August 19th, 2009
04:45 PM ET
9 years ago

DeMint blasts Obama's 'false promises'

South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint said Wednesday that 'there is no free lunch' when it comes to Democratic efforts on health care reform.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint said Wednesday that 'there is no free lunch' when it comes to Democratic efforts on health care reform.

MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (CNN) - South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint on Wednesday urged opponents of health care reform to stand up to the White House and "stop them cold" before they can pass a government-run health insurance option.

"The only compromise they're interested in is what type of government run type of plan," the conservative Republican said of the Obama administration. "What we know we have to do is stop them cold with a government plan so that they'll sit down and talk with the American people about how to get Americans insured."

DeMint made the comments while speaking to reporters after holding a town hall meeting in Myrtle Beach, where the senator was on friendly turf as he laid out his critique of the reform plans currently being worked out in the House and Senate. More than 400 people jammed into a Brazilian steakhouse to see the senator, and most cheered him on as he pummeled the president's plans.

Citing a CNN poll released earlier this month, DeMint said that more than 80 percent of Americans are satisfied with their health care. That same poll found that about half of Americans favor the President's health care reform agenda.

He said a government-run plan would drive private insurers out of business and reduce the quality of care and access around the country. One his primary concerns, shared by many in the crowd, was the cost of the Democratic plan. He said the president has been on a liberal "rampage" since taking office in January.

"There is no free lunch here," DeMint said. "These big promises are false promises."

After the event, DeMint told CNN that Democrats will pay a serious political price in 2010 if the White House tries to push their plan through the Senate using "reconciliation" – a maneuver that would require just 51 votes instead of a filibuster-proof supermajority.

"They are talking about changing the rules of the Senate in order to pass something they cannot pass their own way," DeMint said of the White House threat, which was floated by administration officials late Tuesday. "I think if they do that they are going to feel the wrath of the American people as no party has seen before, and I think you'll see Democrats falling in droves in the next election."

DeMint added: "I hope anyone who votes for a government takeover of health care, whether they're Republican or Democrat, loses the next election."

At a town hall near Charleston on Monday, DeMint avoided a question from an audience-member who asked if he was planning to run for president himself in 2012. On Wednesday, he made clear that he was was not. "No, I am not thinking about running for president," he told CNN.

A group of about a dozen local Democrats gathered peacefully outside the town hall to demonstrate in support of the president's plan. Some carried signs provided by Health Care for America Now, a national coalition of labor unions and liberal groups urging Congress to pass health care reform.

Jamie Sanderson, a local Democratic activists who organized the demonstration, said that if Democrats in Washington fail to pass reform, they might never have another chance to do so.

"It's about what this country is founded on, people take care of people, whether in this country or abroad," he said. "If we lose that message now, we're never going to get it back."

Filed under: Health care • Jim DeMint • President Obama
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Steve in Kentucky

    This guy is completely DeMinted!

    Probably been drinking too much Creme DeMint.

    Every time he opens his mouth it sounds like he has LaTourette's syndrome.

    August 19, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  2. Chandler

    The President is recommending a public OPTION because it would reduce prices! In some states like Alabama and North Dakota, 1 insurance company controls over 90% of the insurance market! These consumers need competition, and lobbying money is the only reason that a congressperson wouldn't stand up for a public option. When they say "government run" you know that they are bought and paid for by the insurance industry!

    August 19, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  3. ran

    No GOP there are no free lunches and you guys should know because you are sealing you soul to the highest lobbyist.

    Single payer non-profit universal health care is on its' way because:

    1. we the people want it.
    2. it is the right thing to do.
    3. you GOP will not negotiate but obstruct/lie/fear. So continue to do the same and the President and the Democrats will pass a bill without you.

    People encourage the President and the Democrats to give us single payer non-profit universal health care.

