Eric Cantor Says He Was "Taken Aback" By The "Partisan Nature" Of Obama's Speech

Eric Cantor clutches his pearls and repeats the Republican's latest talking point du jour; the President's speech was too partisan. That's rich coming
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Eric Cantor clutches his pearls and repeats the Republican's latest talking point du jour; the President's speech was too partisan. That's rich coming from Mr. Party of "No" Eric Cantor. These statements didn't sound too partisan to me.

OBAMA: Well the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action. Now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together, and show the American people that we can still do what we were sent here to do. Now is the time to deliver on health care.

[.....]

OBAMA: Finally, many in this chamber – particularly on the Republican side of the aisle – have long insisted that reforming our medical malpractice laws can help bring down the cost of health care. I don't believe malpractice reform is a silver bullet, but I have talked to enough doctors to know that defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs. So I am proposing that we move forward on a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first and let doctors focus on practicing medicine. I know that the Bush Administration considered authorizing demonstration projects in individual states to test these issues. It’s a good idea, and I am directing my Secretary of Health and Human Services to move forward on this initiative today.

[.....]

OBAMA: But those of us who knew Teddy and worked with him here – people of both parties – know that what drove him was something more. His friend, Orrin Hatch, knows that. They worked together to provide children with health insurance. His friend John McCain knows that. They worked together on a Patient’s Bill of Rights. His friend Chuck Grassley knows that. They worked together to provide health care to children with disabilities.

Newshounds has more on the segment- Hannity And Cantor Complain About Partisanship In Obama’s Health Care Speech, Ignore GOP Heckling And Disrespect:

Sean Hannity and Republican Congressman Eric Cantor last night (9/9/09) blithely accused President Obama of being too partisan in his health care speech to the Joint Session of Congress while they just as blithely ignored the heckling and disrespect from Republicans that included booing, holding up antagonistic signs, using Blackberries during the speech and, in one case, shouting out that the president is a liar. With video.

Hannity opened his post-speech show last night with a commentary that accused Obama of delivering “an attack speech that could have been written by James Carville.” He forgot to mention that the Republicans’ reaction would have been scripted by middle schoolers.

Hannity went on to complain about Obama’s “cynicism and intimidation… Everyone disagrees with him is either a liar or a thug.”

Yet Hannity made no mention of Republican Congressman Joe Wilson yelling, “You lie!” during the speech.

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Transcript below the fold.

HANNITY: And joining me tonight to discuss the president's address is somebody who was there to hear him deliver it live, House minority whip Virginia congressman Eric Cantor. Congressman, good to see you. Thank you for being with us.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MINORITY WHIP: Sean, good evening.

HANNITY: Well, according to the president, only he has the facts. He said, quote, "nobody disputes them," so there's no dispute on the issue of abortion funding, there's no dispute on funding illegal immigrants, no dispute of whether he was supporting all summer Medicare cuts, no dispute on end-of-life counseling or how we're going to pay for this, no disputes at all?

CANTOR: Well, listen, I mean, obviously, this was, for an Obama speech, something that I was taken aback by in the partisan nature of the speech. I mean, listen, we all know that the status quo is unacceptable, and the president says the status quo is unacceptable. But when he goes and starts pointing fingers and casting blame, I think it's just a smokescreen, Sean. Listen, it's not just special interests or Republicans that stand in his way. The Democrats are firmly in control of both bodies in Congress. He's the president. They've just been unable to lead in terms of the type of reform that the American people want to see.

HANNITY: All right, now, one charge -- before we get back to health care, he says he's pulled the economy back from the brink. Now, he said if we passed the stimulus, unemployment wouldn't go above 8 percent. It's now 9.7 percent. He's quadrupled the deficit in one year, quadrupled the debt. We've got foreclosures now on the rise. And we also have the Senate having to raise the debt ceiling above $12 trillion. Is the economy back from the brink and I just didn't see it?

CANTOR: Absolutely not! And I think you will see in the chamber there, there was broad disagreement on that notion that somehow the economy is back from a collapse. We have so much work to do. People are so worried about their job. Unemployment is at historic levels, and frankly, intolerable, given what this Congress and the president has gone about doing. And you're right, we have piled more debt on our children in the last eight months than we -- this country has in the last 200 years. It is unsustainable, and frankly, it's false to say the economy is back.

HANNITY: All right, at one point in the president's speech tonight, Congressman, he says, "Instead of honest debate, we've seen scare tactics." And then later in the speech, he goes on to say -- and this is specifically -- "Everyone in this room knows what will happen if we do nothing, that the deficit will grow, families will go bankrupt, businesses will close, more Americans will lose their coverage when they need it most, and more will die as a result."

Is that a scare tactic by the president?

CANTOR: I mean, you know, again, I really sat there aghast with those kind of claims and the hyperbole that was used. I mean, we need some adult sense of responsibility here. We need to try and produce the reforms that we know that the American people want.

And really, Sean, it starts with a few guarantees. You know, the public wants, number one, a guarantee that the decision making between patients and their doctors won't be taken over by the government. Secondly, the public wants to make sure that there won't be any kind of government rationing or forced discrimination on the part of the government at all. And thirdly, I think the public wants to know that this body in Congress and the president will be responsible and that we're not going to break the bank. And by his claim tonight that it only costs $900 billion - - and as we know, will be upwards of a trillion dollars -- on top of the debt that we've already amassed, I don't see how those claims are even reasonable to even assert.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this, because -- when it goes down to that he wants the government option, and he doubled down on this tonight because he's being torn within his own party. He's got some members saying they won't support it if it doesn't have a government option, some saying that they -- it's unsustainable, they don't want it. So he's got a fight within the Democratic Party.

Here's my question. If you offer that government option, and you do, so -- and the government decides for a private company, you know, what they must cover, what they can charge, what, you know -- in every sense of the word, they're taking away the free -- free competition, free market, isn't that really taking away the opportunity for any private company to compete?

CANTOR: Listen, Sean, that is -- that is just intuitive. The American people know you can't have a government that sets the rules and then go compete under those rules. That is worse than the fox guarding the henhouse. So any notion that there can be a functioning government option without a replacement by the government of the existing health care system is just a false claim. So that's why I think that we've stood up on the Republican side of the aisle in the House, said, Look, no government option, no government co-op, no government trigger. We just cannot. We've got to scrap this whole notion of the government in competition because we know it will lead to replacement and start over and work together on things that we can agree on.

HANNITY: All right, Congressman, we'll wait to see this unfold. There's a lot to get to.

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