Washington (CNN) – Red state-blue state governors Rick Perry and Martin O’Malley debated job creation and healthcare on Wednesday, with Perry equating adding people to Medicaid via Obamacare with “putting tens of thousands on the Titanic knowing how it’s going to turn out.”
Both men are thought to be contenders for the White House in 2016 and on CNN’s “Crossfire,” they aired out some of the key issues that are likely to define their campaigns should they run.
Perry has been noncommittal about his plans to pursue the Republican nomination for a second time after the Texas governor’s campaign imploded last year. He showed none of the hesitation of 2012 on Wednesday night however, hammering home points about Texas job creation through limited government policies.
Ex-advisers hint at future as Perry announces exit as governor
When challenged on the disproportionately large number of minimum wage jobs created in Texas along with the large number of Texans without health insurance, Perry stuck to his talking points.
“We’re about giving people freedom,” Perry said, the freedom to have a job and the freedom to choose whether or not they have health insurance.
Perry continually cited the businesses that have set up shop in Texas, including Amazon, Facebook and Toyota.
“They didn’t come there if they were worried about whether or not there was not going to be a skilled workforce, or people were going to have healthcare,” Perry said.
Perry and O’Malley clashed most sharply over jobs, in large part spurred by Perry’s media outreach aimed at poaching Maryland businesses.
In response to Texas’ business-friendly environment, O’Malley fell back on job-creation language coined by President Barack Obama.
Rather than Texas policies that seem to disproportionately create minimum wage jobs, Maryland has chosen to focus on “building an economy from the middle out,” O’Malley said, via things like improving education.
2016 watch: O'Malley New Hampshire bound
O’Malley, a Democrat, told Perry that Texas is “not an economy that is actually lifting up the middle class.”
The two came at their different positions with radically different statistics and perspectives.
O’Malley spoke of talent creation and entrepreneurship encouraged in Maryland while Perry trumpeted improving education standards and the various options Texans have for healthcare, although he didn’t elaborate.
Texas and Maryland have also taken polar opposite views on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature legislative achievement better known as Obamacare.
O’Malley has continued to hold up Maryland’s early adoption of Obamacare while Perry has refused federal money to expand Medicaid via the healthcare law.
Perry argued that expanding Medicaid and embracing Obamacare would ultimately end up costing Texas $100 billion.
Putting “tens of thousands of people on a system that is broken,” Perry said of adding them to Medicaid, is akin to “putting tens of thousands on the Titanic knowing how it’s going to turn out.”
In turn, O’Malley argued that the flexibility of the Obamacare healthcare exchanges that get underway next month, regardless of the inevitable hiccups in the system, will offer Maryland workers a competitive advantage – allowing them to move from job to job without worrying about losing their health insurance.
Bob Dole: In 1996, while running for the Presidency, Dole openly bragged that he was one of 12 House members who voted against creating Medicare in 1965. “I was there, fighting the fight, voting against Medicare . . . because we knew it wouldn’t work in 1965.
Ronald Reagan: “If you don’t stop Medicare and I don’t do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.” 
Prior to Medicare, “about one-half of America’s seniors did not have hospital insurance,” “more than one in four elderly were estimated to go without medical care due to cost concerns,” and one in three seniors were living in poverty. Today, nearly all seniors have access to affordable health care and only about 14 percent of seniors are below the poverty line.
The Republicans are saying the same things about Obamacare. Their philosophy, don’t try it, you won’t like it.
What Perry is too dumb to understand is that the cost of the freedom NOT to have health insurance (not sure who would NOT want health insurance) is made at the expense of people who CANNOT AFFORD IT!!!!! People need medical treatment whether or not they come from a rich family. To allow people to be uninsured just because a few arrogant tea party types want the "freedom to not have any health insurance" is INSANE. Those extremist views are so outdated. Look at Britain, Germany, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, EVERY other deeveloped nation has mandatory health insurance. It is there for a reason. The health of its citizens should be a governemts TOP priority.
Just because you wear glasses to a debate doesn't make you a scholar.
Obamacare is a trainwreck, id rather do with NO health insurance, or get a job (like i have) and pay for it. I am not going to be dependent on the government like he wants people to be! Perry is right, its a ship just waiting to sink. >>Coming October 1st.
I don't understand. So Obamacare is this monolithic revenue generating powerhouse destined to hold the spot of the of one of the top grossing movies of all time? Mr. Perry, I'm sorry I just don't understand your metaphor
Funny how Perry calls Medicaid the Titanic, when he is the ships captain and steering right for the iceberg.
Rick Perry, seriously? Pee Wee Herman wasn't available? A ludicrous, wet-brain stumblebum blathering about stuff that's over his head to please his handlers. Next, let's get Katy Perry to explain micro-economics.
What Perry calls "freedom" is, in reality, shackles. Shackles to poverty and early death due to a lack of preventive care. It amazes me how easily certain politicians buy into truth distorting euphemisms. Don't pay any attention to the man behind the curtain.
Perry has already sunk by sailing into his own icebergs.
Nobody ever talks about the millions of uninsured who DO NOT EVEN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MEDICAID, to which they are fully entitled under the current system.