    August 19, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  4. B. Lewis in Austin

    I am convinced that the GOP in the House and Senate has a duty roster of non-descript members that they trot out to attack every one of President Obama's decisions, policies, or even thoughts. It was simply this guys turn in the barrel.

    August 19, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  5. alvino

    I wonder how many people on Myrtle Beach are without health care. I am sure that these people are well founded in the Health Care Industry, and just like DeMint.

    August 19, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  6. Chandler

    So odd that these congress people didn't have any problem when Bush spent $1.2 TRILLION in subsidies to private insurance companies! But if you direct those funds at people instead of corporations, I guess Republicans get a little scared.

    August 19, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  7. Bill

    Blaw, Blaw , Blaw just go to and type in Obama 2003 and you will see the real obama and his plan to take over the health care system.


    August 19, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "The only compromise they're interested in is what type of government run type of plan,"

    Funny, that's precisely not what Obama has said and, given the behavior of the GOP over teh past 9 years...the past year in particular...I'm pretty sure it's 100% obvious to everyone but the Limbaugh/Coulter/Hannity fanatics out there that it's the GOP who simply won't compromise on anything whatsoever. I mean, this drivel would be slightly less crazy if their leadership and strategists hadn't blabbered things like "this is his Waterloo" and "kill it." Not to mention, in order for there to be a compromise, it would require that the GOP actually propose something, so there are 2 positions from which to attempt reaching a middle ground. The only thing the GOP has done so far on this and everything else is just say NO. That's not a position from which compromise can be reached. Rather, that is an absolutist position that from which they have refused to negotiate or budge. Once again, we have a GOPer projecting the GOP's own behavior onto the Dems.

    August 19, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |

    I wonder how much money DeMint is getting from the Private Insurance Companies? So 80% of Americans are happy that these GREEDY Insurance Companies keep increasing the American people premiums every year. I THINK NOT........

    August 19, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  10. justsayno

    Senator "demented dimwitt" needs to get a grip. I hold to the truth nearly every person in his district in SC probably is the poster child for health care reform. He needs to take his confederate flag flying behind back to the woodshed where his brain obviously lies.

    August 19, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Ancient Texan

    First. Tort Reform. And close every law school in the nation. Then stop the lying about "you can keep your existing plan". Folks Private firms cannot compete with subsidised government run anything. Case in point. How much competition does AMTRAK have. Then Government Run Health will be short on Doctors and Nurses by a huge number, Thus rationing, worse than ever.

    August 19, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  12. CF

    Blah blah blah. The Republicans need to put up or shut up. This whole "whatever he is for, we are against" rhetoric is getting stale fast. Nothing but lies, misinformation, and hate spewing from their mouths.

    August 19, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  13. JS007

    Wow, looks like the insurance company thugs are really putting the squeaze on the GOP. If DeMint is so opposed to socialized medicine I dare him to introduce a bill to eliminate Medicare and the VA. Oh yeah, let's also disband the military and give the security duties to Blackwater and Halliburton now that we are at it.

    August 19, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  14. GOPer

    Please. Waterloo DeMint is interested in No compromise. Who is he kidding?

    Forget his Party of No cooperation. We tried to work with these GOPers, and they returned the same old lies, fear and obstruction. Enough.

    Pass health-care reforms with a public option. That is what Americans voted for this past election.

    August 19, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  15. SD, Michigan

    He wants to "stop them cold", eh, just like they did in 1994 with Clinton's reform proposals?
    It's official, people, this is what the GOP wants: NO reform. None whatsoever, cuz they like it as it is, for obvious reasons (money for campaings from the insurance industry).
    Now they're not even pretending anymore that they're interested in any kind of change. Thanks for clearing that up for me, Mr DeMint, and Grassley, and others...

    August 19, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. Kevin, Austin

    Time to stop compromising, that he's got right. Except that it's time for the Democrats to channel their inner LBJ and push the right plan through – one that has a public option and regulates the hell out of insurance companies.

