November 7th, 2009
05:45 PM ET
5 years ago

Rep. quotes infant on House floor: 'Maddie wants patient choice'

Washington (CNN) – In the midst of a heated debate on health care legislation, Rep. John Shadegg, R-Arizona, brought the cute, bald 7-month-old daughter of his Chief of Staff to the floor and gently bounced her in his arms as he expressed his opposition to the Democratic health care reform bill.

Shadegg used Maddie to illustrate how he said the Democrats’ proposal would pass debt on to her generation.

“Maddie believes in patient choice health care,” Shadegg said. “She asked to come here today to say she doesn’t want the government to take over health care, she wants to be able to keep her plan.”

Shadegg continued as the small child began playing with the foam microphone cover: “You see, Maddie knows that if this bill passes her mom’s health care goes away and won’t be around in five years. As a matter of fact, the bill says, if the bill passes, then no more health care for her mom because it has to change.

“Maddie wants patient choice. Maddie doesn’t want her mom’s premiums to go. She doesn’t want her mom’s taxes to go up by $730 billion dollars, do you Maddie? That’s too much money.”

Shadegg then did what few if any lawmakers have done before on the floor of the house: He quoted an infant. “She believes in choices, but most of all, Maddie says, ‘Don’t tax me to pay for health care that you guys want. If you want health care, pay for it yourselves. Because it’s not fair to pass your health care bill on to me and my grandchildren.’”

When Shadegg’s time ran out and California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman reclaimed control of the microphone, he said of Maddie, “That was a remarkable child,” and of Shadegg, “and a great ventriloquist.”


Filed under: Health care • Popular Posts
soundoff (227 Responses)
  1. Meez

    What about when Maddie is 16 and gets herself into a little "trouble". Will grandpa Shadegg stand up at that podium and fight for her health care FREEDOM and CHOICE to carry or terminate a pregnancy? Or is this really all about what grandpa Shadegg and his cohorts desire? It's obvious that his motives have nothing to do with Maddie's or her mother's freedom and choices.

    November 7, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  2. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    Some of our congressmen are just trash. It's amazing who can get elected sometimes.

    November 7, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  3. ronvan

    When MJ held his baby over a rail everyone went crazy. So now we have a Repuke, using a baby to get his point across, Yeah, I am sure the baby told him what to say!

    November 7, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  4. Brian Rich

    Dumbest thing I've ever heard. Worse than Palin running around with Trig for the cameras.

    November 7, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. Tim

    The liberal redefinition of lie means that when Obama said not a single dollar will go towards paying for abortion, it's not a lie.

    Change you can believe in.

    November 7, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  6. Mickey

    What Rep. John Shadegg did was truly a disgusting display of what Republicans stand for. Shadegg and his Chief of Staff should be brought up on child endangerment charges. It wouldn't surprise me if that kid doesn't have some PTSD issues as an adult from this abuse.

    GOP: Evolve or die.

    November 7, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  7. Jim

    Shadegg could have some credibility if he had said, "When you want an unjust war ... pay for it yourself. Don't borrow from the Chinese to fund it. Don't ask taxpayers who oppose it to pay for it." I don't remember Bush and Cheney giving anyone the option of opting out. The military is the largest socialist organiztion in the world.

    This baby who doesn't want to pay any taxes, better hope she doesn't have a pre-existing condition when she has to buy her own health care. Love big business or love your neighbor. You Choose.

    November 7, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  8. Pragmatic

    Too bad several years ago, the republican from Arizona didn't dandle a bomb on his knee ... warning that it Americans bought and used too many of these in Iraq ,,, our children and grandchildren would be saddled with the debt ....billions for war – nothing for improving the lives of Americans ... so sad.

    November 7, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  9. Jenn, Philadelphia

    When do they bring out the dog and pony? This show is getting ridiculous.

    November 7, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  10. mark l holland

    God, will it never end. Not only do they speak for a God who does not speak, but now they speak for a 7month baby who does not speak.

    November 7, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  11. gurarro

    Folks will do anything out of desperation. But great comeback by Waxman.

    November 7, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  12. vette gal

    More blatant lies by the republicans. If you already have health care it won't go away. You won't be forced to use government health care. If you are satisifed with your current health care, you can keep it if you so elect.

    And....how sad that they used a baby. They evidently have to use props because what they are saying is not true but false information. Maybe they should read the proposed bill so they really know what's in it instead of just listening to talking points.

    November 7, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  13. Stu Steinberg

    This is, perhaps, the lowest act of any member of Congress I have viewed in more than 50 years of paying attention to their many despicable acts. Rep. Shadegg should be censured, to be sure. However, his staff member's allowance of the use of his infant daughter to foist their right-wing beliefs is too despicable to describe. My personal belief is that using a child in this way, when her ignorance of the true reason why she was being exploited by her father and the Congressman is beyond her years, is abusive and beyond the pale. However, given the extremist views of virtually every member of the Arizona congressional delegation, I should not have been surprised at this latest act.

    November 7, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  14. Cary in NC

    Ha ha. I thought from the title of this ticker that he was talking about Pelosi. Because she's a big crybaby!

    November 7, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  15. rea

    What else would you expect coming from a republican, after all it was he that cause Maddie;s country to be in the mess it is in. To use a child like this is really low. Health Care Reform For Everyone. Obama/Biden 2010 God Bless America.

    November 7, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  16. PAUL W.

    Hmmm, given that the CBO has repeatedly stated that the Dems health care bill was self sustained and insures 36 million currently uninsured people, I'd say it is clear that the lies just keep coming from the Republican'ts. Truth yet again has a liberal bias.

    November 7, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  17. Kevin B

    The GOP has always been a bunch of cowards when it come to what is best for average americans. It took Mr Obama to come in and attempt to what we all know is the right thing to do.

    Enough of the greedy, selfish, cowardly, "fake" christian GOP chicken hawks.

    Pass this legislation now.

    November 7, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  18. James

    That has to be one of the most shameful things I've seen in a long, long time.

    November 7, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  19. terry,va

    That's reality folks. The people for this bill are people that want handouts at the expense of those that work and the future generations of those that work.

    November 7, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  20. aa

    wow GOP is full oh sh** now they are using their babies to stop health care bill.... bunch on nut heads

    November 7, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  21. Rachel

    I can't wait for that child to grow and be able to speak for herself... "I wish I could afford healthcare – too bad we fought over politics and speaking points for months until we killed our chance at low-cost healthcare for all!"

    November 7, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  22. Kevin B

    How typically Republican..............Hiding behind the children. Every last republican in congress is a coward.

    November 7, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  23. melissa

    This whole thing has turned into such a farce.

    November 7, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  24. EmilyNC

    1) I am disgusted that a congressman would use a freaking baby as a prop.

    2) The babytalk explains a lot.

    3) Maddie wants a clean diaper and a meal. Maddie doesn't give a rat's behind about healthcare reform, any more than my cat does.

    November 7, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  25. Plinking Reality

    Either he is a mind reader or a liar. Maybe Rep Shadegg can read my mind about now while he denies millions the choice for a public option that they can also turn down if it is as bad as Republicans say. Rep Shadegg voted for a 6.5 trillion dollar defense plan but won't vote for a 730 billion dollar bill to give us health care? (since we want to talk about the numbers in 10 year projections, let's talk about all budget issues in 10 year projections so that we can be comparing apples to apples)

    November 7, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10