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Analyzing Conflicting Accounts of Last Summer's Debt Ceiling Debate

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I'll take you back to Monday of this week.  Remember that front-page story in the Washington Post about the debt deal last summer, this interminably long piece by Peter Wallsten and a couple of other people?  We spent a good part of the program trying to figure out: Why now? Because that piece (nine pages if you print it out, front page Washington Post, top of the fold) let it be known that Obama lied to the people of this country in a nationally televised address.  The lie was that the Republicans did not budge.  They were interested only in expanding the debt ceiling by virtue of budget cuts, that they would not agree to tax increases.

When, in fact, fBoehner and Cantor had agreed to tax increases, $808 billion of them.  And when they did that, Obama immediately shut down negotiations, because that was what he wanted.  They gave him everything he wanted.  Why he couldn’t have that.  He didn't want a deal where the Republicans were compromising a way that helped the deal get done because he wanted to run against a do-nothing Congress.  So when they agreed to $800 billion in tax increases, panic set in. They shut it down, called the media in for a nationally televised address and just out-and-out lie.

And this story said so.  And the story also said that as a negotiator, Obama was the only things:  Arrogant but incompetent.  It also pointed out that Harry Reid and Pelosi were mere useful idiots in all of this, that it was Obama's show. They had nothing to do with it, but they were set up to take a lot of the heat politically.  Those were the three primary things came out.  I said, "What is going on here?"  Washington Post.  You remember if you were here Monday, we agonized -- humorously and with good cheer -- for two hours.

And we finally came to conclusion that the best guess was that this story resulted from angry Democrats in the House and the Senate because Obama, when he runs against a "do-nothing Congress," he's running against Democrats in Congress, too.  And Obama had told Reid and Pelosi:  I'm not campaigning for you, and I'm not giving you any of my war chest for your campaign efforts. So the Democrat Congressional and Senatorial Campaign Committees were told: I'll give you one fundraiser stop each, but I'm not gonna give you any money.  So therefore this story hits.  And that's the best guess we came up with. Now I've gotta add something else to the mix.  It's David Corn's book, which tells an entirely different story. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Again to explain, the reason I'm spending time on this is because Obama's in trouble and forces are at work obviously to help him overcome the problems that he has towards his reelection. And in the process, they're gonna have to massage and spin and lie a little bit.  And he's not universally loved in the Democrat Party.  When it comes to Obama versus our nominee, there will be unanimity there. But within the Democrat Party universe itself, when the president, who had put out that he's gonna raise a billion dollars, tells the House and Senate Democrats: You're on your own. I'm not giving you any of my war chest, and furthermore I'll only do one campaign appearance for you.

Well, whether or not that's helpful or not, that's an arrogance that's not appreciated.  Thus the story in the Sunday Washington Post.  Now, I also mentioned on Monday while trying to figure out why -- 'cause we don't see these kinds of stories in Obama-supported media; that's what's so striking about this -- that one of the possibilities that we alleged existed of this book by David Corn coming out.  Bob Woodward's doing a book on this, by the way, this whole debt deal negotiation last summer.  The New York Times magazine has a story coming out on this.  So the Washington Post jumps the gun and beats everybody with their version on Sunday. 

Corn's book will be released this week. By the way, a little humorous factor.  Corn had some kind of a (it's being reported, anyway) temper tantrum at a Barnes & Noble store in Union Station in Washington DC the other day because his book wasn't prominently displayed enough.  He walked in there, I guess he was gonna do a signing, and they didn't have big David Corn pictures and posters up with big displays of the book, and apparently it's reported he threw a fit.  And the manager of the Barnes & Noble said, "It's not us. We just do what the boss -- the management people -- tell us to do."  And Corn, it's reported, was overheard yelling.

Corn was overheard yelling at the manager that every paper in America was gonna be talking about his book that day and nobody could find it. He was all ticked off.  But, see, everybody in America wasn't gonna be talking about his book, but Corn thinks so.  In Corn's universe of Washington and New York, that's America, and he thought everybody was gonna be talking about his book.  You wouldn't even know about his book were it not for I, El Rushbo, telling you about it. But he lives in this world (and they all do) where everybody knows who they are and what they're doing and what they think.  So he goes into the Barnes & Noble, and there's no display, there's no big deal, and he freaks.

He starts ragging on the manager.  The manager says, "Well, we're just executing the orders that came from on high."  The manager explained that corporate tells him what books get displayed and the order didn't call for Corn's book.  So Corn then started yelling at 'em that the bookstore wasn't well run and stormed out in a huff.  But what does his book say?  Well, if I don't tell you this, you won't know 'cause I guarantee you're not gonna happen go buy it.  You'll go buy Ted Bell's book, Phantom.  Ted Bell.  Alex Hawke is his character. It's a great, great book.  I, of course -- as a powerful, influential member of the media -- have had my advance copy for weeks. 

