October 1st, 2009
01:45 PM ET
3 years ago

Pelosi: GOP has double standard in health care rhetoric debate

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped congressional Republicans Thursday for holding Democrats to a higher standard.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped congressional Republicans Thursday for holding Democrats to a higher standard.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped congressional Republicans Thursday for holding Democrats to a higher standard in the rhetoric employed in the often acidic health care debate.

"Apparently Republicans are holding Democrats to a higher level than they hold their own members," she told reporters on Capitol Hill. "If anybody's going to apologize, everybody should apologize."

Pelosi made her remarks after being asked to comment on a controversial speech made earlier this week by Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson, who said on the House floor that Republican health care plans call for sick people to "die quickly."

GOP leaders charged Grayson with crossing a rhetorical line and demanded an apology. Grayson responded by apologizing not for his remarks, but for the government's failure to enact health care reform sooner.


"I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America," he said. Grayson cited a Harvard University study released earlier this month that said 44,000 Americans die each year because they have no health insurance.

That prompted a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee to issue a stinging rebuke, saying that Grayson is "doubling down on his despicable remarks and he is dragging his party with him."

On Thursday, a top GOP legislative leader from Grayson's home state of Florida criticized Grayson for making light of the Jewish Holocaust during World War II.

"Regardless of one's position on the issue of health care reform, comparing the American health care system to the systematic murdering of over six million Jews is totally outrageous and unfit for someone holding public office," Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner said.

"Congressman Grayson should apologize to the Jewish community and the families of those whose loved ones were brutally executed. I'd also encourage Mr. Grayson to take a walk tomorrow afternoon to the U.S. Holocaust Museum so he can witness for himself just how offensive and inappropriate his statement is."

Pelosi in turn argued that Republicans regularly make statements about health care on the House floor "that relate to death." The "points have been made," she said. "Now it's time for us to keep the focus on health care."

Grayson - a Democrat who represents a central Florida swing district that includes Orlando - defended his recent remarks Wednesday on CNN's "The Situation Room."

"What I mean is they have got no plan," Grayson told Wolf Blitzer. "It's been 24 hours since I said that. Where is the Republican plan? We're all waiting to see something that will take care of the pre-existing conditions, to take care of the 40 million Americans who have no coverage at all.

"That's what I meant when I said that the Republican plan is don't get sick. And if you do get sick, die quickly."

Grayson said that Republicans he believes are obstructing health care reform are "foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals."

Calling for universal health care, he slammed "whoever it is that's causing the Republicans to fight tooth-and-nail against anything, absolutely anything."

"Those are the people who are really disserving Americans," he said.

– CNN's Alexander Mooney contributed to this report.


Filed under: Alan Grayson • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. Robert J

    Correct. I haven't herad limbaugh , palin, or boehner apologizeing for themselves, the republicans about anything including the abomidable mess they and the republicans have created. Lets get on with life Republicans, sorry if your childish egao's are hurt! Get over it!

    October 1, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. Grahame

    You may not like Nancy Pelosi personaly but she is completely right on this one. I would pay any amount of money to see her debate any issue with that running joke sarah Palin. That will never happen though, Palin would never dare

    October 1, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Rob

    Statement's pretty ironic coming from the Queen of Double Standards.

    Hey Nancy, if the healthcare scam you're trying to push on the American people is so good, why did you vote down the ammendment requiring you to also take part in it? Can't answer that one, can ya? Please let me know if you are going to try to, I need to get my boots on cuz it will get really deep.

    October 1, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  4. AustHall

    It is about time to start calling these Republican idiots out with no hesitation.

    Atta Boy, Grayson You go girl, Pelosi FIRED UP AND READY TO GO

    YES, WE WILL!!!! get healthcare reform in the USA

    October 1, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  5. LacrosseMom

    With every article on Healthcare I will post the same statistic:

    45,000 Americans die every year, because the lack healthcare.

    IF 45,000 Americans were dying every year, because of terrorist attacks, you can bet, that the Republicans would DO something about it! (like demand we nuke the Middle-east!)

    However, 45,000 Americans will die this year because they do not have access to healthcare, and the Republicans who claim to be pro-life will stand by and DO NOTHING but obstruct, reject and deny healthcare for ALL Americans who need it!

    SHAME ON THE REPUBLICANS!

    October 1, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. Anna Hansen

    AWESOME!! It's about time some Dems stopped fighting with their arms tied behind their backs and call the Republicans out for the obstructionist, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals that they are. They don't care about this country. They care about bringing down a President who opposes their narrow minded idiotic views that have brought this country to it's knees. Had last year's elections been held 6 months later, we would be in an irreversible economic depression right now, and we would have brought the rest of the world down with us. Why are we even letting them have an influence on policy when history repeatedly shows the disastrous outcome of their decisions.

    October 1, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. Reformed Republican

    When the statements are true, NEVER APOLOGIZE!

