March 8th, 2010
03:32 PM ET
5 years ago

Cornyn says health care to boost GOP at polls

John Cornyn said Monday that health care will be the ‘number one issue that the election is won or lost on in November.’
John Cornyn said Monday that health care will be the ‘number one issue that the election is won or lost on in November.’

Washington (CNN) - The Democratic push for health care reform this year will translate into significant GOP gains at the ballot box regardless of whether or not a bill actually passes, according to the Republican senator overseeing his party's efforts to retake the chamber in November.

"Democrats think by passing the bill they'll be able to get it behind them and change the subject to something else like jobs," said Texas Sen. John Cornyn at a news briefing Monday. "But this will do the opposite. This will make sure that health care is the number one issue that the election is won or lost on in November."

Cornyn is the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate GOP's campaign arm.

"There's two reasons why the voters don't like the bill," he said. "One is that they're not convinced that it will do as the president said, bring down the costs. Number two, the way the Senate bill was constructed, behind close doors with no transparency and with all of these sweetheart deals, has rendered it fairly toxic."

Cornyn cited the Democratic handling of the health care issue as a top reason why Republicans are running strong races for eight seats currently held by Democrats in Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania.

"It's pretty clear to me that the president and Democrats have learned nothing from what happened in Massachusetts," said Cornyn in reference to the January special election in which Republican Scott Brown won the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat in the heavily Democratic state.

Coryn attributed that victory to "the arrogance that many across the country feel is being exercised here in Washington of elites that will not listen to what voters want and what voters are saying but are determined to jam it down their throats whether they like it or not."

He added, "I think it puts us in a very good position come November 2010."

Cornyn also said that the conservative Tea Party movement could be a positive force for the party in the mid-terms if its concerns are addressed properly.

"I think it's important that their energy and enthusiasm be channeled into the primary process, and then ultimately it's about nominating the strongest candidate to run against the Democrat in November," he said. "I think third-party races are not good."

One race where Cornyn expressed relatively tepid support for the NRSC-endorsed candidate was in Florida, where Gov. Charlie Crist is fighting an increasingly bruising primary fight with conservative former state House Speaker Marco Rubio.

Cornyn described the process of how he and the NRSC came to recruit and endorse Crist early last year when the governor was still the prohibitive front-runner.

"I looked around to see who was the most popular Republican in the state and somebody who was a good fundraiser, and that was Charlie Crist. And selfishly, given the limited resources we have and the national scope of our responsibilities here, I didn't want to have to spend any money in Florida if we didn't have to, so Charlie Crist seemed like the ideal candidate," said Cornyn.

Crist continued: "This had nothing to do with Marco Rubio, who I subsequently met and have a lot of respect for. So I think our posture here is I endorsed Gov. Crist early on, really before this became a real contest. I'm not going to do anything to change that, I think I'm honor-bound to leave it as it is. But it doesn't mean we're going to be spending any money in the primary. It doesn't mean we're going to be saying anything bad about Marco Rubio. To the contrary, I think Marco Rubio, if he wins the nomination, will beat [possible Democratic nominee] Kendrick Meek."


Filed under: 2010 • Florida • John Cornyn • NRSC
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. john in Cal

    All the years the GOP were in power–nothing, They are the true enemies of this country. Let's give them a boost out the door, and let's take back their retirement bennies. Let them live like a common American. Kick the bums out. They lie like a used car salesman. Kick the bums out. they are as slick as a flim flam man. Kick these bums out.

    March 8, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Liz

    Bassackward republican't thinking at its best! these clowns live in a completely alternate universe! the Democrats are attempting to do something positive for the American people and the party of NO is doing everything it can to stop them. a lot of the so-called 'opposition' to this bill is people believing all the lies the rethuglicans have been spewing ever since the debate started. we put Obama in to accomplish this kind of positive change, and if the Democrats in congress get it done despite ovewhelming oppositon from folks in the pockets of the insurance companies and some rogue DINOs who need to be honest and switch parties, they will be rewarded in November.

    March 8, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. Larry

    John the Croney for the republican party. Any person with a heart would be for health care reform. Those who are against health care reform have a sickness that can never be healed by modern medicne in any event.

    March 8, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. Rick in AZ

    If Health Care Reform proposed by the Democrats will hurt the Democrats in November, why are the Republicans so adamantly opposed to it?

    March 8, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. steve

    Please don't be moved by disingenuous 11th hour interests by Republicans to help the American people with health care costs. They made it as plain as day for all to understand during the Bush years. If you have a health care problem and don't have insurance, go to the emergency room – they have to treat everyone, regardless of ability to pay. Problem is, they never considered preventative medicine or follow-up when dishing out this distasteful advice. Republicans have always thought that they speak for the American people since the American people were dumb enough to vote for them for so many years. Americans have caught on to their charade of killing the Clinton health care bill, gaining the White House and doing nothing about it for 8 years, then desperately trying to kill the Obama health care bill.

