant what he said and he repeated it....
Bob Schieffer is our chief Washington correspondent and anchor of Face the Nation. Bob, you were in that breakfast with the Speaker. He didn't seem open to change.
Moments later, the CBS anchor played a clip from his interview of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor where he again criticized Boehner for his attack on the President: "Speaker Boehner this morning told a group of reporters over breakfast...that the President 'does not have the guts to do what needs to be done.' That's pretty personal and I wonder if it's helpful in terms of reaching compromise on legislation."
Pelley doesn't seem to have the moral high ground to lecture anyone about "personal" remarks and the need for compromise, given his own journalistic record. Back in 2011, the MRC documented how the on-air personality compared Republicans to Timothy McVeigh back in 2006 and likened climate change skeptics to Holocaust deniers in 2006.
On the other hand, Pelley lauded Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as "friendly", "incorruptible", and "modest" on the September 24, 2007 edition of The Early Show.
The transcript of the relevant portion of Scott Pelley's interview of House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday's CBS Evening News:
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER (from pre-recorded interview): I think that the administration's trying to play games – play games with the American people; scare the American people. This is not – this is not leadership.
PELLEY: You just accused the White House of fear-mongering.
BOEHNER: Listen, they're out there making a lot of noise. What they really ought to be doing is coming up to the Hill and working with the Senate Democrats to pass a bill that can replace the sequester, and begin a deal with our long-term spending problem.
PELLEY (live): Sequester is the term that Washington uses for those automatic budget cuts. Speaker Boehner says the House will not act until Democrats in the Senate take the lead on writing a bill that achieves savings in a more sensible way. He was blunt about that earlier today.
BOEHNER (from press conference): We have moved a bill in the House twice. We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something.
PELLEY (from pre-recorded interview): You said the Senate has to get off its ass.
BOEHNER: Yeah! It's time for them to do their work!
PELLEY: You know, a few weeks ago, you said that the President didn't have the guts to do what needed to be done on the budget. Today, you said the Senate has to get off its ass. Those don't sound like the words of a man seeking to bring people together to compromise.
BOEHNER: Now listen, I've had a very nice conversation with the President last week. I had a very nice conversation with Harry Reid – Senator Reid, the majority leader, the week before. Our members want us to have cuts and reforms that put us on a path to balance the budget over the next ten years. That's – that's what we want, and that's a tall order. It's going to mean real work on our entitlement programs; real work on other spending items in the budget.
PELLEY: And to be clear, no revenue increases.
BOEHNER: We're not – the President got his tax hikes in January. The federal government will have more revenue this year than any year in our history. It's time to tackle spending – period.
PELLEY (live): He's referring, of course, to last month's increase in top tax rates and the increase in the payroll tax.