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Mike Pence Can't Name A Single New Idea By Republicans In Their 'Pledge'

Well his cohort Rep. Kevin McCarthy couldn't name a single program the Republicans would cut from the federal budget the other day after the Republicans released their new "Pledge to America". Today on Meet the Press Rep. Mike Pence couldn't give
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Well his cohort Rep. Kevin McCarthy couldn't name a single program the Republicans would cut from the federal budget the other day after the Republicans released their new "Pledge to America". Today on Meet the Press Rep. Mike Pence couldn't give Meet the Press' David Gregory one actual example of anything in the pledge that's a new idea and not just the same old recycled talking points we've been hearing for years.

After listening to a tape of Jon Stewart slamming them on the Daily Show last week, Pence more or less admits there isn't anything new in the pledge and says the pledge is not "the end-all, be-all" but instead is meant to "be a good start." Sorry Mikey but I think we've had about 30 years or more to see what that "good start" looks like when your party is running the show, and it ain't pretty.

GREGORY: You know, as you go back to 1994, Congressman Pence, there was the Contract with America, and one of the big issues, if you go back even to interviews I've done with Republican leaders till after the election of President Obama, was that this wanted to be the party of new ideas.

PENCE: Right.

GREGORY: And, in fact, this, this pledge has been criticized for being anything but new. Where satire is most effective, Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" this week raised this issue by comparing some of what was said in 1998 by Speaker--rather, who wants to be speaker, Boehner, John Boehner, to what he said in unveiling the pledge. And this is what it looked like.

(Videotape, "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Thursday)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER: (From September 23) A smaller...

(From March 3, 1998) A smaller...

(From September 23) ...less costly...

(From March 3, 1998) ...less costly...

(From September 23) ...and more accountable...

(From March 3, 1998) ...and more accountable...

(From September 23, 2010 and March 3, 1998; in unison) ...government in our nation's capital.

MR. JON STEWART: Wow. That's--I don't even know what to say. This thing's not even a sequel. It's like a shot-by-shot remake of your--I thought the pledge was you were humbled and going to come back with fresh new ideas. Wasn't that the pledge?

(End videotape)

GREGORY: So what's new here?

PENCE: Well, ending bailouts and cutting spending in Washington, D.C., is a new idea, David. And the truth is, look, Republicans didn't just lose our majority in 2006, we lost our way. We walked away from the principles of fiscal discipline and reform that minted our governing majority back in 1980 and again in 1994, and the American people walked away from us. What, what we have in this proposal is not, not necessarily new. The idea of fiscal responsibility, pro-growth policies, openness and transparency in government are solid, American ideas. What Republicans are committing to in this Pledge to America is taking important first steps in this Congress to steer our national government back to those basic practices and principles.

GREGORY: Congressman Van Hollen, do you agree? Is this a return to core principles or is this a rehash?

VAN HOLLEN: Look, this is a rehash. It's a recycling of the Bush economic agenda. They put a new front page on it, but otherwise this is a Xerox copy. Their whole answer to everything seems to be give the folks at the very top a tax break, and then they want to undo the regulations and reforms on Wall Street. I mean, the problems on Wall Street led to catastrophe around the country, millions of people lost their jobs, and they're trying to do what lobbyists tried very hard to do, but didn't succeed, which is to say, "Let's put those guys back in charge." And I--it is a return to the Bush economic agenda. There's no doubt about it.

GREGORY: Well, let me follow up...

PENCE: David, David...

VAN HOLLEN: I would point out...

GREGORY: Let me follow up on this point.

PENCE: (Unintelligible)

VAN HOLLEN: ...this is not...

MR. GREGORY: Congressman Pence, hold on, let me follow up on this point...

PENCE: Yeah.

GREGORY: ...which is where you think this is a credible economic argument. You voted against TARP. You opposed the stimulus, as did other Republican leaders. And yet people, economists who have looked at this from both sides of the aisle, Robert Samuelson writing in Newsweek who is a more conservative columnist on economic matters, says that the aggressive actions taken, going back to TARP and then followed through by this administration, most definitely had an impact on GDP, on the fact that we don't see unemployment approaching 16 percent. Is it credible for Republicans to ask for the vote this November when, effectively, you would've let the financial system teeter off the edge of a cliff?

PENCE: Well, it--look, Republicans weren't prepared to let the financial system teeter off a cliff.

GREGORY: You voted against TARP.

PENCE: We just thought taking $700 billion...

GREGORY: What would've happened if, if you had not passed TARP?

PENCE: Well, David, we just thought taking $700 billion from Main Street and transferring it to Wall Street was a profoundly bad idea.

GREGORY: That's good rhetoric, but what would've happened to the financial system?

PENCE: Now we...

GREGORY: Who in the financial system thinks it didn't stabilize the system?

PENCE: Yeah, look. Republicans, Republicans had a proposal, it was a backstop, not a handout. It--we could've, we could've worked out this as a lot of the post-mortem analysis suggested we could. Look, this is not a choice between the failed economic policies of the present and the failed economic policies of the past. I know that the Democrats want to frame it that way. What Republicans are saying is we have to get back, we have to end the era of borrowing and spending and bailouts and government takeovers. We have to repeal Obama care lock, stock, and barrel, oppose their cap and trade schemes, and then we've got to get back to the practice of fiscal responsibility and the kind of policies that'll get this economy growing again.

GREGORY: Name me one painful choice on spending the Republicans are prepared to make, that there could be some real blowback for politically, that they'll stand by if they want to reduce the deficit and rein in spending?

PENCE: Well, look, I, look, I, you know...

GREGORY: I read through this. I want to know where is the painful choice that you're prepared to make on spending?

PENCE: Look, I, I never thought you'd ask. Look, cutting discretionary spending.

GREGORY: On what?

PENCE: Down to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout...

GREGORY: Name the painful choice on a program that you're going to cut.

PENCE: Look, we could reduce, we could reduce government employment back down to 2008 levels. That's $35 billion over 10. We could eliminate government programs like the Save America's Treasures programs.

GREGORY: (Unintelligible).

PENCE: That's $300 million.

GREGORY: Talk--what about entitlement spending? Are you going to raise the retirement age...

PENCE: Look...

GREGORY: ...as John Boehner suggests might be a good idea on Social Security?

PENCE: Look. Well, you know, in--the last time I was on this program, I told you we'd keep our promises to seniors and near seniors, but for Americans under the age of 40, we absolutely have to begin to reform Medicare and Social Security in ways that'll ensure its long-term fiscal solvency. But let me assure you, the Pledge to America is not the end-all, be-all, it's meant to be a good start.

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