    My personal plan (actually two) under Aetna costs $1100 per month for a young family of four. Plus $2000 deducatble, plus on 80% coverage, plus $1000 drug dedcutable.

    PLUS – they raised my rates twice this year, totaling a 30% increase. How can a self-employed person or small business predict and adjust for such outrageous increases. Then to see that my increase in premium resulted in an increase in profits for Aetna – that's just outrageous. I should be the one yelling at Health Insurance Companies.

    August 19, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  17. St. Louis

    I have lived in South Carolina and know there are lots of people there who will benefit from health reform. Obviously greed and ambition comes first for most of these "conservative" politicians who put corporations before the people.

    People, don't be fooled by the corporate agenda.............they are really only thinking of the bottom-line, not of you or any of us who make less than $100,000 a year - that's most of us, by the way.

    August 19, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  18. T'SAH from

    SO THE SENATOR SAYS .... "I think if they do that they are going to feel the wrath of the American people as no party has seen before, and I think you'll see Democrats falling in droves in the next election."

    All of a sudden he cares about the Democrats???? This is what the Party of NO want to happen...

    I think the opposite of what the Senator is stating above is going to happen... AND THAT IS WHAT HE TRULY FEARS!!!!

    Hmm... trying to use REVERSE PSYCOLOGY???? LOL

    August 19, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  19. moosehead

    Americans want health reform,... Jim DEMENTED, is a bought and paid for crooked politician. Go Obama and Co.,... the people got your back,... while De Mented got kickback.

    August 19, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  20. Ancient Texan

    Amazing! The only comments made on this board about race, are made by the Left and directed towards anyone that disagrees with the Left. Wow, Amazing.

    August 19, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  21. Lori in St Pete

    J.P., I've held a few jobs in my life, and never once have I been hired by a rich person, but by HR staff making slightly better than slave wages. Corporations aren't usually owned by one rich person, but many wealthy shareholders looking to fatten their own bottom line. But if I were looking for a job in the domestic help industry I'd be looking for a rich person to hire me. That could prove difficult though, as rich people prefer to hire illegals to look after their kids, tend the garden and clean up after their filthy selves 'cause they can abuse them with no recourse.

    August 19, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  22. howie

    I am not for Public Option, however I hope ti passes because once the public sees the results of Obama's health reform, the republicans can then take back the congress and white house. I was once a senior manager working for the government, and all I can see here is disaster.

    August 19, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. CF

    The canned soundbite I keep hearing from the right is "Obama lied" and "false promises." Exactly what did he lie about? What false promises are you referring to? Obama is doing everything he promised to do (a novel concept for a politician, I know! ..but just because all the GOP heroes have been crooks doesn't mean everyone else is!) - or at the very least he is *trying* to. The only thing standing in his way are YOU GUYS! You can't have it both ways. You can't criticize him for not accomplishing something when you're the one actively preventing him from doing so.
    GOP are spoiled children who only want their way, and to hell with everyone else.

    August 19, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  24. Get REAL

    Tort Tort Tort....

    Malpractice claims are 0.46% of all healthcare cost...less than one half of one percent. Florida has tort reform and costs have not come down a nickel. Even if you eliminated all Medical Malpractice costs it would save only 1.5% of all medical costs....a drop in the bucket. Since as a country we spend 2.6 TRILLION dollars annually on healthcare and it is estimated that jury awards cost about $3.6 Billion annually, that makes costs for healthcare about $12 more a YEAR due to jury awards.

    Tort Reform is a red herring to make it seem that the republicans care...but it DOES NOT make any difference in the costs.

    August 19, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. Don in Albuquerque

    As Barney Frank said yesterday, "What planet do you spend most of your time on Senator Demerit?" We all know where you stand and that is with serving party lines, and seeing this president defeated. It has nothing to do with serving the people or fixing problems that are huge. You and your party instead try to feed people lies, and misinformation. You play to the crazies because no one else will listen.

    August 19, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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