TPMDC Sunday Roundup

December 20, 2009 8:05 a.m.

Axelrod: Calling Liberal Opponents ‘Insane’ Was ‘Probably An Unfortunate Choice Of Words’
Appearing on This Week, Senior White House Adviser David Axelrod clarified his having called the urge by some liberals to defeat the health care bill, such as from Howard Dean, “insane.” “I didn’t say he was insane, I want to make that clear. Howard Dean is a friend of mine,” said Axelrod. “I have a great respect for him. He is a medical doctor, and I know he feels passionately about that. What I said was, it would be insane to pass on an opportunity to enact the reform that would have such positive impact on our future and on the well-being of families across this country. And I still believe that. It was probably an unfortunate choice of words.”

Dean: ‘We’re Going To Have A 30-Year Battle With The Insurance Industry’
Appearing on Meet The Press, former DNC chairman Howard Dean predicted long-term problems for a health care bill without a public option: “We have committed–in this last week of unseemly scrambling for votes, we have committed to go down a path in this country where private insurance will be the way that we achieve universal health care. That means we’re going to have a 30-year battle with the insurance industry every time when we try to control costs and try to get them do things. It is not a coincidence, David Gregory, that insurance company stocks, health insurance company stocks, hit a 52-year high on Friday. So they must know something that the rest of us don’t.”Axelrod: ‘People Have A Right To Be Grouchy’
Appearing on State of the Union, Senior White House Adviser David Axelrod bluntly addressed President Obama’s sagging poll numbers. “People have a right to be grouchy,” said Axelrod, citing ten-percent unemployment numbers. But he also predicted that the numbers will improve: “The president has had to make a lot of tough decisions to try and rescue our economy from collapse, to move this country forward and we are going to reap the benefits of that.”

Ben Nelson: ‘I Couldn’t Create The Opportunity To Be The 60th Vote. It Happened’
Appearing on State of the Union, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) denied any allegation that he enjoyed the limelight of negotiating to be the 60th vote for health care reform: “Well, I don’t think that’s accurate at all. I mean, I couldn’t create the opportunity to be the 60th vote. It happened. And to them, I would say, look, if you think it’s fun having both sides on an issue mad at you when you’re trying to do something in good faith, just think, it’s like going home and getting bit by the family dog. So how — who enjoys that? ”

Conrad: Any Bill Will Have To Be ‘Very Close’ To Senate Bill, To Get 60 Votes
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) said that any final health care bill will have to be close to the Senate bill, in order to pass: “I think any bill is going to have to be very close to what the Senate has passed because we’re still going to have to get 60 votes. And anybody who’s watched this process can see how challenging it has been to get 60 votes.”

McCain: Obama ‘More Partisan,’ There Have Been No Attempts To Negotiate With Republicans
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) claimed that there have been no attempts to negotiate serious issues with Republicans — which should come as a surprise to liberals who resented the failed health care negotiations with Chuck Grassley, Mike Enzi and Olympia Snowe. “He [President Obama] said there would be a change in the climate in Washington. There’s been a change. It’s more partisan. It’s more bitterly divided than it’s been,” said McCain. “I have never been asked to engage in a single serious negotiation on any issue, nor has any other Republican. Now they’ve brought single Republicans down to try to pick off one or two Republicans so you can call it, quote, bipartisan.”

Snowe: ‘The Problem Is The Bill Became Bigger’
Appearing on Face The Nation, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) explained her opposition to the current Senate health care bill, after having previously voted to advance a bill from the Senate Finance Committee: “Well it was a number of issues. I have been in countless meetings, meetings and telephone calls, meetings with the president, meetings with the majority leader, a number of people across the aisle without question. The problem is the bill became bigger. It has the class act which is a whole new entitlement that frankly will turn in the red five years after the benefits begin.”

Landrieu: ‘There’s Only One Reason We’re Going To Be Here Until Christmas, And That’s Senator Tom Coburn’
Appearing on Face The Nation, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) lambasted Senate Republicans for obstructing health care and then attacking Democrats for holding late-night votes: “There’s only one reason we’ll be here for Christmas and that’s Senator Tom Coburn . We don’t have to vote in the middle of the night. He’s the one making us do it, not Harry Reid, the Democrats. It is a Republican obstructionist that is making us vote in the middle of the night.”

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