CNN’s Jim Acosta Tells Jay Carney: Seems Like White House ‘Trying to Taunt’ GOP Into Shutdown

October 1st, 2013 2:23 PM

During his Monday briefing with reporters in the White House, press secretary Jay Carney was asked several times how president Barack Obama would respond to a partial government shutdown. The most interesting query came from Cable News Network's senior White House correspondent Jim Costa, who asked if the Democrats have been using heightened rhetoric to attack Republicans and “trying to taunt” the GOP into doing a shutdown.

“In the last couple of weeks, Democrats including the president have -- and he has not used all these words but I’ll throw out some of them -- have referred to Republicans as arsonists, anarchists, extortionists, blackmailers, hostage takers,” Acosta noted. Even Dan Pfeiffer, assistant to the president and senior advisor to the president for strategy and communications, “talked about bombs being strapped to chests.”

Regarding the possibility of pushing Republicans into closing down the federal government, Carney replied: “Well, that's certainly not the case.”

The press secretary tried to deflect criticism of Democrats slamming the GOP by noting that he had seen Pfeiffer on CNN stating:

I think it was [GOP senator] Mitch McConnell in the iterations of these negotiations, similar to one years ago, who referred to the economy being a hostage that they could take in negotiations with the president.

“I don’t think this is language that neither side has exclusive rights to or has used in the past,” Carney added.

“But here are the facts,” he claimed:

When it comes to funding the government or when it comes to paying our debts, the Democrats and the president on the one hand are asking for nothing, no concessions, no ideological riders, no special pet projects, no political 'gotcha' items in exchange for the simple extension of government funding, in exchange for Congress ensuring that we do not default.

“Republicans, on the other hand,” Carney asserted, “are attaching in the concrete bills that they pass and in their imaginations anyway, when they talk about what they'd like to attach all sorts of political agenda items, some of them wildly inconsistent with where the American people want the country to move.”

That includes issues that are wholly unrelated to the budget and wholly unrelated to the debt and the deficits that we must manage.

Of course, that description of the people in both political parties is nothing short of ludicrous.

One example of the Democrats' quest for liberal legislation occurred on March 29, when Soledad O'Brien, who was then host of CNN's Starting Point program, agreed with a news conference conducted by president the previous day in which he accused the GOP of holding up anti-gun measures in Congress.

However, Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin countered the accusation by stating:

The actual problem for the president is the Democrats in the Senate who want no part of his most extreme measures. The worst-kept secret in D.C. is that Republicans would love to see votes on all these items and watch Democrats squirm. It is Reid who is trying his best to shield his members from hard votes and/or prevent a humiliating loss for the gun-control crowd.

During the past few months, NewsBusters has taken the lead in chronicling liberals' use of the “heightened rhetoric” Democrats have used in an effort to hammer GOP officials.

As part of a story on Sept. 29 about CNN “paddling Republicans who voted to defend ObamaCare,” Matt Hadro quoted House minority leader Nancy Pelosi after the California Democrat claimed the GOP's efforts were “totally irresponsible, completely juvenile, and, as I've called it, legislation arson.”

Two days earlier, ABC reporters called Sen. Ted Cruz's filibuster “bizarre,” with World News's Jon Karl quoting “an unnamed top aide of the president” stating that “what we're not for is negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest."

Karl also hammered the Republicans by stating:

Instead of negotiating, they are name calling. … Senator Ted Cruz compared those willing to fund ObamaCare with those who appeased the Nazis in the 1940s. And that's where we are.

On Sept. 24, conservative columnist Cal Thomas stated that Obama “recently accused House Republicans of being extortionists for opposing a raise in the debt ceiling and wanting to defund ObamaCare.”

Republicans should fling the extortion label back at the president, who wants to raise the debt ceiling, threatening to curtail many government operations if the GOP doesn't surrender.

In addition, Senate majority leader Harry Reid vowed on Sept. 23 that ObamaCare would not be defunded. The Nevada Democrat declared:

We're not going to bow to Tea Party anarchists who deny the mere fact that ObamaCare is the law. We will not bow to Tea Party anarchists who refuse to accept that the Supreme Court ruled that ObamaCare is constitutional.

It's easy to tell when Democrats are struggling in a battle over liberal proposals: They revert to the very things they accuse Republicans of doing, using harsh rhetoric against their opponents.