June 14th, 2009
06:20 PM ET
8 months ago

Pence: Obama should speak out in favor of Iranian reformers

WASHINGTON (CNN) – On the same day that Vice President Biden said he had doubts about the validity of the Iranian election results, Indianan Republican Rep. Mike Pence urged President Obama to speak out in favor of the forces of reform in the Middle Eastern country.

“First and foremost, we need to take a half step back from this administration’s olive branch-and-apology approach to enemies and countries that have been hostile to the United States of America and our allies,” Pence said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“I’m hoping, before the end of the day today, the President of the United States will speak a word of support for Mr. Moussavi and for the dissidents and the reformers within Iran,” said Pence, referring to the defeated challenger to incumbent Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

And moving on to another issue in the news, Pence criticized the desire of some Democrats to include a public insurance option in the health care reform bill Congress will soon begin work on.

“I keep hearing the word ‘competition’,” Pence told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “The government competes in the private sector the way an alligator competes with a duck,” said Pence.

“If you introduce a government-funded option into the private health insurance industry, millions and millions of Americans will lose their current health insurance because their employers will simply either choose to discontinue coverage or you’ll see health insurance companies out across the country say, ‘We can’t compete with Uncle Sam.’”

Pence also said that a government-funded health care plan would inevitably and ultimately involve rationing of treatments.

“What we ought to do,” said Pence, “is respect that doctor-patient relationship and look for ways that will strengthen our private health insurance system in this country.”

The Indiana Republican also slammed the Obama administration’s long-term fiscal outlook because of the unprecedented amounts of debt that the new administration is projecting.

“The answer to following an administration that doubled the national debt is not tripling the national debt in the next ten years,” Pence said Sunday.


Filed under: Health care • Iran • Mike Pence • Popular Posts • President Obama • State of the Union
soundoff (294 Responses)
  1. David

    Typical republican rhetoric...blah blah. I believe that Obama will speak up, and take a stand with the reform party. However, unlike the republican leadership, Obama likes to learn all the facts, understand the situation fully, before taking a formal, public stance.

    It's amazing what intelligent leadership acts like, uh republicans??

    June 14, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    When do alligators ever bail out ducks? The analogy falters.

    June 14, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. John in Tampa

    Rep. Pence should not be pushing Pres. Obama to make statements about internal affairs of other nations. Not yet anyway.

    I too think there may be something terribly wrong with Iran's election–demographics (50% women, average age 29) and also the logic of changing leaders in failed (economic or other) times both suggest Ahmadinejad should not have won. And not by 33 points! The last US landslide was Reagan over Mondale, 1984, by 18%.

    However, Iran is not the USA and for all its lack of transparency this may be a legitimate election. One must be careful how they phrase this, but the culture in much of that region leans to autocratic authority rather than blatant democracy. It may be, Rep. Pence, that the majority of iranians just don't see things the way we do here. So just where do you want our President standing if that turns out to be the case?

    June 14, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. flybyshoeing

    Blah, Blah, Blah. Sorry, Mr. Pence, you cannot be trusted to tell the truth.

    June 14, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. JediMasterMatt - Bethlehem, PA

    I understand what the senator is saying – but I don't think we can go ahead and say that there has been fraud and the like in Iran...because the United States of America still can't have trouble-free elections ourselves.

    June 14, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. Hammer

    How can the Obama administration make a statement about Iran's election after the way American elections have been handled?

    June 14, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. Alfred E. Neumann

    Perhaps Pence was watching on Friday to hear Rick Sanchez announce on CNN that the reformer candidate had won.

    Sanchez quickly had an Obama supporter on the air to announce that it was due to the influence of Barack's rhetoric.

    Pence should talk to Rick Sanchez and find out what went wrong?
    Seems like the reform candidate lost.

    Pence should know that this administration like all others has little influence even when we provide aid, often military aid! See Pakistan or Israel – they are like the Addams Family: they do what they wanna do, dance how they wanna dance, ...

    June 14, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. nri

    Just like we expect foreign governments not to meddle in our elections process, especially the 2000 Bush vs Gore dispute, I expect my government not to interfere in other countries affairs. We poke our nose in other countries affairs and we wonder why they hate us? Obama is doing the right thing and GOP should keep quiet.

    June 14, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  9. Cameron

    I agree. This is a prime opportunity for our President to use his political respect and capitol that he earned from his brilliant speech in Cairo to voice his support for the youth of Iran to rise up and take what is rightfully theirs.
    I only wish our people here in the land of the brave, had the courage and conviction to do the same thing in 2000 and 2004.

    June 14, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. Helen Hahn

    Unfortunetly we are in Mr. Pence's disctrict. Just be aware that not everyone agrees with him. We need health care reform and we need it now. We cannot go on as we are . I do believe that we need some form of public health plan. Private insurers are for profit only and could care less about the people they insure. That was not the purpose of the original health care insurers. Please republicans ,and especially Mr. Pence ,look at what is happening to the people of your state.

