The Campaign Desk of the Columbia Journalism Review thinks the New York Times didn’t do all its homework before writing about the Republicans pledge to cut the budget $100 billion this year.  After writing that it would be hard to do, the same reporter, Jackie Calmes, wrote the next day that the GOP is backing off.

Lori Montgomery at The Washington Post apparently didn’t get the memo, even if Congressman Paul Ryan, who made the pledge, did—and then reversed himself.

Ryan acknowledged that the move would save significantly less than the $100 billion Republicans promised during the election. At the time, he said, Republicans were measuring their plans against Obama’s budget request for fiscal year 2011. But Democrats failed to enact that request or adopt any other budget blueprint. Instead, the government is operating under a temporary resolution that continues funding at lower, fiscal year 2010 levels through March 4.

Adjusting their goals

As Republicans prepare a new spending plan for the rest of the fiscal year, independent budget analysts said they would have to trim about $85 billion to return to 2008 levels. But with nearly half the fiscal year already gone, Ryan said Republicans are further adjusting their goals and would probably cut about $60 billion from current programs.

"We’ve already achieved some of that [promised] savings by virtue of not" permitting Democrats to fund Obama’s budget request, Ryan said. And he vowed that House Republicans will far exceed their $100 billion goal when they put together their own budget blueprint for the fiscal year that begins in October. That plan will seek not just to shrink government to its size in 2008, before Obama took power and authorized new spending on the economy, Ryan said: It will seek to put the budget on a path to balance.

"We will be cutting $100 billion plus over this calendar year," Ryan said. "If you think we’re stopping shy of $100 billion in cuts, you got another thing coming. We’re going to go way beyond $100 billion."

So have the Republicans lowered their goal or not?