December 20th, 2009
04:22 PM ET
9 months ago

State of the Union: John King's Crib Sheet for December 20

In his Crib Sheet, CNN's John King looks back at Sunday's talk shows and ahead to the topics that will be making news this week.
In his Crib Sheet, CNN's John King looks back at Sunday's talk shows and ahead to the topics that will be making news this week.

A confident White House voiced optimism Sunday that President Obama’s signature domestic initiative – health care reform – was “way deep in the red zone” and brushed off criticism from liberals that the administration was too quick to give in to demands from the centrist and conservative Democrats.

Republicans, on the other hand, vowed to try to block final passage despite the Democratic advantages in both the House and Senate. And as they challenged the Democratic health care math as “Enron-style accounting,” said promised deficit reduction would never materialize.

One, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, went as far as saying the tone and tenor of the health care debate was poisoning the political environment and reducing the likelihood Republicans would be able to work with the Obama White House on other issues.


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on CNN’s “State of the Union”

“This health care proposal has made it very hard for Republicans to sit down at the table with these guys because of the way they’ve run over us. But at the end of the day, we’ve got more problems than just health care. I want to help solve hard problems. This health care bill has made a hard problem worse.”

And Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska – the man who gave Democrats the critical 60th vote – joined us in an exclusive interview Sunday to answer critics in the anti-abortion movement who say what he calls reasonable compromise is instead a major setback for their cause.”

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“What they haven’t said is that we tried to pass the Stupak language earlier in the Congress last week, and it was called the Nelson-Hatch-Casey bill. It didn’t get enough votes. So the choice was do nothing or try to do something in case Stupak is not – that language doesn’t hold up in the conference report.”

The Copenhagen climate talks were another Sunday flashpoint: the administration acknowledged the deal brokered fell far short of his goals but said it was a positive step and critical to keeping some momentum on a difficult issue. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the lesson of Copenhagen, to them, was that state and local governments needs to move aggressively to deal with climate change and not wait for any help or direction from Washington or the United Nations.

“To me it is about jobs, not polar bears,” was Senator Graham’s colorful framing of how he views the climate change debates.

There was a fair share of year-end political analysis as well, including this from senior presidential adviser David Axelrod: “People have a right to be grouchy.”

We hope a good mix of the Sound of Sunday leaves you anything but:

HEALTH CARE POLICY
White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“We are deep in the red zone, and we are right on the one yard line. That doesn't mean that we are in. Once the Senate passes this bill obviously there is work to be done. The house has its version and the senate has its version, and they have to agree and we have to go through one more round. I have no doubt the Republican leadership will try and throw procedural barriers in the way as they have for the last several months. But I think there is a will to get this done.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“’The Class Act’ that allows long term health care insurance to be subsidized by the government and offered by the government is a Ponzi scheme in the first order that Madoff would have been proud of. It's still in the bill. Any democratic senator that votes for the bill is a coconspirator to one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in Washington.”

Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean (D-VT) on NBC’s “Meet the Press”
“We are all in the same family, but this is a serious business. We have seen, essentially, a destructive political process in Washington where the insurance company lobby essentially wrote a good piece of this bill. Now, I will admit that they have pulled back in this past week there are some things in this bill that weren't in there a week ago that make it a better bill, but this can't be the final version of this bill.”

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) on “Fox News Sunday”
“This is a bill that does reduce the deficit according to the independent expert. This is a bill that expands coverage to 30 million people. This is a bill that will begin to control the cost explosion, has got critically important insurance reforms, delivery system reforms. So those who say 'Kill the bill,' I think they've really missed the boat.”

Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“I think the issue now for us is not what the President wants, it's what the Pat, John, and Athenia and Joe who are members of ours need, and what Athenia does everyday is take care of people in her home, she make $9.25 an hour, she has no health care. Pat and John lost their ranch in Montana because of health care bills, this bill has to address people like that, people in your audience, and that's what we're concerned about.”

HEALTH CARE POLITICS
White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod on CNN’s “State of the Union” on whether President Obama is keeping its campaign promise to change the back door deal-making in Washington
“Every senator uses whatever leverage they have to help their state. That's the way it has been and that's the way it will also be. They are actively trying to advocate for their state. And McConnell made the same statement on the floor after having included $75 million of earmarks in the bill that he just voted against. For Kentucky. So you know, that is part of the system. People want their legislators to advocate for their states. You say, does it represent change? The change is that we are fighting an insurance industry that killed health care reform for generations.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-New York City) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“The other thing that leaves me worried is when I talk to congressmen and senators and say ‘what's in the bill,’ none of them really know. It has gotten so big and taken so long and has so many different versions out there, that I don't know how you can intelligently decide whether to vote for it or not if you don't know what it's going to do.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on “Fox News Sunday”
“The President of the United States said when running we would have a new way of doing business in Washington, there would be change, he would negotiate across the table, we'd have the C-SPAN cameras in and obviously with their majorities and I understand majorities, they decided to govern from the left and without Republican participation. That's why they're in a position of having to purchase the last vote or two.”

NELSON AND THE SEARCH FOR 60

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) on CNN’s “State of the Union” responding to criticism that he enjoys being in the spotlight as the one lawmaker with the leverage
“I couldn’t create the opportunity to be the 60th vote. It happened. And to them, I would say, look, if you think it’s fun having both sides on an issue mad at you when you’re trying to do something in good faith, just think, it’s like going home and getting hit by the family dog.”

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“I don’t take my marching orders from a party or a group or any other entity. And as in this case, I put together what I thought was appropriate and I’m sorry that both sides didn’t enjoy it. And that’s the way it works.”

