In other words you don't like to hear things like this.
Sorry but it really happened. Here's a sample :
MR. GREGORY: Right. But, Congressman Van Hollen, here's the reality. In Newsweek, Howard Fineman in his column reports it out in terms of what Democrats are facing as a result of the president's policies. We'll put it on the screen. "Obama won over [male independent] voters in 2008, and they may be all that stands between Democrats and catastrophe this fall. ... The Democrats' support among that group has fallen to as low as 35 percent in some polls. And the reasons are clear. They do not believe that Obama's actions have produced results - and for these practical voters, nothing else matters. The $787 billion stimulus bill is widely regarded as an expensive, unfocused dud. ... Healthcare reform remains, for most voters, a 2,000-page, impenetrable, and largely irrelevant mystery. The BP oil spill has hurt Obama's ability to fend off GOP charges that he's ineffective as a leader. Democrats are hoping to win back this group with one strategy: attacking the Republicans, individually and as a group. ... The plan is not to blame George W. Bush ... but to warn that a return to the GOP brand ... would be a disaster." And we're hearing all this this morning.
REP. VAN HOLLEN: Well, what you're, what you're hearing is--as, as Bob said, look, we know that we have a long way to go on the economy. People are still hurting, that's absolutely clear. But we also know what the American people know, which is the day George Bush lost--left office, we were losing 700,000 jobs a month. And during the full eight years of the Bush administration we lost private sector jobs. We are now beginning to climb out. And what we are saying is yes, let's focus on the policies, because why in the world would we want to go back to the same economic agenda that created that mess, that, that lost jobs for eight years? And I think the challenge that our colleagues have here, Pete and John, is to say to the American people, how do you expect to do the same thing and get a different result? I mean, that, that's Einstein's definition of insanity, right?
MR. GREGORY: But, Congressman, is that fair? Is that what, is that what Republicans stand for today? Is it the party of George Bush? Is it the economic approach of George Bush?
REP. SESSIONS: First of all, it's not truthful. People had jobs when Republicans were, not only in charge, but George Bush was there. We doubled the size of the economy over 12 years. We did things that would empower the free enterprise system. Here's what the facts of the case are. There will be candidates who will be on the ballot back home facing the Democrats who have voted in the 90 percent realm with Nancy Pelosi to raise taxes and bigger government, and a healthcare plan which we cannot sustain and will quite likely bankrupt not only states, but business also. These candidates from top to bottom, whether we talk about Rick Berg and Kristi Noem, all the way down to David Rivera in Florida, are saying we must live within our own means, we cannot spend what we don't have, and we must be able to sustain what we're doing. That's why we're going to win.
MR. GREGORY: Well, so what is the message your candidates are going to send about President Obama? What has he done with government, to government?
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REP. SESSIONS: Well, well, first of all, they're going to run against the, the person who's on the ballot with them. And that person has voted for more spending and big taxes and more of an agenda that's about empowering Washington, D.C., not back home. They are going to say we should read the bills before we vote on them, we should make sure we live within our means, and, perhaps most of all, get behind an agenda where the American people are, which began for us one year ago in August when Republicans would attend town hall meetings and hear about health care.
REP. VAN HOLLEN: Look,
REP. SESSIONS: Democrats fled.
REP. VAN HOLLEN: But, but, but, David, I mean, you heard the very beginning of the answer to your question, a defense of the George Bush economy and the George Bush years. And I don't think the American people see it that way, because they know we had a meltdown in the financial sector, they know we lost jobs. And so when they hear the Republican leader John Boehner say he wants to repeal the Wall Street reform bill, which is an effort to make sure that the American people and the whole economy are not again held hostage by bad debts on Wall Street, they recognize that they do, in fact, want to go back to those policies. They have, they have Joe Barton, the head of their energy committee--who, who would be the head of the energy committee, apologizing to BP. It's a, it's a big oil agenda. They've got, they've got the, the folks who oppose the legislation to try and remove the tax loopholes that help export U.S. jobs overseas. We want to shut those loopholes. They, they hear all this and they see that what they're going to get if you had, you know, Republicans in charge, is that economic agenda. And they, they can't answer that basic question: What, what are you going to get that's different?
MR. GREGORY: Well, Senator... what, what distinguish the Republican Party of today from the Republican Party under President Bush's rule with regard to spending, which is where it got out of control under Republican rule, that now conservatives are so upset about.
SEN. CORNYN: Well, let's look at a few facts. I, I, thank you for the opportunity because I wanted to respond to what Chris said. You know, in the last year that President Bush was in office, 2008, the deficit was 3.2 percent of the gross domestic product. Today it's 10 percent. Just--we just hit the $13 trillion cap on national debt, $2.3 trillion...
MR. GREGORY: Well, let me just stop you, Senator. Wait a minute.
SEN. CORNYN: ...since Obama...
MR. GREGORY: Where did some of that debt come from? The president of the United States was George Bush when they passed a, a huge TARP, which was to bail out the banks. I mean, that's what ran up a lot of debt, as well. You're saying that a Republican...
SEN. CORNYN: Well, you're ignoring...
MR. GREGORY: ...was, was somehow different.
