CBS’s Erica Hill channeled the overblown worries of liberals about influence of the Tea Party on Thursday’s Early Show, asking Newt Gingrich, “The Tea Party has really made some big inroadsBut there’s a feeling by some folks that this very small group of people is starting to control the conversation. Do there need to be more voices at the table, in general, at this point?

Hill brought on Gingrich to discuss his new Contract With America package, due to be released later in the day. Just as in The Early Show’s interview of Herman Cain the previous morning, the anchor flattered her guest by congratulating him for his good showing in a recent poll, but wasted little time before launching a critique of one known part of his proposal, thinly veiled in conservative language:

HILL: …Among the tidbits that we have, that have come out this morning, you’re looking to give Americans, in many ways, more choice. One of those proposals: you could stick with the existing tax code, or have the option of using a flat tax rate. You could stick with the existing Social Security plan, or maybe look at putting your money in a private personal account. You look at that- and choices are great- but, in many ways, especially when it comes to taxes, it feels like that could add a layer, it could add a complexity, and it doesn’t feel like it’s reducing the size of government.

Later in the interview, Hill set her sights on the Tea Party, as Gingrich had received the endorsement of one of the groups inside the movement. Her question, of course, hinted that the Republican Party should turn more towards the center and/or the left:

HILL: …[Y]ou recently had an endorsement from the head of the Tea Party. The Tea Party has really made some big inroads and has garnered a huge voice in this country. But, at the same time, there’s a feeling by some folks that this very small group of people is starting to control the conversation. Do there need to be more voices at the table, in general, at this point?

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