    March 8, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. CHANGE.COM

    You are wrong, Coryn! I am a small business owner who is unable to provide insurance for me or my family or my employees. I would like to expand but that will mean working more hours and risking HBP and who know what may happen? Fact is, it is a shame that the public option was not enacted. But doing nothing while insurance companies continue to deny coverage and make billions in profit is unconscionable. Why don't all of you republicans give up your government-sponsored health care?

    March 8, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. sensibloe Cape Coral FL

    Can some one PLEASE tell me why Republicans hate people so much? If only they loved people as much as they love war, this would be a far better country,

    March 8, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Keep drinking that ClusterFaux Kool-Aid John....hmmm tastes good but it's all artificial and not good for you.

    March 8, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. R

    Sir, the only reason why YOU are bringing this up is because YOUR party is thinking about election, not the people.

    March 8, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  10. maf

    More Republican blah, blah, blah. . . the party of NO is so transparent in their disregard for anything other than hoping their tactics of fear and obstruction prove fatal to the President!

    The people are smarter than you think GOP. Can't wait for mid-terms!

    March 8, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. Marty, FL

    Democratic/Independent legislators need to wake up. My former GOP is going to use Sen. Cornyn's lies regardless...I know, "shocking."

    These Republicans have sadly become drunk with their never-ending quest for entitled power & learned nothing from 2006/08. GOP "leaders" could not care less about negotiating hrc in good faith, no matter how bipartisan, transparent & inclusive of their ideas already (i.e. tort reform, insurance over state lines, mandate, etc.).

    Enough of the ongoing nonsense. It is past time to approve health care for the American people!

    March 8, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. Charlie in Maine

    "Democrats think by passing the bill they'll be able to get it behind them and change the subject to something else like jobs

    No You see that is where the GOP is dead wrong. The Dems would be foolish to let this issue get away. All they have to do is show some backbone and pass it, and then paint your crew as those who tried to block it.

    March 8, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. Jackalope

    Thing is... these right wing Republican teabagger types live in their own echo chamber, with FOX 'news" as the amplifier. They seem to be blissfully unaware that there are tens of millions of tax-paying Americans who vehemently disagree with them.

    Ever notice how their official GOP politically-correct talking points have them saying "the American people believe this" and "the American people want that"? Truth is, if they were really in touch with the American people, they wouldn't have taken such losses in the last few election cycles.

    March 8, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. elaine

    We could stop foreign aid for one year and give Americans free health care for 5 years. We are worried about propping up every Democracy except our own. The money that we have wasted on Pakistan in the last 6 years would have gone a long way in helping to pay for health care and the most important thing that no one has yet talked about – family planning. Why have children that you know you can't afford and the country can't afford. This "God will provide" ideology is killing hard working Americans. I didn't have any children because I simply could not afford them. Now I have to help pay for your insurance policy in old age which is your 7 children.

    March 8, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. greenfish

    OOOoooo, Mr. Cronyn, I'm so scared of the boogie-man. Pass the dang bill and let's move on.

    March 8, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. You can not be serious

    So, pass the Health Care Reform and you will not be elected in November. Is it all about being elected Dear Senator. Shame on you and your thugs party. You care more about the elections than for millions of Americans who go at night to sleep being afraid of going bankrupt. You sir are a disgrace of the office that you hold. How about we take the health insurance for all of our representatives? Then we can fire them. Shame on you.

    March 8, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. Dee

    Don't expect me to vote for you. You ran this country for almost 8 years and I didn't see anything for the middle class citizen. You put this country into a recession (which we are still trying to get over). I lost my job under your watch. You have been fighting this President since he took office. You act like it is horrible that the Democrats would consider reconciliation. Check to see how many time you Republicans have used it. Something tells me it is alot more than the Democrats. About 8 times more. The only reason you are coming out so much is that you think you have a chance in 2010. NOT WITH ME YOU DON'T.

    March 8, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. Marie MD

    If the obstructionist pasty stopped putting bumps on the road for anything and everything President Obama wants to do and come up with ideas of their own I would probably listen to them.
    As it stands, the old guy who got brought us the quitter from AK, mcconnel from KY whom I keep confusing his face with his backside and the dimwit's mesage that health care would be President's Obama's Waterloo says it all.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way!!!

    March 8, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. lilalove

    Scott Brown stole a lot of republican thunder. Democrats don't have a filibuster proof majority. There is little danger that democrats will get any where near everything they want. The health care bill that passes will end up reducing the deficit and helping those in need while lowering insurance prices or most Americans. People no longer will have to fear being dropped if they come down with cancer or any other costly treatment. The GOP can spook America as long as they keep the reform from passing. Once it passes and starts to bring down cost for small business and most Americans and they see that it's safe... then the GOP looks as silly as they did when they called FDR a socialist. Ignorance and fear is what the GOP sells when it comes to social programs. That said, it would be great if the GOP acted as an honest broker when it comes down to cutting cost on big government programs. Making them stream line and with modern upgrades would end up saving tax payers a lot of money in the long run.

    March 8, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  20. Aspen Professor

    Meanwhile, health care costs go up beyond belief as Republicans sit on their dead butt and do nothing! Unless of course I missed their health care "action" when good ole Bushy an Dicky were in office?

    March 8, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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