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) on CNN’s “State of the Union” on what would cause his to reverse his decision to support the health care bill
“I don’t want to lay down – throw down the gauntlet here or lay out – make a bright line or anything like that. But I think you always know material changes. Something that would change the paradigm from where it is. I suppose putting in a public option would do it.”

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) on CNN’s “State of the Union” on the issue of the health care changes not taking effect until 2014.
“The majority of this doesn’t take effect until sometime in the future. It’s part of the reason it’s paid for the way that it is. And the criticism is there. It’s valid. But on the other hand, you have to move into this incrementally, I believe, in order to make it work.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“It was meant to be strong… principled compromise sold as a principled solution to an emotional problem like abortion that’s fallen flat. Enron accounting techniques – everything that people were upset with about Washington has gotten worse. And this bill personifies the worst of Washington.”

Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“I think what we have is a set of rules that are really all wrong in the Senate, they're not about debate, they're not about letting American people have a Senate to make hard decisions, they're about one human being able to stand up and thwart change. I don't think that's what people voted for, I think they're getting enormously frustrated in the lack of change, and I think that a lot of that problem goes right back to the Senate.”

COPENHAGEN FALLOUT
White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“This is a great step forward. China, India, they set goals. We will be able to review what they are doing and challenge them if they don't meet the goals. We will pursue this anyway, because the president understands our future lies with renewable energy. Now the Chinese, the Indians and the other major economies are coming along. This is the result of his(President Obama’s) strong leadership.”

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) on CNN’s “State of the Union” on whether China will keep its commitment to reduce greenhouse gases
“I think it is always important, trust, but verify, as Ronald Reagan always said. But I think , at the same time, one should acknowledge that China is already doing great things.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-New York City) on CNN’s “State of the Union” on whether the U.S. can afford to tackle climate change during a recession
“People say you can’t do it in this kind of an environment because the economy is suffering. I would argue that’s exactly the time when you have got to do it. And New York is a classic example. Back in the ‘70s we had a tough economy. We walked away from investing in infrastructure. It took us decades to recover.”

POLITICAL POTPOURRI
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) on CNN’s “State of the Union” grades President Obama’s first year in office
“When it comes to effort, he should get a straight ‘A.’ I think that he is out there with tremendous energy and he's selling his ideas. And he has great enthusiasm there. He is a great speaker, a great communicator in all of this. And I think that it is very tough the first year when you get in there and you have a very partisan kind of a, you know, Congress and it's very difficult to get things done there.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-New York City) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“I'd give him a pretty high grade. I hate to use letters, but this guy is working very hard and trying and he has got enthusiasm and drive. And I would just urge him to don't - if he doesn't get everything he wants, don't get beaten down, don't go back into your shell.”

White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod on CNN’s “State of the Union” on President Obama’s sliding job approval numbers
“The president has had to make a lot of tough decisions to try and rescue our economy from collapse, to move this country forward… but people have a right to be grouchy. There’s 10 percent unemployment. These are tough times and one thing I can assure you though: the numbers the president is looking at aren’t these numbers.”

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and happy holidays!

–John King

Note: The Crib Sheet will be taking a Christmas break next Sunday but will return on January 3rd.


Filed under: Energy • Health care • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. vette gal

    What is Graham talking about? There's never been a likelihood that the republicans would work with anything on Obama's agenda. All they can do is say NO and not offer any solutions. They are holding our country back in the dark ages which is when most of them were born.

    December 20, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  2. ran

    The Republicans have no intention of working with President Obama or the Democrats on any issue.

    They are hoping that they will regain power in 2010 and 2012 by obstructing everything. They do not care about the people or this country only power and their own self interest.

    They are in for a rude awakening because they will lose not gain in 2010 and 2012 because we will not go back to fear, hate, party over people, special interest over people, have Government tell us who we can marry or what we do to our own bodies or to whom and where we pray.

    People vote for either a true Democrat or Independent in 2010 and 2012 our Nation's own existion demands it.

    December 20, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  3. Common Cents

    The American People: "We want CHANGE!"

    Obama: "Okay, how about we change our healthcare system?"

    The American People: "That would be great!"

    Obama (One year later): "Okay, here it is: A healthcare reform bill!"

    The American People: "Uh, so soon?!? We don't want that!"

    Obama (Scratching head): "Huh?!?"

    December 20, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  4. Aunt Bea and Opie

    When ever we see or hear the name John King,all we can think about is the word "Dork".

    December 20, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  5. TOTUS

    This bill is a Democrat porkulous of biblical proportions that does everything it should NOT be doing (costing the people a unimaginable fortune of debt and taxes) and not doing anything it SHOULD be doing (tort reform; insurance competition from other states, etc.).

    Attention Loony Dem government: get the heck OUT of our lives!

    December 20, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  6. ma19

    I know God would work with President Obama, I know victory is at his door step. The republicans are mad, because this Bill will pass before the big holiday, some people felt to recognize that God is at work but using President Obama, He gave him the wisdom, knowledge, the kindness, and even when some of you people try so hard to break him, you're felt, because God makes him strong and he will get strongest. Mr. Obama is one of the Presidents that have millions and millions of people praying for him everyday in the World, do you guys think God will felt us who are praying for our President. Do you people remember when he went to Israel while he was campaigning and some nosy person stole his note? He asked God to give him wisdom, just like King Solomon did. So that is what God gave him wisdom to lead his people.

    Grace and Peace,

    MS for President Obama,

    December 20, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  7. Karon

    That sure is funny – I thought it was that Senator Lindsey and the GOP party's tone & tenor is the ones that are RUINING the ability to get anything done in Congress! They sure loved it when Bush would ram things through but of course,. that was the GOP doing it so it was different!

    December 20, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  8. Freeman

    To all those republicans who want Obama to fail..it's not about you but the country. Grow up. It's been almost a year and we still have a black President. Get over it!

    December 20, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
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