Advertisement | ad infoSEN. CORNYN: You're ignoring the stimulus that was--failed according to the own, the president's own standards. He said it was supposed to keep unemployment to 8 percent. A $2.6 trillion healthcare bill, which I agree with, with Pete, will bankrupt not only the private sector but the states and the federal government creating a new entitlement program. My point is that, you know, unemployment was roughly 6.9 percent when President Obama was elected. Now it's 9.5 percent. The deficit was 3.2 percent the last year President Bush was in office. Now it's 10 percent. The debt was $2.3 trillion lower when--in 2008 than it is now because of runaway spending and debt.
MR. GREGORY: So my question is still...
SEN. CORNYN: Those are some of the policies people reacting to.
MR. GREGORY: ...what is the distinction of the Republican Party of today vs. the, the Bush record that you're defending?
SEN. CORNYN: Well, I think what people are looking for, David, are checks and balances. They've had single party government, and it's scaring the living daylights out of them. It's keeping job creators on the sidelines rather than investing and creating jobs. That's why the private sector isn't creating jobs.
MR. GREGORY: Well, can't you understand people will see that as a strategy of saying no rather than saying yes to something?
SEN. CORNYN: Well, my constituents in Texas, I have to tell you, to all the bad ideas that they hear coming out of Washington these days, no is a good start. And then they want us to replace it with commonsense policies that actually make sense. But the problem is, the, the--our friends on the Democratic side, including the president, have passed one unpopular policy measure after another and told the American people, "We don't care what you think, we're--we know what's, better than you do, what's good for you." And I think the birds are coming home to roost.
SEN. MENENDEZ: Well, David, if the check and balance is to go back to exactly the same policies that gave us a 72 percent increase in the national debt to nearly $9.8 trillion. If the check and check and balance is to take Bill Clinton's $230 billion surplus and make it a $1.5 trillion deficit, if the check and balance is the malaise of the Bush years in which incomes for families remained stagnant and jobs were lost, if the check and balance is to be with big oil, big insurance, and Wall Street against the average individual, then that's where the Republican Party is at.
MR. GREGORY: Let me, let me have--before we take a break and we'll come back and we'll talk about some particular issues where the two sides will debate, I want to ask one last question about the president's standing and, and to what extent it has an impact. Politico's piece on Thursday was very interesting, the headline "Why Obama loses even by winning." And this is what they reported. "Thursday's passage of financial reform just a couple of months after the passage of a comprehensive healthcare overhaul should decisively end the narrative that President Barack Obama represents a Jimmy Carter-style case of naive hope crushed by the inability to master Washington. Yet the mystery remains: Having moved swiftly toward achieving the very policy objectives he promised voters as a candidate, Obama is still widely perceived as flirting with a failed presidency."
Congressman Van Hollen, this is not 1994 where Democrats were having a difficult time achieving anything. There has been major achievement here, and yet, are Democrats reaping the rewards?
REP. VAN HOLLEN: There has...
Advertisement | ad infoMR. GREGORY: Reaping the benefits?
REP. VAN HOLLEN: There absolutely has been major achievement, and you've ticked some of those off; but the fact remains that the economy is soft. And when you have a soft economy, people, understandably, are anxious. And the question they're going to have on their minds when they go into that voting booth and face two different candidates is, who is going to best respond to the economy? And I have to say, we're some minutes into this discussion yet and we still have not heard from our colleagues what they would do differently than the Bush economic agenda which got us into this mess? We are now in positive job growth.
Let me make this point, we have the situation right now where our Republican colleagues are holding hostage an extension of middle class tax cuts. They've said we're only going support a continuation of middle class tax cuts, those for people under $250,000, if you also extend the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy. And by the way, that $700 billion over 10 years--you hear all this talk about deficit reduction--that they don't want to pay for, they want to leave that to children and grandchildren, we can make great progress today if our Republican colleagues here agreed to allow those middle class tax cuts to be extended without having to add $700 billion to the deficit that our grandchildren and children will have to pick up.
MR. GREGORY: But, Senator Menendez, Senator Bayh, another centrist Democrat that said raising taxes on wealthier Americans by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire in January would be a real mistake in this economy. Is that wrong?
SEN. MENENDEZ: Well, the bottom line is what would be a mistake is to add $700 billion of debt to the next generation. You know, when, when the number two Republican in the Senate, Jon Kyl, says, "We don't have to pay for that. We don't have to pay for it," you know, I am tired of listening to the lectures about spending and debt when they wracked up record debt, when they are willing to put $700 billion of debt on the next generation, and when you don't have to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the country, but you can't help working Americans trying to get a job who presently are unemployed.
MR. GREGORY: Final point before break, is President Obama an asset or a liability on the campaign trail?
REP. VAN HOLLEN: Oh, he's absolutely an asset.
MR. GREGORY: So he'll campaign across the country for Democrats?
REP. VAN HOLLEN: Absolutely. And he's been doing that. He was in Michigan the other day at, at a car battery factory. He's been around the country. He's an asset, and he's also very clearly drawing the distinctions here, what the choices are for voters going forward.
MR. GREGORY: We're going to take a break. We're going to come back. We're going to talk a little bit more about the Republicans, what the prescription is should they get the majority in the House. We'll be right back. More of our debate on Decision 2010 and the balance of power in Washington right here on MEET THE PRESS.
Your interpretation will be different of course. The way I see it full of blame short on actual ideas that differ from what Bush did.