Previewing the titanic battle over repealing ObamaCare, a CBS journalist on Wednesday touted “guilt” as a weapon for Democrats to wield in defense of the law. On NBC’s Today, Matt Lauer declared that the Republicans will now “own the issue” if they choose to repeal the law.
CBS This Morning reporter Nancy Cordes allowed, “Legislatively, there's little Democrats can do to stop the repeal of ObamaCare.” But she added, “Guilt is one of their few tools in their arsenal.”
Cordes described Barack Obama’s mission as “to fight the good fight, to not give up on his signature achievement, to talk up the beneficial parts of the health care law and to try to get Republicans to think twice.”
To her credit, however, the journalist allowed that “a CBS News poll shows that just one in ten Americans think ObamaCare is working well and only eight percent of Democrats believe it should remain unchanged.”
On NBC’s Today, Mark Halperin described the liberal position this way: “Democrats are gonna say, ‘You may not like everything about this law, but a lot of you have health care now because of this law... Keep it in place.’” Lauer lectured of Republicans trying to fix the law: “They own the issue now.”
In a separate story, reporter Hallie Jackson used Democratic talking points, spinning the debate this way: “Dueling meetings on Capitol Hill setting up a showdown politically, President Obama and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. One fighting to protect the health care law, the other trying to tear it down.”
She concluded, “The GOP has no replacement plan to announce yet or a way to pay for it, but still ready to make good on a years-long promise to kill the law.” Not improve health care for Americans, “kill the law.”
On ABC’s Good Morning America, Jon Karl provided a more balanced take. He explained, “This is the first big battle and the Republican strategy here is to essentially say, ‘We're going to repeal ObamaCare.’ Not all of it. Most of it. Then make it effective in about three years.”
A partial transcript of the CBS This Morning segment is below:
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CHARLIE ROSE: President Obama goes to Capitol Hill in a few hours to defend ObamaCare. Vice President-elect Mike Pence is also going there to discuss how to get rid of it. The President will work with House and Senate Democrats on a plan to prevent massive changes to the Affordable Care Act. At the same time, Pence and House Republicans are planning their strategy to repeal and replace the law.
NORAH O’DONNELL: The new Congress was sworn in yesterday. House Republicans reversed a move to put an independent ethics office under control of a Republican-led committee after President-elect Trump criticized the vote. Nancy Cordes is on Capitol Hill watching the ObamaCare debate. Nancy, good morning.
NANCY CORDES: Good morning. The President is coming here to Capitol Hill today to urge Democrats to fight the good fight, to not give up on his signature achievement, to talk up the beneficial parts of the health care law and to try to get Republicans to think twice, but the party in power made it clear yesterday that they're not going to be swayed from their number one priority.
SPEAKER PAUL RYAN: The people have given us unified government and it wasn't because they were feeling generous. It's because they want results.
CORDES: In his opening speech, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he plans to take full advantage of a unique opportunity. Republicans in control of the House, Senate and White House for the first time in a decade.
RYAN: I intend to keep this place running at full speed.
CORDES: Democrats laid out their intentions too. The party's new Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, said he'd work with Mr. Trump, to a point.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER: We'll fight him tooth and nail when he goes to the baser instincts that diminish America and its greatness.
CORDES: Legislatively, there's little Democrats can do to stop the repeal of ObamaCare. Guilt is one of their few tools in their arsenal.
SEN. DICK DURBIN: How are you going to ensure that families are going to be protected with their health care plan? Haven't heard a word.
CORDES: The White House insists Americans don’t want to undue the law.
JOSH EARNEST: The prospect of taking it away is a question of life or death for some people.
CORDES: But a CBS News poll shows that just one in ten Americans think ObamaCare is working well and only eight percent of Democrats believe it should remain unchanged.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN: I believe the verdict of the American people has been that ObamaCare has failed the American people.