In State of The Union Preview, CBS Declares Obama ‘Champion of The Middle Class’

President Obama is set to give his seventh State of the Union address on Tuesday night and on Monday, January 19, CBS This Morning did its best to give him some free publicity during their preview of the president’s annual speech.

CBS reporter Bill Plante hyped President Obama’s tax increase agenda and argued that the goal of his State of the Union “is to put Republicans on the defensive as the party of the rich.” 

During the segment, Plante did play two soundbites from Republicans who harshly criticized Obama’s latest tax-and-spend proposal, but the CBS reporter surrounded the clips with White House spin including talking to a local Colorado businesswoman who helped cheerlead for the president’s economic agenda: 

PLANTE: As he does every year, the president will try to personalize his proposals by inviting average Americans who’ve prospered under his administration like Carolyn Reeve who will be with the first lady tomorrow night. She's a sub shop owner from Colorado who wrote to the president about how she was able to expand her business thanks to a loan from the Small Business Administration. 

CAROLYN REEVE: I have benefited from a small business loan and from stimulated money that paid for my closing costs. I wanted to thank the president for the things that he had done that had helped us out. 

Throughout CBS’s preview of the State of the Union, Plante insisted that Obama will “present himself as the champion of the middle class asking the Republican Congress for more than $300 billion in new tax revenue over the next decade to fund tax breaks for average Americans.” Plante then went on to detail the “free” items President Obama is asking Congress to approve: 

The president spent Sunday working on the address but he's already toured the country previewing much of what he plans to lay out on Tuesday, including two free years of community college, increased access to high-speed internet, and new online privacy protections.    

Rather than acknowledge that the tax cuts President Obama has proposed can be paid for simply by cutting government spending and eliminating unnecessary federal programs, Plante insisted that raising taxes on the rich was the only way to pay for the president’s agenda: 

To pay for some of this as well as for nearly $200 billion in new middle-class tax cuts the president will propose raising capital gains tacks for top earners and imposing new fees on large financial institutions. 

Plante concluded the network’s Obama promotion by touting the president’s so-called defense of the middle class one final time: 

Now Congressman Paul Ryan who leads the House committee which is responsible for taxes was quick to say that the president's plan was dead on arrival. But look, for the president, that's not the point. The real aim here is to put Republicans on the defensive as the party of the rich.

See relevant transcript below. 

CBS This Morning 

January 19, 2015

VINITA NAIR: This morning President Obama is putting the final touches on his sixth State of the Union message. When he speaks to Congress tomorrow night he'll propose big changes in tax laws, hitting hardest on the rich. Bill Plante is at the White House with the plan that Republicans are already saying no to. Bill, good morning. 

BILL PLANTE: Well, good morning. The president is going to be taking advantage of the biggest TV audience that he gets each year and he'll present himself as the champion of the middle class asking the Republican Congress for more than $300 billion in new tax revenue over the next decade to fund tax breaks for average Americans.

The president spent Sunday working on the address but he's already toured the country previewing much of what he plans to lay out on Tuesday, including two free years of community college, increased access to high-speed internet, and new online privacy protections. To pay for some of this as well as for nearly $200 billion in new middle-class tax cuts the president will propose raising capital gains tacks for top earners and imposing new fees on large financial institutions. The administration’s latest proposal was hit with harsh criticism from Republicans in both the House– 

JASON CHAFFETZ: Are you going to actually grow the economy and jobs or are entrepreneurs going to be better off? Are small businessmen going to be better your off with more taxes and more government? No. 

PLANTE: And the Senate. 

MARCO RUBIO: Raising taxes on people that are successful is not going to make people that are struggling more successful. 

PLANTE: But top adviser Dan Pfeiffer defended the White House approach. 

DAN PFEIFFER: Are they going to agree on everything? Absolutely not. But I think we should have a debate in this country about, between middle-class economics and trickle-down economics and see if we can come to an agreement on the things we do agree on.

PLANTE: And as he does every year, the president will try to personalize his proposals by inviting average Americans who’ve prospered under his administration like Carolyn Reeve who will be with the first lady tomorrow night. She's a sub shop owner from Colorado who wrote to the president about how she was able to expand her business thanks to a loan from the Small Business Administration. 

CAROLYN REEVE: I have benefited from a small business loan and from stimulated money that paid for my closing costs. I wanted to thank the president for the things that he had done that had helped us out. 

PLANTE: Now Congressman Paul Ryan who leads the House committee which is responsible for taxes was quick to say that the president's plan was dead on arrival. But look, for the president, that's not the point. The real aim here is to put Republicans on the defensive as the party of the rich. Vinita? 

NAIR: Bill, thank you.

State of the Union CBS CBS This Morning Bill Plante Barack Obama

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