CNBC’s John Harwood: Liberal Critics of ObamaCare ‘Idiotic;’ ‘On Drugs’
Speaking to anchor Contessa Brewer, Harwood told left-wing critics to stop “talking about what’s inadequate in the bill” and said that if they think “that Harry Reid can do better than what he’s done....they ought to lay off the hallucinogenic drugs because we have had a vivid demonstration of the limits of political possibilities on this issue.” Later in the 1PM ET hour Harwood called them “insane” and that they should “have their heads examined.”
In the 10AM hour, after noting Harwood’s “strong language,” Brewer wondered how the House and Senate Democrats would be able to combine their very different pieces of legislation. Harwood assured that something would pass in the next month: “Nancy Pelosi told me when I was in Copenhagen over the weekend that they would have a conference back and forth....I believe that it is likely to get done by the President’s State of the Union address. That’s not a certainty but it’s quite likely as a result of what we saw at this 1AM vote overnight.”
Here is a full transcript of Harwood’s exchange with Brewer:
CONTESSA BREWER: Some federal employees had to work right through the snowstorm. Senators braved gusting wind and blowing snow to duke out a deal that included millions of dollars in concessions but finally some Democrats secured enough votes to get their health care bill through the Senate. They got 60, but no more, when the bill finally came up for a test vote at 1am Eastern this morning. Well, now it looks as though final Senate passage could take place Christmas Eve. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to downplay the politics in the minutes just before those ballots were cast.
HARRY REID: This is not about politics. It certainly is not about polling. It’s about people. It’s about life and death in America. It’s about human suffering, and given the chance to relieve the suffering, we must.
BREWER: CNBC’s chief Washington correspondent John Harwood joins us now from the White House. So in the end, how did this deal get done, John?
JOHN HARWOOD: Contessa, it was really hand-to-hand combat and hand-to-hand diplomacy, one vote at a time. Finally securing the vote of Joe Lieberman by ditching that Medicare buy-in that he was against and Ben Nelson with the abortion language. But I’ve got to say Contessa, just because so much of the commentary I’ve heard has been really idiotic. Liberals who want universal health care ought to be thanking Harry Reid for getting this thing done rather than talking about what’s inadequate in the bill. I’m not saying the bill is a good bill, but if you’re a liberal and you want universal coverage in this country and think that you could do better – that Harry Reid can do better than what he’s done, or the White House can do better, they ought to lay off the hallucinogenic drugs because we have had a vivid demonstration of the limits of political possibilities on this issue.
BREWER: Strong language there, John. But when looking at the fact of the matter even with the Senate deal that got done here, whether progressives are happy with it, whether conservatives are miserable with it, here’s the deal that’s going in now. It’s going to go in for the vote, potentially on Christmas Eve. And when you compare it to what the House did, the individual mandate is there for both pieces of legislation. The public option not there for the Senate. It is there for the House and the coverage numbers, you can see the difference there, and also the cost. The Senate’s is much cheaper than the House version. Moving forward how will they coincide those two versions?
HARWOOD: Well we’ll see. Nancy Pelosi told me when I was in Copenhagen over the weekend that they would have a conference back and forth. They may try to truncate that a little bit between the House and Senate. They’re going to have concerns with the Senate version and then we’re going to see this same process repeated. Pelosi trying to hold her liberals, Harry Reid trying to hold those moderate and conservative Democrats. I believe that it is likely to get done by the President’s State of the Union address. That’s not a certainty but it’s quite likely as a result of what we saw at this 1AM vote overnight.
BREWER: Alright, John Harwood, thank you.