Fox News "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" - Transcript
'We've Got to Slow Him Down'
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 21, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Senator Jim DeMint is in a battle with President Obama. Speaking about health care, Senator DeMint said, "If we are to stop Obama on this, it would be his Waterloo. It will break him."
Well, without mentioning Senator DeMint by name, President Obama hit back at the senator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just the other day, one Republican senator said -- and I'm quoting him now -- "If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him." Think about that. This isn't about me. This isn't about politics. This is about a health care system that is breaking America's families, breaking America's businesses and breaking America's economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, "one Republican senator" joins us. Senator DeMint joins us live. He's also the author of the book "Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America's Slide Into Socialism."
You're now "one Republican senator." Sort of interesting title.
SEN. JIM DEMINT, R-S.C.: Yes, it is!
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you said this comment about Waterloo. Why did you say that?
DEMINT: Well, if we don't put the brakes on the president, he's going to break our country right now. And the last time we let him ram something through Congress, we ended up with this catastrophic stimulus failure that's hurting our jobs and mortgaging our future. And now he's trying to push this trillion-dollar health care bill through in two weeks, before we go home on the August break. And we've got to slow him down.
And Greta, that's what I hear from Americans more than anything else, Slow down, read the bills, find out what's in them. The president wants to go too fast. We need to put the brakes on.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I'll tell you what horrifies me, is this bill, at least, it's rumored to be, about a thousand pages. Is that right, the (INAUDIBLE)
DEMINT: Oh, it's well over that.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK, well over a thousand. Do you know any member of the House of Representatives of any U.S. senator who's either read it or plans to read it before it's voted on?
DEMINT: They won't. And there are actually three versions of it now. There are two in the Senate. There's one in the House. And the president probably has some variations of his own. And he's admitted he doesn't know what's in these bills, yet he's out giving all these glowing promises about it. And the people who are reading what has been put out say it's not going to do what he promised. It's not going to cover people with health care. And we are going to lose our private plans.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, who's doing this reading? Is it lobbyists and staff members? Are those the one ones who are doing the reading? Because I have yet to find a House member or a Senate who says, Yes, I've read these three versions start to finish. Who's -- who's doing this reading?
DEMINT: Well, you can look at the language and see the plaintiffs' attorneys have written a lot of it because there's no tort reform in it and there's actually more liability.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we could -- we could debate that one. I'm not...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... down the road on that one. We just read today about a poor guy who went in for a gall bladder and lost both of his legs, or something.
VAN SUSTEREN: So I mean, I -- you and I can fight about that one. But go on.
DEMINT: No, but they haven't read it. It's a compilation of what staff puts together, and different congressmen say, I have to have a public plan, I have to have this in there. And it comes together and they want to pass it before anyone reads it. That's why the president wants it done before our August break. If it hangs out there during the month-long August break, people will put it on the Internet. The radio talk shows will pick it up. The bloggers will pick it up...
VAN SUSTEREN: So we'll see what it is, essentially.
DEMINT: ... and we'll find out what's in it. And all the independent groups that have looked at it so far say it's not going to get the people insured that the president says, and we will lose our private policies. So his promises are not true.
I'm just trying to use whatever language I need to get his attention and the American people's attention. The fact is, Greta, he's not for reform. He voted against everything that we put up for health care reform when he was in the Senate. What he wants is the government to take it over, just like General Motors or AIG.
VAN SUSTEREN: But I don't even know -- I mean, frankly, I mean, that's not necessarily -- that's not an appealing way to do it necessarily for me. But what I don't understand is that, how can I even know if the option is appealing when we don't even get to see it and the people who vote on it don't even get to read it and people are just jamming all sorts of things into it? You know, it's, like -- it's -- to the American people, it's, like -- as they sort of sit back and listen to this, I imagine they're thinking, Why do we send anybody to Washington if it's just going to be, you know, throwing it up in the air and see what sticks?
DEMINT: If it was really what they said it was, they would want us to read it, but they don't want us to read it, Greta, and I'm afraid we've been doing it that way all year.
VAN SUSTEREN: That's got to stop! That's got to stop! You guys got to start reading what you vote on!
DEMINT: We do. But you know, if you have over a thousand pages of legal language that refers to numerous other bills that you can't read that even in a week. You have to...
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, but this one's so profoundly important that at least take the time for this one.
DEMINT: It's a...
VAN SUSTEREN: But I mean, this one is -- this is going to redefine how we do health care for generations, probably.
DEMINT: It will, and it's a fifth of our economy, and they're talking about taking it over with the government. So I think -- and that's what I'm saying, that we have to stop the president or he's going to knock this one out and go on to cap-and-trade, which will put a tax on electricity.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do any U.S. senators, Democrats, across the aisle -- do they ever come up to you in the hall -- and I won't make you out their names -- and say, you know, Boy, this is really bad? We got -- you know, we need to put the brakes on so that we can actually read this to see what this bill is.
DEMINT: Well, they haven't said that to me, but enough of them have said to their constituents back home that they'd have concerns that I can tell that they are at least thinking about this. We've got to make them more afraid of their voters than they are of the special interests that are basically drawing up these bills.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, I -- I wish that they would make a pact with their voters -- you know, a lot of them made pacts, like, on term limits and stuff. I'd like to a pact with the voters on something that's so profoundly important -- make that pact that, you know -- you know, that the senators and congressmen will actually read it before they vote on it.
DEMINT: There are people passing out a petition, and I've signed it, that before I vote on a bill, I'm going to read it. And I'm going to vote against a lot of them when I don't get a chance to read the whole thing.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I mean, there is no -- there is no transparency if (INAUDIBLE) if it doesn't go up on the Web and it just gets rammed through, whether it's a good bill or a rotten bill.
DEMINT: Let me say one thing just to clear the record on it. Republicans have put forward much more health care reform than the Democrats...
VAN SUSTEREN: Historically or now?
DEMINT: In the last several years...
VAN SUSTEREN: OK.
DEMINT: ... since I've been in the Senate. Obama voted against everything that would have helped make it more affordable and accessible for people to have their own insurance when they don't get it at work. He's saying we don't want to do anything. The facts are against him. We've tried to reform the system. Now he wants the government to take it over. We need to stop it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you.
DEMINT: Thank you.
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