A December 19 report on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight featured the graphic "Do-Nothing Dems?" But, as the report noted, Democrats will not actually assume control of Congress for a little over two weeks.
In the report, CNN correspondent Lisa Sylvester asserted that, despite Democratic campaign pledges to "implement all of the 9-11 Commission recommendations," Democrats are "now conceding that's harder than they thought." But rather than showing a clip of a Democrat presumably affirming Sylvester's lead-in, CNN cut to Rep. Tom Price (R-GA).
From the December 19 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:
KITTY PILGRIM (guest host): In just over two weeks, Congress returns to Washington with Democrats in charge, and they'll have to deliver on promises they made that helped them become the majority. Lisa Sylvester matches the campaign pledges with political reality.
SYLVESTER: Democrats are determined to be the do-something Congress. They rode in on Capitol Hill on a reform agenda. First on their to-do list, tackle the low-hanging fruit. The less controversial stuff, raising the minimum wage and giving college students a tax break.
BILL PRESS (radio talk-show host): They'll try to do a few things that are very popular that are doable. And then they can say, "Look, we've got success." So they may not achieve everything, but I think they'll -- their goal is just to achieve enough to show, we know what we're doing.
SYLVESTER: But it's questionable if the more difficult promises will be kept. Take Iraq: Democrats on the campaign trail pledged to begin bringing back U.S. troops from Iraq in phases next year. That may hit a brick wall with the political reality.
MICHAEL FRANC (Heritage Foundation vice president for government relations): Suddenly, campaign rhetoric may sound a little bit hollow when it comes to actually coming up with on-the-ground, realistic, viable solutions to the situation for the next six months, the next year, and thereafter.
SYLVESTER: Democrats also vowed to implement all of the 9-11 Commission recommendations. They're now conceding that's harder than they thought.
PRICE: In terms of terrorists, tracking, financing of terrorists, tracking that money, in terms of setting up appropriate committees for homeland security, all those kinds of things ought to be enacted. And, in fact, now they're saying that's not what they plan on doing.
SYLVESTER: House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi [D-CA] promised to drain the swamp of corruption in Washington to curb lobbyists' influence on Capitol Hill. Lobbyists are already lobbying against any changes. And campaign contributions have a way of winning friends, Republicans and Democrats alike.
FRANC: The question is whether the new boss is going to be like the old boss or whether they will adhere and actually behave at a higher standard of ethical behavior.
SYLVESTER: The minority is now the majority, and sometimes the view may change once you're on top.
One other campaign promise that Democrats may back away from is pay as you go. This is a pledge that Congress will not have any new spending unless it's offset by cuts elsewhere or tax increases. That might run against other Democratic campaign pledges, including a promise to expand Medicare prescription drug coverage. Kitty.
PILGRIM: It will be interesting to see how that plays out. Thanks very much, Lisa Sylvester.