    Don't wimp out on this dems, don't wimp out. These fear mongering, lying, bought and paid for rethugs need to be called out everytime they delay health care reform with the public option.

    Fact: Americans are dying everyday that this drags on becasue they cannot afford or get health insurance coverage.

    October 1, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. rr

    The democrats took over both houses of congress in 2006 and increased their power in 2008.

    Under the leadership of Pelosi and Reid, this country went into a gigantic tailspin.

    Ask yourself this: Are you better off now than you were in 2006?

    October 1, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. Jimmy the Greek

    The House of Reps has turned into an elementary school food fight – which reflects directly on the Leadership of Nancy Pelosi.

    TIME FOR A CHANGE!!!

    October 1, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. shmeckel

    She is right about one thing, they all need to apologize. If Grayson is looking for their bills he needs to look under his feet right where the democrats threw them before they looked at them.

    Instead of regulating the industries, just set them up with little competition and let them go for 60 years unregulated. Then when the inevitable happens and they go corrupt don’t worry about fixing them just blame the problem on one aspect of the industry (in this case insurance) then what you do is every 10 years or so come up with some radical idea that will cost way too much money, that the majority of Americans will oppose (even though I am sure sniffit will clam 77% of Americas want it; which I think he got mixed up with the "who wants reform pole") this way you can sit back for another 10 years without doing your jobs.

    October 1, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. Rick in Florida

    Go Rep. Alan Grayson...at least one Dem has the nerve to say it like it is.

    October 1, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. Bob in Pa

    Ever hear the expression "lead by example". I think the house speaker should do a little of that and set an example, informing Mr. Greyson he was out of line.

    October 1, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Mississippi Man

    "Those are the people (Republicans) who are really deserving Americans," he said.
    AMEN

    October 1, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Barbara Independent in NY

    Grayson was absolutely correct! He should not apologize unless the Republicans apologize for destroying our economy and the war in Iraq.

    October 1, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. Duck Fallas

    "Death Panels?" "Obama is a Nazi?"

    Grayson is a piker when it comes to this nonsense.

    October 1, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. Chuck Anaheim, Ca.

    You go congressman! Tell the filthy repugnicans the way it is, their hypocrisy is out of control and needs to be pointed out like this daily so that the mainstream media would have to report on their constant lies and trash talk.

    October 1, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. T

    For Pete's sake, your politicians. Get rid of your BS, Dems vs Repubs rivalry and get work done. You are all Americans, or, better yet, all people, put in a position to manage, support and improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people. So, stop acting like a high school debate team and get to work. If that's too hard, then quit, and let us find someone who can and will do his/her job without pulling a Godwin's Law every hour or polarizing the entire nation just for bragging right.

    October 1, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. Bluebonnet

    Like this crazy woman would know!! Why don't you dems make her accountable for the millions she has funneled through her husband's business interests?? She is NOT your friend! You dems get what you voted for but when it comes to this extremely liberal president, that absolutely took the whole cake. Glad he will only be a 1 term pres. This country couldn't afford him for 8 years (and you thought Bush wasted/spent money).

    October 1, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. Mark

    I swear to god I will lose whatever faith I have left in the intellegence of the American people if she Pelosi is re elected.

    October 1, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  20. mike

    Nice shock collar, Nancy.

    October 1, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. Stud

    Republicans can't handle the TRUTH.

    October 1, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  22. The black Spider

    Rep. Alan Grayson is the man of the month. He spoke the truth and as usual the truth hurts. God bless his heart and give him strenght to serve the people of his district not any Greedy insurance Company.
    For those who are equating Joe Wilson's insult to this truth let me tell the difference:
    Alan Grayson waited for his turn and when Given the Ok to speak he spoke freely and publicly the truth no one has the Got to say.
    Joe wilson heckled a POTUS with a lie calling him a liar and interruption the Commander in chief in a middle of a speech in the front of the American people.
    You see the difference you morrons asking for appology?

    October 1, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  23. Mike in MN

    The queen of inflamitory rhetoric wants to talk about standards. She threw her's out the door a long time ago. She has no measurable level of standards. She sets the example for hate speech. In Pelosi's own words I am part of an un-American mob and a Nazi and am insighting hate and violence because I oppose Obamacare and out of control spending and deficits. I don't think her inflamitory rhetoric could make it anymore clear what she thinks of fellow Americans who do not agree with her.

    October 1, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. Martin Sonopel

    All the democrats need to be thrown out of office come Nov next year.

    October 1, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. Sian Rose

    Last month Democrats were in favor of euthenasia. This month Republicans want to kill sick Americans. Whatever the case; Democrats believe every American family is entitled to healthcare while Republicans believe access to routine care is an entitlement for the financially sound. While Americans Republicans and Democrats alike, suffer without proper care the people with access to the best car em oney can buy, funded by tax payers, drag their feet and pretend offense instead of actually doing something to help.

    October 1, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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