The e-version came out. Yeah, I think the hardcover copy is out as well. Phantom by Ted Bell.  That's what you'll read, not Corn's book.  You don't have to read Corn's book.  I'll tell you what's important about it here.  It's an entirely different version of events than the Washington Post story.  Remember, now, just to review. The Washington Post reported that Boehner gave Obama what he wanted: $800 billion in tax increases.  Obama cancels the negotiations, says he can't work with the Republicans, calls a national address to the country and lies about the Republicans being unwilling to compromise or help. 

The Washington Post story says that Obama is arrogant and incompetent in his negotiations, and that Harry Reid and Pelosi are basically useful idiots (or were useful idiots) in this process.  This morning on Morning Joe, MSNBC, David Corn was the guest, and the cohost was Willie Geist. And he said to Corn, "You got great color in here, some behind the scenes about the grand bargain." That's what the debt deal was called.  "How close were the president and John Boehner to striking the deal and at what point did the third wheel on the date come in: The Tea Party, Eric Cantor?"

CORN:  I think the president and Boehner were quite close and were -- were -- were quite sincere, and everyone in the White House really thought that Boehner was trying.  He was talking about this deal and the trigger. What would happen if the House Republicans didn't raise revenues on their own would be that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy would expire, and that would give you $800 billion over ten years that they were trying to get into the grand bargain.  So, as he was negotiating that deal, House moderate Republicans -- some old friends of yours -- went to Boehner's office, sat down with him, and said, "Listen, you've gotta get out of this now.  Eric Cantor is going around the caucus and saying that you're going RINO."  What is RINO?  Republican-In-Name-Only.  The worst thing you can say!  He couldn't cut the deal 'cause he couldn't sell it to his own caucus.

RUSH:  All right.  Now, Corn's version is the one the White House wrote for him... Uh, dictated to him.  I think Corn wrote the book.  I'm not saying he didn't write the book.  But his version is the White House version.  Now, we're talking about two media outlets that are totally far left here: Washington Post, David Corn.  No conservative media involved here.  David Corn says (paraphrased): "Oh, yeah, Boehner and the president were very, very close.  But the Tea Party came in, and they ended up telling Boehner he's acting like a RINO and forced Boehner to pull out." The Washington Post doesn't say anything like this. 

The Washington Post mentions the Tea Party, but the Washington Post story is that Boehner wasn't just quite close. He gave Obama what he wanted.  So now we have two stories, two versions of the same story that are at big variance with one another.  Now, we don't pretend to know what it all means yet, but one thing that's happening is, there's discord on the left over this whole lot, and for some reason a lot of people think that what happened in that debt deal last summer could come back to really bite Obama on his reelection.  That has us scratching our heads, too.  But you gotta throw the Paul Ryan budget in the mix. 

Dana Milbank in the Washington Post is out today with his review of the Ryan budget, and as predictable as the sun coming up, Milbank and the Washington Post compare Ryan's budgeting to a Dickens novel where the poor get everything they have taken away from them. Ryan's gonna starve the poor, take away all their programs, take away all their money. That's how Ryan's budget's being reported.  There's a lot going on with this, and it's all about Obama's reelection.  And they're trying to cover up what is apparent to all, and that's his incompetence.  And apparently... Which version do you think is right, Washington Post or Corn here?

'Cause the differences are stark, and the Washington Post makes clear that Obama went out and lied to the nation.  There's another sound bite on this.  CBS This Morning, Senator Dick Durbin, he of the fame that attached to him on the Senate floor by comparing our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and Guantanamo Bay to being just like the troops in the Soviet gulag or Pol Pot's killers.  Yeah, that's the guy, Dick Durbin, who compared our troops to Nazi thugs.  He weighed in on this with Charlie Rose on CBS, who said to him, "The president was late in coming to the support of Bowles-Simpson." That's the deficit reduction committee that Obama ignored.  "He hasn't completely supported every aspect of it, Dick."

DURBIN: (defensively) Let's make it clear here.  When you have the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell saying his sole goal is to make sure that Obama's a one-term president, it's no wonder that President Obama did not want it to be known as the Bowles-Simpson-Obama plan.  It would have been dead on arrival.  What he has done is support a negotiation with Speaker Boehner to bring the deficit down.  Three times now Speaker Boehner and Congressman Cantor, his leader, have walked out of those negotiations.  The president has made a good-faith effort to deal with this deficit.

RUSH:  Now, when's the Washington Post gonna write their follow-up after this?  'Cause now you've got Durbin, and now you've got Corn, basically saying that... They're not saying it by name. They're not even talking about the Washington Post, but for people have read that piece (or heard about it like you), you have Dick Durbin and David Corn are basically challenging everything in that Washington Post story, or most of it.  So we have Corn and Durbin saying that Boehner and Cantor walked out.  The Washington Post says Obama walked out, and then goes to the cameras for a nationally televised address and lies to the nation. 

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