Blitzer did not ask Fiorina why other McCain economic adviser disputes her balanced-budget projectionsJune 12, 2008 5:42 PM EDT ››› LAUREN AUERBACH
On the June 10 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer did not challenge McCain senior adviser Carly Fiorina's assertion that Sen. John McCain "will balance his budget by the end of 2013" by pointing out that McCain economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin reportedly has "said McCain believes he can balance the budget in eight years." Nor did Blitzer point out that according to The New York Times, McCain said during an April 15 press conference in Villanova, Pennsylvania, that " 'economic conditions are reversed' and that he would have a balanced budget within eight years."
The Associated Press reported on February 16 that at a town hall meeting in Wisconsin, "McCain said he would propose a balanced budget in his first term if he is elected president -- but not necessarily in his first year." However, in an April 15 Reuters article, reporter Steve Holland wrote that Holtz-Eakin "said McCain believes he can balance the budget in eight years." Similarly, The New York Times reported:
Mr. McCain -- who said in February in Wisconsin that he would balance the budget by the end of his first term as president -- seemed to reconsider that on Tuesday, saying at a news conference later in Villanova that "economic conditions are reversed" and that he would have a balanced budget within eight years.
Moreover, after Fiorina said that "I can't make [Sen.] Barack Obama's numbers add up," Blitzer did not mention that prior reports on McCain's economic plan have noted that economists and nonpartisan analysts say that McCain's proposals will require massive spending cuts or will increase the deficit. On April 18 Bloomberg News reported that McCain's "plan to cut taxes and balance the budget wins praise from fellow Republicans," but that "[e]conomists and nonpartisan analysts say his numbers don't add up." The article further reported that "McCain's spending cuts, combined with increased revenue from economic growth, total $1.5 trillion over eight years, leaving a $1.8 trillion net increase to the national debt." The article quoted Joel Slemrod, "an economist specializing in tax policy at the University of Michigan," as saying, "This is really a massive increase in the deficit." Bloomberg also quoted Concord Coalition executive director Robert Bixby's assertion that "the huge imbalance" in McCain's plan "is that the tax cuts are specific and large and the spending cuts are small and vague," and later reported: "Ultimately, said Stan Collender, a former analyst for the House and Senate budget committees, it would take substantial cuts to Medicare and Social Security to balance the budget with the tax cuts McCain is proposing. Even then, 'there's no way McCain could balance it by the time he leaves, unless he doesn't leave for 25 years,' Collender said."
Similarly, according to an analysis by FactCheck.org, "McCain's pronouncements on cutting spending, and even on the growth in the size of the federal government, are dubious at best." FactCheck.org further wrote:
McCain's big promise is that he can balance the budget while extending Bush's tax cuts and adding a few of his own. He likes to leave the impression that this can be done painlessly, for example, by eliminating "wasteful" spending in the form of "earmarks" that lawmakers like to tuck into spending bills to finance home-state projects. We found that not only is this theory full of holes, it's not even McCain's actual plan.
From the June 10 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
BLITZER: I'll play this clip and then we'll discuss this. Listen to this.
OBAMA [video clip]: At a time when we're fighting two wars, when millions of Americans can't afford their medical bills or their tuition bills, when we're paying more than $4 a gallon for gas, the man who rails against government spending wants to spend $1.2 billion on a tax break for Exxon Mobil.
BLITZER: All right. Now, we were just discussing that. But the $1.2 billion tax break that he says Exxon Mobil would win as a result of reducing the corporate tax rate structure across the board, is that an accurate number?
FIORINA: No. I don't know where he gets those numbers, but -- it was $300 billion; it was $1.2 billion. By the way, he said yesterday that he could pay for all his programs, and then less than 24 hours later he said if his tax increases would hurt the economy, he would consider postponing them, because they clearly would hurt the economy.
I can't make Barack Obama's numbers add up. But I will tell you this, having studied John McCain's numbers for quite a few weeks now: He will balance his budget by the end of 2013. And he is proposing a set of tax measures that will help small businesses grow, which is vitally important, because small businesses create most of the jobs in this country.
BLITZER: He alluded -- he made reference to the cost of the war in Iraq right now. Here's how he phrased it in another part of this presentation. I'll play this clip.