Isn't it wonderful that Raum Emanuel thought it was a great idea to get a bunch of Republicans to pretend they're Democrats? Who would have ever imagined that could have turned out badly? Bluedog Mike Ross decides to see just how many Republican talking points he can squeeze into a several minute segment on CNN's State of the Union.
King: [A]t one of your recent town halls, there was actually a young man -- not quite ready to vote, I don't believe -- who got up and raised one of the big concerns about this bill, and that is spending.
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(UNKNOWN): Mr. Ross, I want the same opportunity that you had. Please do not -- don't load me up with debt that I can't pay.
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KING: Now, you voted in committee to keep the process moving, to get the House bill moving along, to keep it moving after you got some concessions. If that bill were on the full House floor tomorrow, based on everything you have heard back home, including the concern there about deficit spending, would you vote yes or do you need additional changes?
ROSS: Well, I think -- I think we'd probably need to see a few more changes, too.
Let me say this, that I'm glad to see all people, young and old, starting to talk about the debt. I've been talking about the debt for nine years. Let's not forget here, it took George Washington to Bill Clinton to put this country $5 trillion in debt. It took the last president to double it. And so, I'm one of those that have said, one of my key principles is I will not support a health care reform bill that is not deficit-neutral, period.
KING: Not deficit-neutral, period. As you know, the president is not on the ballot next year, but all of you Blue Dog Democrats in the House are on the ballot, and the Republican National Committee is already after you on the radio, sir. I want you to listen to a snippet from this radio ad attacking you for voting to keep the process moving.
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COMIC VOICE: He folded like a lawn chair.
ANNOUNCER: Mike Ross.
COMIC VOICE: He threw in the towel.
ANNOUNCER: Mike Ross did exactly what Nancy Pelosi wanted him to do.
COMIC VOICE: He caved in, he buckled.
ANNOUNCER: Mike Ross was one of just four congressmen who cast the deciding votes to advance Nancy Pelosi's radical big government health care plan. Ross backed a plan that will cost taxpayers billions, just days after talking like he wouldn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Such an important policy question facing the country right now, Congressman, but also a very dicey political environment. Can you vote for anything along the lines of what is right now before the House of Representatives and survive next year?
ROSS: John, first, I've got a response ad that I'm running to that ad, and I hope at some point you all will play just as many seconds of it.
I read the newspaper this morning. $57 million has been spent in the last six months, most of it in the last 45 days, trying to scare folks. I saw an ad the other night on TV. It scared the living daylights out of me. But I went back and watched it again. It used the word "could" six times in 60 seconds.
I've laid out -- I've now done 37 town hall meetings on health care reform since April. I'm doing telephone town hall meetings. I'm doing roundtable discussions at hospitals, where we bring in small- business owners, the self-employed, the uninsured, doctors, hospital administrators, and we're listening to them.
I can tell you, I've laid down my set of principles, so I will not force government-run health care on anyone. If there ever is government-run health care, the first ones to sign up should be the president and every member of Congress, including myself. You should be able to keep the insurance you've got today, if you like it, and always choose your own doctor. No federal funding for illegal immigrants or for abortion, and no rationing of health care. I will never vote for a bill to kill old people, period.
KING: Congressman Ross, we appreciate your time today.