For all the chest-beating done by the liberals in power, it's pretty amusing when you consider the impoverished souls they speak up for don't even want free health insurance today.
"Obamacare is a trainwreck, id rather do with NO health insurance, or get a job (like i have) and pay for it." If you already have insurance though your job, nothing is going to change. If you decide to not have any insurance and just play the 'indigent card' if you need a hospital, you'll have to pay extra at tax time. Sounds as if someone's been blowing smoke at you and you inhaled. Coming to an end, hah.
" He has been groomed to do exactly that for most of his life." You'd have to be schizophrenic to actually believe a thing like that, so I gotta wonder what your purpose in posting it was? You actually believe a guy named "Hussein" was the first choice of a conspiracy that started in the 1950s? Take the pills.
@SpgfldTom ... "Nothing like having the destruction of the finest medical care in the world as your legacy."
By what measure or metric is it the finest medical care? Most costly, maybe, but finest? The US isn't even in the top 100 based on mortality rate.
Instead of concentrating on decreasing health care costs and preventive medicine, Obama shoved this down our throats- more regulation, GOV deciding which treatments get paid. The young and healthy will be paying for the old and sick, premiums will have to go up considerably on the healthy for this to happen. The DEMS want a single payor health care system and this is just the beginning. Take a look at the United Kingdom and look at the mess they are in- waiting 5 years for a joint replacement and treatments not being OK'd because the " death panel" think it is too cost prohibitive.
Well, after perusing some of the comments, sounds like this "Crossfire" debate really changed the game, changed opinions, opened eyes
NOT. Let's shout at each other some more! Yay! What did Jon Stewart say when he almost singlehandedly brought down the first incarnation of the show? "You're destroying America", or something like that? Well, he was wrong. People just believe what they want to believe, facts be darned. And that's that! :)
Obamacare and Medicare. Same old arguments, same type of characters.
John Gardner: Medicare made an enormous difference in the lives of older Americans. It has had its problems, as every great social program inevitably must have. But it stands as a towering achievement. That’s not really debatable.
You’ll encounter, occasionally, financially secure people who scorn Medicare—and Social Security, too—and cry for the good old days when each family looked after its own aging members. I’m . . . old enough to remember those good old days. So was Lyndon Johnson.
In that time old age and poverty were firmly linked, and a good many old folks went “over the hill to the poorhouse.” That was the phrase of the day, “over the hill to the poorhouse.” . . . Don’t talk to me about the good old days.
"Perry debate" is a contradiction in terms
Forget what both men said and look at reality. The Texas economy is booming. New business are relocating there daily. Berretta, one of the largest businesses in Maryland will relocate to either Virginia or Texas. Even with its close proximity to DC the Maryland economy is struggling. High taxes and increase regulations are sending Maryland residents to Virginia by the thousands. Baltimore, where O'Malley is Governor is a disaster, high unemployment, and even higher crime and taxes. You choose.
While I'm not a huge fan of how Obamacare is being implemented, I am a fan of universal health care. I can afford to buy my own insurance, but my sister cannot. Now she will be able to go to the doctor without breaking the bank.
Looking at my Blue Cross statement, it wouldn't bother me to pay the "allowed amount," but the "amount charged" usually looks scary. Who thinks they're going to get my respect by shutting down the government to force people without insurance pay those prices?
Obamacare (which used to be Romneycare, and didn't used to be partisan) makes everybody pay insurance so hospitals don't get stiffed, and makes sure we all pay the same prices. Why has this become a political acid test?
If Obamacare is like the titanic, Republicans are the iceberg.
Obamacare is like the LIFEBOATS that saved people on the Titanic !!
The Titanic is what we have had for a healthcare system the past 30 years. And it has been slowly sinking until recently when the entire for-profit healthcare system began to sink rapidly under it own weight. That weight being GREED.
The Affordable Heathcare Act (ACA) aka "Obamacare" is the first time that a halfway sensible healthcare system will be implemented in the United States. And the purveyors of GREED, the GOP/TEA treason party is not happy about it.
Tim said: Obama knows that Obama Care is an utter disaster. That is exactly why he wants to implement it. To bury this nation. He has been groomed to do exactly that for most of his life.
And this ladies and gentlemen is the mindset of the typical GOP/Tea Party member. Take the tin foil suit off dude. Real talk.
Same old story. GOP telling the hard truth that no one wants to hear and Dems promising handouts and sunshine. Problem is those Dems making those promises will all be retired (or in jail) when it all hits the fan.
I have lived in texas now for over ten years, I am no fan of Rick Perry, but he is correct that many people are moving here for the job opportunities, particularly from the midwest. It seems that, given the choice between no job and a job in texas, many people have made the decision to move. Also, it is misleading at best to compare median incomes between Texas and maryland. The cost of living in texas is significantly lower than many places in the country. I am able to earn a decent wage in Texas while saving plenty. If i took the same salary to many other places, including maryland, i would likely not be able to afford to live there at my current wage.
Perry is not the sharpest tool in the shed. I should know. I live in Texas. I witness his ineptitude all the time. The ACA has helped lower our health care cost by almost half so far. It think it is the best thing since apple pie. If anything let us hope we can convert this all to a single payer system, i.e., medicare for all.