CNN "Newsroom" - Transcript: ACA and Government Shutdown

Interview

By:  Pete King
Date: Oct. 3, 2013
Location: Unknown

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REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: The fact is, my district, my area of Long Island, Ronald Reagan carried it by over 100,000 votes. The largest vote of any county in the country. So this is a right of Senate (ph) district. Most of my district is strongly opposed to Obamacare. No one, almost no one is coming up to me and telling me to shut down the government. They realize that you play by the rules, that these issues are decided in elections. Unfortunately, (INAUDIBLE), we lost the last election. We lost the presidential election, the Democrats control the Senate. But the only way we can repeal Obamacare is by doing it the same way that they passed it, get it repealed in both houses of Congress and get a Republican president to sign that repeal into law. Well, the fact is, the way we're going now, we're never going to be able to do that.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: So - so it seem likes right now this is -- especially this week in particular, either the media is universally hated and we are targeted as evil doers for asking these tough questions. I'm sure you've heard about Dana Bash being attacked by, you know, Senator Harry Reid for daring to ask about piecemeal funding. And I've been attacked by both Democrats and Republicans for daring to ask such foolish questions that don't ally (ph) with their philosophies and their strategy. And then there's Ted Cruz, who's, you know, in a commercial lambasting other Republicans.

This is getting out of control. Is this now a battle for headlines and saving jobs on Capitol Hill, or saving speakerships, or is someone going to blink and finally realize people are hungry and they're living check to check and the economy is going to just collapse if you continue on with this, you know, with this impasse?

KING: Well, you know, there's a lot of blame here. First of all, I give Ted Cruz most of the blame. But let me -- I've been very critical of Republicans. Let me also say, it's time for President Obama to really step in. I'm not saying he has to negotiate on Obamacare, but he is the head of the Democratic Party. He's doing a very good job at that.

But he's also president of the United States, who's a nonpolitical position. He has an obligation to try to end this, do all he can. I can't imagine Lyndon Johnson or Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan just standing on the sidelines and giving an occasional speech. Whatever he has to do to try to resolve it, she should. I'm not even saying make concessions, but he, as the president has power, he can put things on the table. He can make it part of a larger deal. He can keep his Obamacare. That's -- he passed it. He's entitled to that. So it's up to us to try to repeal it. But he just can't continue to be on the sidelines.

As far as Ted Cruz, what he was looking for --

BANFIELD: Well, OK.

KING: To build up his reputation and also build up a mailing list. As far as -

BANFIELD: I think that's --

KING: Politicians who attack you, Ashleigh, I would never attack you.

BANFIELD: You're adorable. Listen, I'm going to -- I'm just going to push you on this a little bit because you just said, I'm not saying that the president has to negotiate on Obamacare, and that's a lot what, you know, the consensus about last night's meeting that went nowhere was that at least the Democrats right now are saying, look, we will start to work with you on the debt ceiling resolution and start making concessions down the road, but we're not going to negotiate here on Obamacare. So are you saying that what the president did yesterday was the right thing?

KING: No, I'm saying the president can be - I think more engaged. He's the president of the United States and rather than just say what he's not going to do, whether it's behind the scenes or whatever, a president of the United States can bring people together and whatever he has to do, try to make that deal. And whether it's, again, I'm not saying he has to negotiate Obamacare. Find a way to negotiate, to bring this to - to resolve it. He has the powers of the presidency and he should try to use them.

Again, Lyndon Johnson would have found a way to resolve this, I believe. Franklin Roosevelt would have found a way to resolve this. Ronald Reagan would have found a way. I'm not the president, but I'm just saying that he has to get in there. I think it's wrong when the rest of the world looks at this and they see our government shutdown and they see a president somewhat disengaged other than the occasional speech. If the government of France shut down tomorrow, and the president of France was not speaking out, we would have no idea who the speaker is. All we would know is that the president of France was on the sidelines. The president should be more engaged. I'm not being critical of him for being -- us being in this position now. But now that we are here, it is what it is and he's the president of the country.

BANFIELD: All right. Well, you know, I could talk to you for an hour.

KING: Right.

BANFIELD: In fact, it's an open invitation for you, Congressman King, to be on the show at any time.

KING: Thank you, Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: I like your tone and I like the - I just appreciate -- you're just a straight shooter. Congressman King joining us live from Capitol Hill.

And I am flat out of time. In fact, I just stole four minutes from the next show. So I'm going to pass over the coverage now. Our continuing coverage of the government shutdown continues now straight ahead with Suzanne Malveaux.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM continuing day three of the government shutdown. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company.

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