In an interview with radio host Laura Ingraham on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer fretted over the lack of a deal on raising the debt ceiling and called on Republicans to abandon their opposition to tax increases: "When it comes to taxes, this issue of revenues, is there any way this deal gets done without the Republicans compromising somewhat on taxes?" [Audio available here]
Ingraham pointed out: "...if the Republicans hadn't taken the House of Representatives last November, if the Tea Party hadn't kind of risen up and gotten all of this populist influence, we wouldn't even be having a discussion on any spending cuts." Lauer responded by again demanding the GOP give in: "President Obama talks about shared sacrifice. Where is the shared sacrifice going to come from on the Republican side?"
In reply, Ingraham noted the President's hypocrisy: "Is his shared sacrifice the fact that he canceled his Montana vacation last weekend?" Lauer was undeterred as he portrayed Obama as willing to compromise: "No, he's opening up a lot of entitlement programs and he's doing things, as he just said, that he's going to take heat from the Democrats on."
Ingraham dismantled the argument for higher taxes: "The numbers don't add up. Taxing the upper 1% or 2% income earners in this country does not get us to the math. We have to shrink government. Putting more burdens on the people who actually create jobs. Hey, like NBC. We don't need to do that."
Lauer changed tactics and touted the latest poll numbers: "I think everybody agrees that it's – there's got to be some changes on that side....A recent Gallup poll said only 20% of Americans think that spending cuts are the only thing that should be on the table when it talks about this. So they're talking about increasing revenues....they're talking about raising taxes on the 1%, on corporations, even the corporate jets, which is only a few hundred million dollars."
Ingraham called out the press for promoting those White House talking points: "Matt – right, that was a scam and that was a lie. The fact that the media allowed him [Obama] to get away with that for five seconds was absurd."
An exasperated Lauer asked one more time: "What I'm asking you is will this deal absolutely not – will there be no compromise on taxes on the Republican side, in your opinion?" Ingraham turned the question around: "Will there be compromise on the other side on the issue of freeing up business to create jobs?"
Here is a full transcript of Lauer's July 12 interview with Ingraham:
MATT LAUER: Laura Ingraham is a conservative radio talk show host and Fox News contributor. Her latest book, by the way, is called 'Of Thee I Zing,' we'll get to that in a second. Laura, nice to have you back.
INGRAHAM: Nice to see you.
LAUER: This seems like – this case of the debt ceiling – of the immovable force and the unstoppable – immovable object and the unstoppable force. When it comes to taxes, this issue of revenues, is there any way this deal gets done without the Republicans compromising somewhat on taxes?
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Not Budging on the Budget; Can President & GOP Reach a Compromise?]
LAURA INGRAHAM: Well, I certainly hope they don't compromise on taxes because the one thing we do know, Matt, when we look at this whole landscape, if the Republicans hadn't taken the House of Representatives last November, if the Tea Party hadn't kind of risen up and gotten all of this populist influence, we wouldn't even be having a discussion on any spending cuts. The Democrats would have already voted to increase the debt ceiling. Spending cuts would not even be part of the equation. The only reason we're talking about shrinking the size of government, beyond all of these other details, is because the Republicans are listening to the people out there in this country and you're angry. I mean, these people are angry because these people can't balance a budget.
LAUER: President Obama talks about shared sacrifice. Where is the shared sacrifice going to come from on the Republican side?
INGRAHAM: Well, let me just – is his shared sacrifice the fact that he canceled his Montana vacation last weekend?
LAUER: No, he's opening up a lot of entitlement programs-
INGRAHAM: Matt, they're-
LAUER: And he's doing things, as he just said, that he's going to take heat from the Democrats on.
INGRAHAM: Even – even, even the Associated Press yesterday said the President was dancing around using the words 'tax increases.' The numbers don't add up. Taxing the upper 1% or 2% income earners in this country does not get us to the math. We have to shrink government. Putting more burdens on the people who actually create jobs. Hey, like NBC. We don't need to do that.
LAUER: I think everybody – I think everybody agrees that it's – there's got to be some changes on that side. A Gallup
INGRAHAM: When Washington starts – Matt, when Washington starts sacrificing instead of actually increasing the salaries of individuals within the executive offices of the presidency, when they start sacrificing, we can talk about the real meaning of sacrificing the American people.
LAUER: A recent Gallup poll said only 20% of Americans think that spending cuts are the only thing that should be on the table when it talks about this. So they're talking about increasing revenues-
INGRAHAM: Okay, so they're-
LAUER: Wait, they're talking about raising taxes on the 1%, on corporations, even the corporate jets, which is only a few hundred million dollars.
INGRAHAM: We've got – Matt – right, that was a scam and that was a lie. The fact that the media allowed him to get away with that for five seconds was absurd. But let me just say this, these little nitty gritty things, the American people watching this today, they can't control. Right? We can't – what happens in Washington, Obama's going to come out and, you know, do his, you know, rhetoric and Boehner's going to do the same thing. In the end the two parties have different visions. Growing this economy is not – has not been done, Matt, stimulus bill or health care.
LAUER: And what I'm asking you is will this deal absolutely not – will there be no compromise on taxes on the Republican side, in your opinion?
