She Should Take KJP’s Job: ABC’s Mary Bruce Sucks Up to Biden on Border, Debt Limit

May 9th, 2023 3:00 PM

Being a frequent NewsBusters reader and/or a trip to our taxonomy term for ABC chief White House correspondent Mary Bruce would give one the impression that Bruce was little more than a doormat for the Biden administration and loyally delivered the day’s preferred spin. Such was the case on Tuesday’s Good Morning America as she enthusiastically spun for President Biden on the border crisis and debt ceiling. 

Simply put, if Biden and his handlers (who actually run the administration) want a Press Secretary who can successfully string together complete sentences, they should give Bruce a look. Besides some tough press briefings here and there, she’s a loyal foot soldier.



First up Tuesday was the border crisis. Co-host and former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos cued her up: “[T]he situation at the border is just one of the big issues facing the White House. President Biden planning to hold a phone call today with Mexico’s president to discuss the border.”

Like she did last week, Bruce portrayed Biden as fully in charge of both the border and his faculties:

[T]he White House is bracing for this surge at the border and bracing for the political fight that they know is coming with this. And this morning, they say they are confident that they are doing everything they can to prepare for this. They are, we know, surging resources to the border, stepping up enforcement measures, like sending an additional 1,500 troops to the border. And they are looking to open new legal pathways for immigration.

Only then did she provide a brief caveat that “Democrats, especially those in border states” are skeptical, but quickly went back to shining Biden’s shoes: “And we have seen some — some administration officials concede their plan is going to take some time to take hold. All of this is going to be top of mind as the President is expected to have that phone call later this morning with the Mexican president.”

Stephanopoulos’s pivot to the debt ceiling was also soft, touting the “big meeting today” with Biden bringing in “congressional leaders” to discuss “that economic time bomb.”

Bruce made zero attempt to suggest Biden was elected on the basis of his 36 years in the Senate and supposed brinksmanship to make deals:

[T]he stakes here simply could not be any higher. We are now less than a month away from that expected default and an economic catastrophe. And while this meeting here this afternoon is a very big deal, don’t expect any major breakthroughs. Both sides are still digging in. Republicans are demanding steep spending cuts in exchange for raising the nation’s debt limit. But the President insists that is just a nonstarter.

She went on to tout Biden’s line without pushback that he believes “Republicans are holding the nation’s economy hostage” and thus “will not be negotiating.” Instead, he’ll use the meeting to “reiterate what is at stake here.”

“He is again going to press Republicans to do their job, as he has been urging, and to raise the debt limit to pay off the nation’s debt without conditions, so they can pay off the bills for spending that has already been approved. The bottom line here, George, is that we are barreling towards an economic meltdown. The standoff continues and we are still waiting for someone to blink first,” she added.

CBS Mornings similar set the table as Biden in charge. Co-host Tony Dokoupil hyped Biden as “meeting with congressional leaders later today in an effort to find a way to raise the government debt limit” while White House correspondent Ed O’Keefe laid out each side’s views (which is close to the best you’ll get from the corporate liberal media) (click “expand”):

Heading into this meeting, Tony, the only thing both sides seem to agree on is defaulting would be economically catastrophic. The leaders of the House and Senate will be here to discuss money already borrowed and the fact that, now, the bills are due. Republicans are trying to use this as a chance to make big cuts in federal spending — their plan would cut about $3 trillion over the next decade, including some Biden administration priorities like climate change initiatives. The President and most Democrats say Congress needs to authorize raising the borrowing limit with no strings attached. If things don’t get sorted out in the coming weeks, the President says he hasn’t ruled out invoking a little-known part of the 14th amendment that says “the validity of the” U.S. debt of the United States “shall not be questioned,” regardless of how much has been authorized. 

Congress has to move quickly, at this point. The Treasury Secretary says the U.S. could run out of money to pay its debt as soon as June 1 and there’s just a handful of days this month when the House and Senate are both scheduled to be in town at the same time, Nate, which means they may have to add a few to the calendar or somehow kick this down the road.

NBC’s Today featured this stark take from chief White House correspondent Kristen Welker to end her report: “But the pressure is mounting...on President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to reach a deal. It’s just not overstated to say that both of their jobs could be on the line here.”

But prior to that, it painted Biden as in charge and implied Republicans are hypocrites (click “expand”):

HODA KOTB: Also this morning with the deadline looming, the high-stakes shutdown over the nation’s debt limit is heating up. President Biden — he’s meeting with congressional leaders at the White House today in an effort to avoid an unprecedented default that could further shake the nation’s already fragile economy.


SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Well, Kristen, what do you expect, then, from today’s meeting between President Biden and the congressional leaders of both parties? I mean, are they going to sit down and hammer it out or is this a little bit of showmanship?

WELKER: Well, that’s the big question, Savannah. You’re absolutely right. This has become the highest of high-stakes game of chicken. It’s just not clear and, frankly, pretty unlikely there’s going to be a major breakthrough today. Here’s the issue. President Biden said he’s not going to negotiate over the debt limit. He cites the fact that Congress has agreed to raise it without strings attached in many cases and during the Trump administration when Republicans did not enact any new spending cuts. But now, Republicans say they won’t do so without cuts, something that White House has already shot down. So the bottom line here, this is a stalemate right now. All eyes are going to be on today’s meeting.

Tuesday’s favorable debt ceiling coverage to the White House was brought to you by advertisers such as Citi (on NBC), Consumer Cellular (on ABC), Nature’s Bounty (on CBS), and Planet Fitness (on ABC). Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

To see the relevant transcripts from May 9, click here (for ABC), here (for CBS), and here (for NBC).