    June 14, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  11. Post always rejected by CNN

    One question for this guy, where was he when bush started a war on an innocent country. Where was he when bush was strum strumming his guitar and wating cake during Katrina. How about when all the jobs were going overseas. When cheney took a supreme court judge on a trip to coax him into ruling in his favor on a court case. And you could go on and on and on....but all we hear from republicans like this is whine and cry and moan and jump up and down trying to blame the democrats for everything. Even before they took office. Gee maybe next they are going to try to pin the releasing of a CIA agent's name to gain political points. Disgusting. But then who ever said republicans had a caring honest bone in their bodies.

    June 14, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  12. jeremy

    Maybe in Obama speaks out then the American media will report on this.

    June 14, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  13. The Veteran

    What the President should do is NOT take his cues from a two-bit congressman. The President is smart. He doesn't go out and about talking loud and saying nothing.

    The election could have been stolen. They probably learned from the Republicans how to do it.

    June 14, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  14. TXGuy

    At least ONE Repub is willing to point out that our country's debt didn't start the day Obama took office.

    June 14, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. carlo

    It's not our business to interfere into another country internal affairs, let's remember how Bush won the elections.

    Let's stay out of other people problems and spend more time taking care of our problems.
    Also, talking about socialized medicine, can somebody tell me what we offer to our congress representatives? Us, the taxpayers are paying.
    Let's eliminate the insurance coverage for all of them and let them get a private plan.

    June 14, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Steve J

    No, what we need to take a "half-step back from" is more of the typical right wing lunk-headedness that the last 8 years have proven do nothing. Their their revolution needs to come from within. If the U.S. starts making speeches for the reformist then Ahmadinejad will only spam them 24×7 on state-run TV to propagandie people in his favor. Talk about taking the wind out of the reform sails.

    It seems the right still hasn't heard of the term "keep your friends close, enemies closer" in their failure to understand Obama's "apologies" - you slide in close to your enemies with smiles and hugs, not shaking fists.

    June 14, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. Vincent Petrosino

    Pence can go soak his head. Obama is right to shut his mouth NOW. Iranians will use his opinion as ammunition against the youth of the country. Now is not the time but it will come soon if this fraudulent election develops into a revolution. Everyone knows it was fixed. The GOP never learns from past mistakes. It is still the good ole white boys club using cowboy diplomacy.

    June 14, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. dpmd

    What an idiot. Why does he think interfering in internal politics in the Arab world is a wise thing? It's just more Bush/Cheney arrogant foreign policy that weakened the US ability to influence other nations.

    June 14, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  19. Russ

    What a stupid fool. The American people must support the Iranians, but our government needs to stay the heck out of situation or risk making it worse.

    Lieberman had a similarly stupid statement.

    FAIL.

    June 14, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. Josh

    I do not think its is right to interfare in another country's internal election and politics. It should be up to the Iranian people and the opposition parties to settle disputes. I agree the results are quite different from what the pollsters had predicted. But how accurate are the polls anyway in most cases?

    I also do not understand the Iranian nuclear threat that media claims. Isn't Israel the nuclear armed country between Iran and Israel?

    June 14, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  21. Ron in VA

    Good Lord. Watching some of these Republicans make foreign policy suggestions is like having a ringside seat at amateur hour!

    Think about it for a second, Pence. The Iranians are extremely touchy about outside interference in their nation and political process. This is especially so regarding the U.S. If you don't know why, I'd suggest you do a little bit of research about our overthrow of Mossadeq and support for Shah Pahlavi. If we want the reformers to win, and we certainly do, the last thing we want to do make them seem like stalking horses for U.S. policy. Their only hope is legitimacy in the eyes of the Iranian people. If we publicly support them, they lose that, and Ahmadinejad and Khamenei can claim that the opposition is all a U.S. plot against them.

    Seriously, folks, even my 9th grade history class could tell you that. . .

    June 14, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  22. tochi

    Empty Republican vessels are making much sound now. The bluster of Republican regime only brought untold misery to thousands and brought our country to its knees and now they want more of the same. I wonder if this guy has ever been outside Indiana.

    June 14, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. Aspen Professor

    Geeee ... I am surprised that good ole Repub Mike Spence of Indiana did not call for an immediate bombing and invasion of Iran! He will be losing points from the right-wing extremists in the GOP.

    Whether the bombs fall on the protestors in Iran or not wil not be a concern of the folks like Cheney, Rush, Rove, Hannity, O'Reilly, Coulter and the other fools.

    June 14, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. JonDie

    First, Mr. Pence, our president should stick with what it possible and not merely speak because he thinks he's the president of the United States and is, therefore, some sort of moral leader. NOTHING that Obama could say would advance the cause of change in Iran.

    But second and more importantly, Mr. Pence, why not start with the Mideastern countries that are much, much less democratic than Iran, e.g., Libya, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia?

    Oh, that's right, we in the US only promote democracy in countries we don't like; if a particular country supports us, we support their brutal dictators wholeheartedly.

    June 14, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. Ken in NC

    When President Obama speaks, Republicans want him to shut up but when Republicans want to hear the war drums beating they want him to speak up and beat the drums without knowing all the facts. The late Gov. of Texas spoke of former President Bush by saying "POOR POOR GEARGE. HE WAS BORN WITH A SILVER FOOT IN HIS MOUTH". If she was alive today I think she would be speaking those words to the Republican party. They are the party of war and aggitation.

    June 14, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
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