CNN's John Roberts To Rudy Giuliani "Who Got Us Into A War We Didn't Need To Get Into?"
September 10, 2009 CNN
ROBERTS: In his make or break speech to Congress and the nation, President Obama walked a fine line trying to reach out to Republicans but saying he had no time for those out to score short-term political points. And the GOP response, Republican congressman Charles Boustany said what Americans really want is for Congress to start over from scratch.
So, can the two parties ever see eye to eye? Let's bring in former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who has got some thoughts on this. Mr. Mayor, it's great to see you.
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Good to see you, John.
ROBERTS: So back in August, you did an interview with Sean Hannity on the Fox Network in which you said, "I hope there is no hope for the health care plan this year." After watching the president last night, do you still feel that way?
GIULIANI: If he changes it significantly, if he can really do medical malpractice reform - of course, what he did was he said there would be a study of medical malpractice reform.
ROBERTS: He said as the Bush administration wanted to do, there would be some experimentation on local levels to see if it could be done.
GIULIANI: But there already have been. Texas has changed its whole system. There are now 20 percent more doctors in Texas. Other states have done it. There are about 10, 15 states that have done medical malpractice reform. If he really was serious about it, he would just do it the way he's talking about this public option or non-public option.
ROBERTS: He did have a very powerful lobby in the trial lawyers association breathing down his neck.
GIULIANI: He does.
ROBERTS: But I mean, is it not a start that should be embraced?
GIULIANI: Of course, but he should actually do it and he should take on the lobby rather than be afraid of it and he also should explain to us how much it is going to cost. Again, he's saying it's not going to cost any money, it's going to be deficit neutral. I always scale back -
ROBERTS: He said the total price would be $900 billion and it would not add a penny to the deficit. You don't believe him?
GIULIANI: Well, how do you do that? Are you going to reduce cost by 900? Who are you going to take it from? The only deficit neutral, which I know there was a little of political jingo, you know, talk in there and little jingle and stuff like that. But the reality is if you get to cover 30 more million people, which is down from 46 million. I don't know what happened to the other 16 million but...
ROBERTS: Many of them are illegal aliens.
GIULIANI: Eight or nine million.
ROBERTS: Well, they've...
GIULIANI: That's a big difference.
ROBERTS: You got to pick a number, Mr. Mayor.
GIULIANI: It still cost money to cover 30 million. Who does it come from? Thirty million people. You're going to cover 30 million people. And you got to take coverage away from somebody. So who are you going to take coverage away from?
ROBERTS: You don't believe that there are inefficiencies in the system that if addressed correctly could add up to that amount of savings? So I think $600 million is what the president is looking at. And there would most likely be some sort of tax increase.
GIULIANI: First of all, no one has ever reduced the cost of medical spending ever. It's always two to three times more than predicted. Secondly, the president hasn't put a single specific on the table. It's a long road to saving $600 million, $700 million. When you give a speech like that and you don't give a single specific about what you would save money on. A lot of other specifics, nothing about how you're going to save money. So excuse me if I don't say that he has been very unspecific about how he's going to save money.
ROBERTS: What about this idea of a public option? The president says it's a good tool last night. He thinks that it would be a valuable thing to have in the health care arsenal in terms of helping to insure people who don't have insurance right now. But also left the door open that, OK, maybe we don't do a public option, saying that there are other ways to do it, that we need to consider that as well. If he were to drop the idea of a public option, do you think he could get more of your colleagues on board?
GIULIANI: Well, he would also have to drop the government having a big role in whatever this other thing is that he's going to do, which he said he wouldn't do. He said whatever option he comes up with the government will have a role in it. The government has to have a role in it. That's really the crux of the problem. The government has too big of a role in health care right now. The reform that is necessary that would really help would be to take the government out and to increase private insurance by having interstate purchase of insurance which he didn't mention at all by really doing TORT reform, by creating a tax break rather than a tax increase.
ROBERTS: But if the government is only creating this exchange where you bring together a group of health insurance providers where people can go in and shop is that a bad thing?
GIULIANI: Again, John, very unspecific. The president throws out this idea, he says I might back away from the public option. He didn't go quite that far. But I assumed that's what he means. But the government is still going to be involved. Before I can tell you whether I'm going to agree, you have to tell me how is the government going to be involved? And you also have to explain to me how you're going to save $600 million, $700 million whatever that number actually is. Because I haven't seen a single example. This man has already added more to the national debt than any president in history. So, I mean -
ROBERTS: You're going to get a lot of argument from people who will say that's what he was left and had to cover from the previous administration.
GIULIANI: Well, I never quite got that excuse when I took over as mayor. It lasted about a week. I mean, the reality is we are well into his presidency now. Whatever he was left with, what he has done is not cut expenses. He hasn't cut anything. What he has done is increase the national debt so it's now $9 trillion. This will add another trillion dollars to it. So tell me, how you're going to save money.
ROBERTS: You're going to get a huge argument on the debt thing. A lot of people are going to say that that's the Bush administration doing, not the Obama administration but let's move on.
GIULIANI: But who passed the $700 million second stimulus package.
ROBERTS: And people will say who got us into a war that we didn't need to go into.
GIULIANI: But the reality is...
ROBERTS: We can go back and forth on this all day.
GIULIANI: Since President Bush left office, the debt has increased to $9 trillion. It has increased under him more than any president in the history, every president takes over.
ROBERTS: And where did it go during the Bush administration?
GIULIANI: It went up but not nearly as much that. This is historic increase in debt.
ROBERTS: At any rate, let me come to a point that I want to make because there is a political component here. Many analysis has been done on this that if there's not a health care bill passed next year in the mid term elections, the democrats could lose somewhere between 20 and 40 seats. So it would seem to me that it would be good politics for Republicans to just oppose anything that's out there and go into 2010 with ahead of the steam to say that the Democrats had the House, they had the Senate and they had the presidency and they couldn't get anything done.
GIULIANI: He doesn't need Republicans to pass it. I mean, the reality is his problem with Democrats. He can't get Democrats to agree because he wants to spend way too much money because he's not being specific on how much he's going to save. Because there's a public option and there's not a public option. We're covering 46 million now covering 30 million. The lack of specificity and this is hurting him was his own party.
Republicans don't make a difference to this debate. The opposition here has been among democrats. He has enough votes to pass this. Republicans have very, very strong ideas about increasing private options, about doing TORT reform. He hasn't brought Republicans into this at all. He even asked for a meeting but he never had a meeting. So Republicans have no part in this.
ROBERTS: We got to go. We're out of time. But just before we go, so are you or are you not going to run for governor?
GIULIANI: Oh, we'll see.
ROBERTS: Come on. Don't tell me we'll see.
GIULIANI: We'll see.
ROBERTS: You're out there like you're campaigning.
GIULIANI: No, I'm not.
ROBERTS: You're saying all the things you would say in a campaign.
GIULIANI: We'll worry about that after this next election.
ROBERTS: Mr. Mayor, always good to kick things around with you. Appreciate it.