December 3, 2009

Think Progress posted part of this interview yesterday, but IMO they cut the clip a little bit short and left off the best part. Here's the post from Think Progress--Grassley: ‘I’ve lived off the public tit’ as a congressman.:

On C-SPAN’s Washington Journal this morning, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was asked if he thought the health care reform bill before the Senate amounted to socialism. “No,” Grassley said, but he then attacked the public option aspect of the bill, calling it “socialism.” Later in the program, a caller argued that as a public official, Grassley has been, in some ways, living off the government. After Grassley noted that he was a farmer for 50 years, the caller asked if he had ever received government subsidies. “Yes I participate in the farm program,” Grassley replied. The Iowa senator continually interrupted the caller but eventually acknowledged that he has been receiving substantial government assistance.

What followed was fairly comical and the caller left Grassley speechless and looking to be saved by C-SPAN's Steve Scully.

GRASSLEY: For the first 16 years I made $3,000 every other year as a state legislator. Now do you expect me to live on $3,000 every other year? No I was a factory worker for 10 years and I was a farmer for that period of time and I farm with my son now. So if you’re trying to make a case that I’ve lived off the public tit all these years, I think you’re saying correctly in the years I’ve been in the Congress but not the years before I came to Congress.

CALLER: Well my dad earned a lot less than $3,000 during those years, but don’t you know that the Lewin Group is also owned by United Health Care? You keep injecting The Lewin Group.

GRASSLEY: Yeah, I quote The Lewin Group because Democrats quote The Lewin Group and I think it’s, if it’s a bipartisan respect and is quoted by both parties then it’s legitimate for a Republican to quote from them.

CALLER: I’ve never heard a Democrat say The Lewin Group.

GRASSLEY: Well, Sen. Baucus used…er…Sen. Wyden used ‘em to cost out his bill that he put in a year ago. Sen. Wyden’s a Democrat from Oregon.

CALLER: They’re owned by an HMO.

Followed by Grassley with a severely pinched look on his face and looking from side to side for someone to save him, which C-SPAN's little winger Scully was happy to oblige and move the conversation along for him. Good for that caller and shame on Steve Scully for not asking him to respond.

Citing one Democrat who has used The Lewin Group in a cost study hardly excuses the fact that Republicans like Grassley constantly cite research from a company that has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo for private insurance companies to keep their profits up to make arguments against reforming our health care system.

I for one agree with the caller. I follow a lot of media and I have never once heard a Democrat cite The Lewin Group as a credible source for their arguments on health care reform, including Ron Wyden. I have never heard Wyden quote The Lewin Group in any interview I've seen him do on television. I have heard Republicans like Grassley and his buddy Orrin Hatch among others, quote them on a regular basis.

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