December 20th, 2009
04:22 PM ET
7 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. mavcal

    I hope this mismash health care reform – Obama's "signature domestic initiative" (what the heck does that mumbo jumbo supposed to mean?) fails – the reason because then the American people will have to hear the braggat Obama, brag for the next 3 years until he is voted out of office for jamming legislation down everyone's throat to appease his massive ego. This reform is all about Obama and his image. Just listen to his words – it's all about him, him, him.

    December 20, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. WAW

    Lindsey... its hard to get run over when you ain't at the track... when you hadn't been at the table, you got no room to complain about the service!!!

    December 20, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. Hendrik

    John King, the Republican shill. Has been that way along with his wife Dana Bash. He has covered Republicans since way back.

    He'll fit in well where Lou Dobbs left off.

    Clown!!

    December 20, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  4. Geoff

    The republicans said NO to EVERYTHING, without providing any positive suggestions and NOW they say the atmosphere is poisoned?

    I like former President Clinton's suggestion: "Ignore the Republicans" Obama will do what's best for the country. We already know they NEVER have, and never will!

    December 20, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    What Graham and other Republicans are really saying is lets go back in time because when they had their chance they recognize they've done nothing. Graham and his buddies did exactly what GWB wanted them to do because they were cowards then and cowards now and that's why GWB taught them to say YES 100% of the time.

    December 20, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  6. GI Joe

    Ignore the naysayers – after all, their PLAN is for President Obama's Waterloo, NOT for anything to help this country (unless it's another WAR).

    December 20, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  7. Eric

    To Mr Graham and Mr. McCain - if you had perhaps sat down at the table, you night have a valid complaint, but you didn't .

    To Mr Graham - could you please explain your understanding of a Ponzi scheme and explain us how the health care bill qualifies. Throwing around pop-terms undermines your credibility.

    December 20, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  8. NC

    Senator Graham knows that the only thing republicans have worked with President Obama on is sending more troops to Afghanistan. The republican party of NO will not help Americans have a better quality of life. Republicans like to build schools, roads and hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not in America. There is an area in York County S.C. that is poverty stricken, no electricity, no water or sewer. It is called Blacktown Rd. There is extreme poverty and unemployment in some areas 15-25% in S. C. Senator Graham does not care that the citizens in his state live in deplorable conditions. All he does is grandstand in D. C., what a hypocrite he is, so is Senator DeMint and that stupid Congressman Joe Wilson. CNN please take a trip to S. C. and let the country see how people live.

    December 20, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. Hammerer

    I think that the threat of wait until the 2010 election is a joke to the 60 politicans that have agreed to pass the bill. They will be back because they will buy the voters as they have for years and promise to change the other members next time.
    Until people get enough and get seroius the same old people will rape the same suckers and made them like it.
    It is past time to stop talking and take a stand.

    December 20, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  10. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    For the GOP to envoke anything "Enron" is incredible. You guys wouldn't investigate or stop Enron despite the warnings, and then allowed the chief thieves there to keep most of what they stole. But, you would hang that moniker on a party that is actaully trying to clean up after you and Bush? Incredible!!!!!

    December 20, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. Preston kathy

    Pkm i believe both parties should wait until march first to vote on health care i do not like cuting programs that will hurt people and i do not like it if you fool around with my medical plan mr obama you need all the support you can get

    December 20, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. Dane

    who are they kidding the GOP has never intended to work with this President. I don't like this health care bill either, it smacks of nonsense, , I think we should vote all of them out both parties and start over.

    December 20, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  13. W l Jones

    Write your Senators and Congress person to past a law to "bar" all health care for the wealth as well as the poor. A person been their ,made it buy the skin of his parent teeth.

    December 20, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  14. joel palmer

    As the Democrats notch another signature program to go with Social Security and Medicare, the gop is left in stunned disbelief that a program that will benefit nearly every single American will have only their unyielding opposition. Voters will remember at the elections who was on the side of the people and who was on the side of big business. Thjey are absolutely panicked at the thought that they have been sucker punched a third time by those wily democrats. The gop will sweep the "insurance company CEO" vote; democrats will get everyone else! In 2010 the dems will pick up 2-3 senate seats and a dozen in the house.

    December 20, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  15. S Callahan- God IS helping America!

    "These are tough times and one thing I can assure you though: the numbers the president is looking at aren’t these numbers.”

    Now, that is a SCARY comment....and no explanation to boot!

    December 20, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  16. terry,va

    The CBO has already adjusted their Enron style accounting for costs in the proposed bill. The also say the the cuts in Medicare will not take place and therefore the bill will costs billions and not reduce the deficit. Medicare has never been cut. The dumbocraps just separated a Medicare payout from the health care bill to the tune of 200 plus billion. What's the state of the union? Obummie and his lot are bigger LIARS than Nixon, Clinton and Bush put together.

    December 20, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  17. JMikey54

    The party of no just wants the power back. They will do or say anything to get control of congress back. Never mind that they ran our country into a ditch with their policies. All they can see is that if the democrats do what we elected them to do it will make them look bad when things start getting better. It will prove them wrong if the democrats succeed. So this is why they are using delay tactics and saying no to everything. It is all about power and they are trying to get it back, regardless of the harm it could cause to American citizens. The conservatives are disgraceful.

    December 20, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  18. Audrey in Georgia

    I believe the negative likelihood of republicans working with Obama is
    solidified with their overwhelming zero votes. Graham, nothing has changed for you guys, meanwhile the country is moving on without
    your support, like it or not.

    December 20, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  19. carol

    since the gop strategy has been entirely to block any efforts or any success by the current administration, there never was any hope that they would work with the democratic majority on this or any other significant issue. i am tired beyond words of listening to them whine. they had eight years. they did nothing but create problems. now they are being as obstructionist as they can manage in order to prolong those problems, rather than working across the aisle to help solve them, hoping that the voters will forget that the republicans caused them in the first place. it would be really nice if the party of no would step up to be the party of at least maybe sometimes, and would remember that there are millions of citizens out there whose interests they are supposed to represent.

    December 20, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  20. not alone

    Why is it this king guy only talks to old white folks,I would like to hear other points of view on his show.

    December 20, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  21. Preston kathy

    Pkm i want to tell you what the gop thinks quote when the big hurricane hit louisiana barbara bush was on cnn news she was asked what do you think of the poor people still liveing in tents or wrecked houses with no pure drinking water no food barbara said they never had any thing before why should they have any thing now am i missing some thing

    December 20, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  22. Big-K(DC)

    Lindsey is delusional, the Repug have been working against President Obama and the Democrats since the elections even his fellow Senator from back woods SC said he hope Obama fail and they have been doing everything so far to acheive that however, without sucess. They will continue to be a part of the right wing zealots and tea baggers. The American people can see under your hood and are well aware of the repugs intention.

    December 20, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  23. C Spurgeon

    The Republicans aren't going to work with Obama under any circumstances. They are way to deep into politics to even consider country first. Shame on the Republican party.

    December 20, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  24. nika4

    All the Republicans can offer are whining, complaining and naysaying. They were never at the table to begin with, so why complain now? I am sick of listening to their nonsense. We just endured eight years of the most arrogant, ignorant and dangerous administration this nation has ever known...so, those of you who don't like it that Obama is President....too BAD! Suck it up.

    December 20, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  25. gloria cunningham

    every thing that obama try to change', the wrong thats been done to americans, people like lieberman and graham trys to blind us

    December 20, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
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