CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley was barely able to contain his laughter Wednesday night after playing a clip of President Obama invoking Ronald Reagan on behalf of his “Buffett Rule” tax hike quest. Nearly breaking into a laugh, a baffled Pelley wondered to CBS News political analyst John Dickerson: “So a vote for President Obama is a vote for Ronald Reagan?!” Dickerson snickered too. (Watch the video to see Pelley’s puzzled reaction.)
Pelley had set up the soundbite: “The President was in full campaign mode today and he even adopted a Republican idol as his own.”
Viewers than heard from Obama at an April 11 White House event: “What Ronald Reagan was calling for then is the same thing that we’re calling for now: a return to basic fairness and responsibility; everybody doing their part. And if it will help convince folks in Congress to make the right choice, we could call it the Reagan Rule instead of the Buffett Rule.”
Audio: MP3 clip
That’s when Pelley expressed bewilderment: “So a vote for President Obama is a vote for Ronald Reagan?!”
John Dickerson explained Obama’s rationale and the GOP retort: “By using that Republican icon he’s trying to paint Mitt Romney and his Republican colleagues as so unfair that even Ronald Reagan wouldn’t agree with them. Republicans point out that when Reagan called for fairness it was part of a much larger tax cut and tax reform programs that Barack Obama probably would not support.”
That’s a pretty good bet.