INGRAHAM: Will there be compromise on the other side on the issue of freeing up business to create jobs? That's where we are. That's the divide.
LAUER: This is going to be – all of this will be remembered in 2012 in the campaign.
INGRAHAM: I hope so.
LAUER: Which side has the most to lose if this deal goes south?
INGRAHAM: Who has been the adult in the room? Obama comes out, 'We've got to eat our peas,' yesterday. Oh, excuse me, isn't it your budget that was voted down 97 to 0 by your own party? We know exactly what he wants to do with our economy. We saw it with health care. We saw it with stimulus.
LAUER: So you think Democrats will take the hit on this?
INGRAHAM: The Democrats are in big trouble.
LAUER: Let's talk – while we're on the subject of 2012, a recent Iowa poll has Michele Bachmann now pulling ahead of Mitt Romney by 4 percentage points. Is she the candidate to beat right now on the Republican side and, more importantly, why is she resonating with people?
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Race for the White House; Is Michele Bachmann the New GOP Frontrunner?]
INGRAHAM: I think she's resonating for a couple of reasons. First of all, she's a little different from the other candidates, right? She's been a Congresswoman but, you know, she's a mom, she talks about issues beyond the economy, she talks about the culture and not to segue to my book rudely but that's why I'm talking about other issues, too. I'm a mother, okay? All of this political stuff, it happens every four years. We vote for the presidency. Every couple years we go to the voting booth. We can really affect the culture that's going on around us, a lot more so than we can actually affect the debt ceiling debate in Washington or whether Bachmann's going to take out Pawlenty.
LAUER: You have serious concerns about the culture-
INGRAHAM: Yeah, I do.
LAUER: And you use humor in the book to kind of pinpoint some of these things.
INGRAHAM: It's a cultural takedown.
LAUER: Everything from murses to muffin tops. Am I the only-
INGRAHAM: I love your murse, I love your murse.
LAUER: I don't have a murse. Am I the only man in America or person in this room who didn't know what a muffin top was?
INGRAHAM: Well, yeah, apparently. All the people in the green room totally knew what it meant. Matt, it's a cultural intervention. In this summer, I think, as Tim Geithner said yesterday, it's going to be a long, painful time for America. Put that on bumper sticker. 'Long painful time.' We've got to laugh, you know. And I think when we look around us, as I was on the Acela train, may I tell you since you have three small children as I have, on the Acela train two weeks ago my daughter and I coming up to New York, a man was watching full-blown porn two rows up from us. We go to the snack car. My mom – my daughter says, 'Mommy, why are those people swimming with no clothes on that screen?' And I'm like, 'How did he go to a situation where that's acceptable?' Forget snakes on a plane, porn on a plane, if you have kids around you. It's – this is lunacy.
LAUER: You're not optimistic are you?
INGRAHAM: Well, I am optimistic because guess what? I'm in mom groups and I'm – mom stuff all the time. And women across political lines are saying, 'We've got to do better. We have to do better.' I know you have a
LAUER: Men, too, by the way. Men, too, yeah.
INGRAHAM: But, Matt, did you really Watch Rihanna and Brittney together on stage in that lip lock? Did you – Matt, this is an intervention with you – 11 times? Did you say that on the Today show on May 27th? The gentlemen here will remember. Did you?
LAUER: It was a joke.
INGRAHAM: Okay. It was a joke.
LAUER: Similar to what you write in your book, some of this is humor. Some of this-
INGRAHAM: Okay, Cee Lo Green – you know what Cee Lo Green's summer concert series, number one hit Cee Lo Green?
LAUER: Yeah, I know the song. 'Forget-'
INGRAHAM: Yeah. 'Blank you.' Oh, yeah.
LAUER: Is that the way you want to end this by saying 'blank you'?
INGRAHAM: No, I'm just – no, not you.
LAUER: Is that the way we're going to do this?
INGRAHAM: But no, like if I lit up a cigarette right now, there'd be – right? If I just lit up, what would happen if I did this?
LAUER: The alarms would go off and they would throw a bucket of water on you.
INGRAHAM: But this is – we've agreed that this is not good. We've agreed that on television probably not a good thing to show that to the kids. All I'm saying is – and love you guys – but all I'm saying is, we can bring it up. Like Tony Bennett, love it. Awesome. Come on, you have some great people booked. But come on, we can do better than Enrique Iglesias 'Tonight I'm' – not trucking you – 'Tonight I'm blanking you.'
LAUER: He's not going to say that on this show, I promise you.
INGRAHAM: August 19th. But that's – he would.
LAUER: Well, first of all, thank you for going to the website and checking out our summer concert series.
INGRAHAM: I did, I did.
LAUER: By the way, we've got a great app for your ipad also.
LAUER: You can check that out.
INGRAHAM: Well, I'm just upset I missed S&M. I missed something really – I'm sad I missed that.
LAUER: SNL or S&M?
INGRAHAM: Yeah, May 27th, I watched it. Anyway, we can do better.
LAUER: Well, good to have you here. The book is called 'Of thee I Zing.'
INGRAHAM: Excerpt on the website, right?
LAUER: On ours. Absolutely.