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. Lillie

    Healthcare and jobs are at the top of my list but no one ever seeks my opinion....where are the pollster folk(s)? And I detest when a response to healthcare is: This is not what the American people want....well I'm an american and I support long over-due healthcare reform! Pollsters don't speak for ME!

    March 8, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. JLM

    All the GOP care about is what going to happen in November, they don't care about anything else. All politics all the time.

    March 8, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. john in binghamton NY

    And that is all that really matter to the GOP. Winning elections the heck with America or the little people they will always be dumb enough to vote for you no matter what you do. You had 10 years to try and fix these problem and balance the budget, but you didn't even try.

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

    He's right. I like the health care bill, so that's why I'll be voting for Democrats in November. The Republicans had 8 years to do something about the problem facing America's health care, and they couldn't be bothered; they were too busy forking money over to their corporate pals and creating a financial crisis for the rest of us. And now that someone IS addressing the problem, they just complain and stand in the way. I'm tired of GOP leaders saying "voters don't like the bill." They like to say that, but that doesn't make it so: I know plenty of voters who are happy to see some reform, and I'm one of 'em.

    So, yes, the health care issue will be a factor at the polls in November... and it'll work in favor of the Democrats.

    March 8, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Sgt. USMC

    Cornyn should think about the fact that some people want reform to free us from the claws of big insurance.

    He should also realize that not everything should be a political game.

    If we get HCR done this year, it will be a victory for America. Not for Dems or Repubs, but for the families who's income gets robbed by insurance companies.

    Get over yourself and your stupid political agenda and work for us, not just your party!

    This is why the repubs have been in the toilet for so long and are now trying to bring America down with them. They only care about their party.

    March 8, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. GOP Only Cares About Getting Elected

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

    Sen. Cornball, what has your party done in the last 10 years to bring healthcare to 31 million Americans???? Absolutely nothing!!! How can you criticize the bill when your party never attempted tackling this issue. You are hypocrite sir! You'll be in for a rude awakening in November.

    March 8, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. Tony in Maine

    This would be news if Cornyn said a Health Care Act would help Democrats in 2010.

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

    It amazes me that the GOP can convince American voters that a bill which contains proposals to help them get affordable health care is somehow bad while a bill that contains tax breaks for the wealthy is somehow good for them. I'm sure they did the same thing when the Democrats passed Social Security and Medicare and how many people would like to give up those programs now?

    March 8, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. Sammie

    Yeh, with 100 or so Republican ideas incorporated into it! You are just plain lying, and the electorate has had enough of this. We want affordable health care now–not more of the same, i.e., 40% rise in premiums, 40-some million uninsured. Republicans are just plain un-American. Period.

    March 8, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. Rickster

    And the absolutely amazing thing about all of this is that a party has never had so many warnings as they stood at the proverbial fork-in-the-road. If you follow Obama & Pelosi down one path you will be massacred in the elections. If you take the path of opposing this horrible piece of legislation you will survive. And still, almost all of the dems are choosing political suicide by voting against the will of the people. This is what happens when an amateur community organizer gets elected.

    March 8, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    Whatever, Crony

    The only poll that matters is the one that put President Obama in power by a margin of 53% to 46% and no Supreme Court anointing needed!

    That is the only "poll" majority that counts, and President Obama ran on healthcare reform and now is doing just that.

    You cons lost, get used to it. your in the minority, get used to it, you are not calling the shots, get used to it,, you will just have to sit back and wait for 2012 when you get a chance to elect a white guy to "take back your country"!

    March 8, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. sonny chapman

    I thought Repubs. were the "Country First" party. Next thing we'll find out is that George W. really did pay attention to polls. "We want Obama to fail"."Health Care will be Obama's Waterloo". The Repubs. have such compassion when it comes to Middle Class America.

