From Fox News Sunday, Arlen Specter criticized the Republicans for planning to ‘break the President’ as soon as he was sworn in to defeat him in 2012 and Jim DeMint claims that wasn’t their intent. I’d like to know how they knew he was going to ‘take over’ the economy and add more debt the day he got elected. DeMint responded to TPM and his defense was basically to call Arlen Specter names and say he can’t be trusted since he switched parties.
Trancript via Lexis Nexis.
WALLACE: Senator DeMint, you have raised questions about whether or not either of these bills are constitutional. Do you plan to file a lawsuit if something is passed to block the enactment of health care reform? DEMINT: Chris, this fight is not over right now, and the only thing worse than the policy itself has been the process that the Democrats have followed to get this passed.
We all heard last week about vote buying and different things going on in secret. So there are a lot of problems with this bill. Whether -- who files a suit or what happens if they pass it is one thing.
But my hope now is as we reveal to the American people what's actually in this bill, what it will cost them, what it will do to our Medicare and health care system, that we'll get a few Democrats to stand up in the House that maybe didn't before and help us stop this thing.
It is really bad, and it -- and it is not the answer. It doesn't meet the goals of the president. We need every American to have a health insurance plan they can afford and own and keep. This bill doesn't accomplish that.
WALLACE: Senator Specter, as our legal expert here -- not to diminish in any case any of the other senators that are appearing -- are there constitutional issues here? And let me ask you specifically about one. How can the government mandate that every individual has to buy health insurance?
SPECTER: I do not think there are serious constitutional issues. The mandate provision is very similar to what was done in Massachusetts when they had mandatory reform.
I'd like to pick up on what Senator DeMint says about the process. I think the process was very bad, but the process is really caused in large measure by the refusal of the Republicans to deal in any way.
Senator DeMint is the author of the famous statement that this is going to be President Obama's Waterloo, that this ought to be used to break the president, so that before the ink was dry on the oath of office -- and I know this because I was in the caucus -- the Republicans were already plotting ways to beat President Obama in 2012.
Now, effective government in a democracy relies upon some bipartisanship, but there simply isn't any. And the process which was used was not good. The lead story today in the Washington Post is that after you reform health care, you ought to reform the Senate. And I would start with the process.
And if some of the Republicans would come forward with suggestions, offer a vote or two, or three or four, to take away the need to have every last one of the 60 Democrats, you'd have a much better bill in accordance with the tradition of the Congress, especially the Senate, on bipartisanship.
WALLACE: Well, let me bring in Senator DeMint as a matter of personal privilege. You get 30 seconds to respond, sir.
DEMINT: Well, thank -- thank you, Chris. I never wanted to break the president. We just wanted to break his momentum as he took over more and more of our economy and created more and more of our debt.
The reason the Republicans didn't have any ideas in the bill is that the Democrats didn't allow it, Chris. There was nothing that they would consider other than a government takeover of health care. Whatever words were used, that was their intent.
The Republicans have a number of bills, Chris, that would allow insurance to be more available and affordable to every American, but that was not the goal of the Democrats here. They want the government to run it. They want 80 or 90 percent of Americans on government health care. That's not a good thing for our country.
WALLACE: Let me -- let me -- let me...
SPECTER: Twenty -- twenty -- twenty -- 20 seconds...
SPECTER: ... 20 seconds in reply?
WALLACE: No, no.
SPECTER: Twenty seconds in reply?
WALLACE: Senator Specter, no, because, in fairness, I've got to bring in your two other colleagues, and I know you wouldn't want to take time from them.