On Special Report, Fox News' Wendell Goler reported that President Bush is willing to "compromise" with the Democrats when their party assumes control of Congress. But Bush has taken several actions recently suggesting he has no intention of meeting Democrats halfway.
On the January 1 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Fox News White House correspondent Wendell Goler reported that President Bush is willing to "compromise" with the Democrats when their party assumes control of Congress, ignoring several recent actions and statements that suggest Bush has no intention of meeting Democrats halfway. For instance, as Media Matters for America noted, Bush opposes Democratic calls for a timeline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, and is, in fact, reportedly considering sending more troops to the region. Also, shortly after the Democrats' victory in the 2006 elections, Bush re-submitted six controversial judicial nominees, prompting incoming Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to state: "Barely a week after the President promised to change course by working in a bipartisan and cooperative way with Congress ... the President is choosing partisanship over progress and division over unity, at the expense of a fair and independent judiciary."
Similarly, during the January 1 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, CNN correspondent Kathleen Koch touted Bush's pledge for bipartisanship, asserting: "[O]f course, the president also does understand now that it is doubly important to reach out to members of Congress to get their thoughts on the strategy in Iraq and share his." But CNN itself has reported that Bush "rejects Democratic calls for a timeline to bring troops home," as Media Matters noted.
On Special Report, as an example of an area in which Bush "thinks he can compromise with Democrats," Goler stated that Bush could "ask the Democrats for the immigration reforms that Republicans rejected, perhaps in exchange for Social Security reforms most Democrats say are too much like privatization." In fact, Bush's stated immigration reform proposals closely resemble the Senate Judiciary Committee's bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, which the majority of Democrats embraced and House Republicans rejected. House Republicans had earlier passed a harsher, more punitive immigration reform.
While Bush reportedly supported the House's punitive immigration plan initially, in his May 15, 2006, nationally televised prime-time address, Bush endorsed the key principles of the Senate plan, which included border security, a "temporary worker program," and conditions in which illegal immigrants already settled in the United States could become legal residents and potentially even citizens.
Goler did not explain how it would be a "compromise" for Bush to go along with the immigration proposals that both he and the Democrats already supported -- in "exchange" for passing Bush's Social Security "reforms," which Democrats adamantly oppose.
From the January 1 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:
GOLER: Meanwhile, Mr. Bush will have to work with a Democratic Congress determined to use its power of oversight and to question his decisions. And analysts note Iraq isn't the only foreign policy problem.
KURT CAMPBELL (Center for Strategic & International Studies senior vice president): Iran: clearly emboldened and empowered and on the road to trying to create nuclear weapons -- very dangerous. A situation in Lebanon and between Israelis and Palestinians, all reaching the boiling point.
GOLER: Not to mention North Korea with a tested nuclear weapon.
Domestically, the president thinks he can compromise with Democrats on a hike in the minimum wage if they extend some of his tax cuts. As a lame duck, he can afford to ask the Democrats for the immigration reforms that Republicans rejected, perhaps in exchange for Social Security reforms most Democrats say are too much like privatization.
Now that the two parties are sharing power, the president says the key word is compromise.
BUSH: I don't expect Democratic leaders to compromise on their principles, and they don't expect me to compromise on mine, but the American people do expect us to compromise on legislation that will benefit the country.
From the 4 p.m. ET hour of the January 1 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
KOCH: Wolf, and Iraq will very much be the focus as the president returns to Washington today, to the White House, from his weeklong break at his ranch near Crawford, Texas, though it was certainly a working break. The president met, during the week, with his national security team, working on crafting what the White House is calling the "new way forward in Iraq," a new strategy -- U.S. strategy in Iraq -- and aides say that it is taking shape.
Now, as for the timing of that announcement, it is expected to happen some time after Congress reconvenes on January 4th, but before the president makes his State of the Union speech on January 23rd.
Senior administration officials say that President Bush -- who went to the Capitol Rotunda today upon returning to Washington and paid his respects to former President Gerald Ford -- wanted to first get through this very important and solemn period of national mourning. And, of course, the president also does understand now that it is doubly important to reach out to members of Congress to get their thoughts on the strategy in Iraq and share his. Certainly, this new political reality is setting in this week in Washington with Democrats taking control of Congress.
But it's even being reported in the papers -- several of the papers today -- even Republicans are increasingly wary about what is being discussed as one of the potential strategies for Iraq that President Bush is considering -- the potential for surging as many as 20,000 additional troops in the short term into Baghdad in particular.