    March 8, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. Cynthia

    Why are all repubs harping on the Mass win with brown? Is that all they have to hold on to now? They sure as hell have nothing else because the people are sick and tired of their lying and negativity. This bozo cornyn is a prime example of what the gop stands for, nothing just scare tatics they are so pathetic and so afraid this President will succed and they don't want that. It's like their mission in life to derail anything President Obama is trying to do. Little do they know, President Obama has an ace in the hole that none of these evil republicians know about. A bunch of republician clowns.

    March 8, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. get real

    Sadly, the misinformed Fox viewers and all their hate may help the obstructionist do-nothing but lie and whine GOP party win a few seats. Just like with the fight to create medicare, eventually the people will see that the fear mongering just isn't the truth.

    March 8, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  15. Monkey wrench

    I just watched the Cavuto Report with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D) Maryland and some tea party advocates. Cavuto asked Cummings why not get rid of the issues in the Bill that made no sense and were unpopular with Americans, items that were costly, unconstitutional, etc. The response was, they have to mandate healthcare insurance for everyone because they need everyone's monies to pay for healthcare services so the insurance companies can cover those (1) that cannot afford it and (2) to cover pre-existing conditions. So bottom line is, this Bill has some good aspects that are far outweighed by the negative content, instead of doing what is right, it is being forced upon responsible hard working taxpayers to pony up once again to pay and provide for the typical Obama voters. Just so you know it, we have lost our healthcare insurance after being laid off after COBRA ran out, it still doesn't change my mind! We need REFORM but this ain't it!

    March 8, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    "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"

    With 87% of the tea gaggers voting republiklan in a two party split, obviously, those Red KKK rallies have addressed their concerns.

    March 8, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. mike

    Its sounds like the republicans are getting scared because they are
    beginning to realize that the healthcare bill will be passed and there
    tea party crap is not swaying the democrats oh well

    March 8, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. Stacie

    You are wrong, Sir! The Democrats are trying to do the right thing. Allowing Americans to die because they either don't have any or don't have enough health insurance is indecent! Mr. Cornyn is happy that some of you will die this year because you weren't able to afford the medical test or procedure you need.

    March 8, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. Scott in Atlanta

    If that's the case, why do you keep trying to obstruct it so much???

    March 8, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. John, Brooklyn, NY

    Cornyn may be right. But, its not because America doesn't support healthcare reform. Polls show that, when the actual policies are described, most people supoprt them. However, the Republicans, backed by the limitless lobbying of their cronies in the health insurance industry have scared a critical masss of people into believing that there is some form of boogey man in the White House.

    Shame on them!

    March 8, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. richard

    Why don't these people look in the mirror and see the same thing that the rest of us see: Congressmen and Senators are not the sharpest tacks in the box. They have worn out their welcome, raided the cupboards, and now it is time for ALL OF THEM to go home.

    March 8, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. Stacie

    Well said Dano!

    March 8, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  23. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    Another Red trots out the "Brown referendum" talking point.

    A bit more than 2 million people voted in that election, of that 1.1 million went to Brown and 1 million went to Coakley.

    There was no "referendum" against any agenda or health care. 97% of MA has insurance and Brown voted FOR the measure.

    100,000+ voters is not a voice for 125 million American voters.

    Except to you Reds and CNN when it reduces complex issues to sound bites such as "referendum".

    March 8, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  24. Wisconsonite - It's Not Socialism, It's SANITY

    If this is such a win/win for Republi-Won'ts why do they try everything they can possibly do to obstruct it??? All Republi-Won'ts care about is duping as many ignorant middle income voters as they can into supporting them. They don't care one bit about making the country better for those they dupe into voting for them either . . . .in fact, just the opposite!

    March 8, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. carmikal

    I'm wondering if the GOP will ever accept the FACT that Obama is the President??? My point is, will they fight and block everything that is proposed for the full 4 years? At what point will they try to get some things done? They should just give their salaries to the public because they are definitely not working. Working means,not demanding all or nothing when your the minority party! They have not at 1 time said anything good or beneficial about this bill! Maybe it's not perfect but for some reason, health care reform wasn't visited within the last 8 years. I wonder why??

    March 8, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
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