CBS’s Rodriguez Excuses Possible Dem Delay On Seating Scott Brown; Argues GOP Would Do ‘Exact Same Thing’

Maggie Rodriguez and Michael Steele, CBS Appearing on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele criticized potential Democratic efforts to delay seating Republican Scott Brown as the Senator from Massachusetts as “unseemly,” but co-host Maggie Rodriguez replied: “Is that fair? Because wouldn’t your party do the exact same thing?”

Rodriguez went on to argue: “Isn’t it true that when the GOP had the majority and the Democrats would filibuster something, you know, you didn’t like that....They’re trying to keep you from doing the same thing to them that you did when you were – had the majority.” Steele began to reply: “You’re mixing an apple and an orange here.” Rodriguez interrupted: “No, no, I’m really not.”

Steele explained: “To filibuster on an issue is not the same as seating a member in the United States Senate regardless of what’s going on in the Senate. There is a process that unfolds....[Democrats] made it very clear that [they] will obstruct this process...will change the rules in order for [them] to get [their] way in the Senate.” A shocked Rodriguez asked: “So you’re implying that they would do something illegal?” Steele replied: “I’m not – illegal is left for lawyers to decide. What I’m saying is that there is a process.”  

Rodriguez elaborated on her unfair comparison: “And just so you understand what I’m saying, I was just saying that parties – as your party also has shown – will do whatever they can to get their agenda passed because obviously it’s in their best interests and in the best interests of the voters.”

At the top of the interview, Rodriguez described a Republican victory in Massachusetts as the end of health care in America: “I know that in your idea of a perfect scenario, Senator Brown, the Republican, would win, take his seat, and cast the one no vote that would derail health care. But the Democrats are trying to get this passed before he’s seated, even if he does win. Does that concern you? That a victory for Brown does not necessarily mean a defeat for health care?” Throughout the segment, a headline on screen read: “Decision Day; GOP Win Could Doom Obama’s Health Care Reform.”

On Monday’s broadcast, Rodriguez declared that it would be “interesting” to see if Democrats could delay Brown’s swearing in if he won the election.

Following the interview with Steele on Tuesday, Rodriguez spoke with former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and pressed him on efforts to force through ObamaCare: “Nancy Pelosi said yesterday, quote, ‘we will have health care one way or another.’ Is this really how you want this to go down, even though technically it may not be illegal, it’s still sort of unsavory because you’re forcing it through?”

An overly optimistic McAuliffe argued: “Martha Coakley will bring about the change that people want in Massachusetts....people want health care. President Obama ran for president of the United States promising Americans that those 48 million people who don’t have health coverage would get it.” Rodriguez replied: “Terry, if people want health care, why is a Republican so close to taking this seat and this state for the first time since 1972?”

Rodriguez actually brought Steele back on to have the last word: “I’ve been shaking my head because Terry’s great on the talking points....people are sending us a sound signal. Now either they’re going to get the message or they won’t. Come this November, we’re going play hard and fight for every seat in the Congress and every seat for governors around the country on the idea that it’s about time we listen to the people instead of the people having to do what Washington tells them they want to do.”

Here is a full transcript of Rodriguez’s interview with Steele:
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Michael Steele is chairman of the Republican National Committee and he joins me in studio to talk about this. You’re all smiles today, Michael. Good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Decision Day; GOP Win Could Doom Obama’s Health Care Reform]
            
MICHAEL STEELE: Yeah, it’s a good day. I mean I think it’s been a fascinating process to watch unfold. I mean a year ago the landscape politically was very different than we see it today. And as we go into this election, what I’m excited about is that the American people have begun to take charge in these elections and the outcome. In the past it’s kind of been formulaic, you know, it’s a Boston, Massachusetts Senate race, ‘oh, it’s a Kennedy, okay, no problem.’

RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, a Democrat’s going to win. It was-

STEELE: Yeah, a Democrat’s-

RODRIGUEZ: -understood.

STEELE: Understood. Not so much today. And I think that’s the exciting part about all of this.

RODRIGUEZ: I know that in your idea of a perfect scenario, Senator Brown, the Republican, would win, take his seat, and cast the one no vote that would derail health care. But the Democrats are trying to get this passed before he’s seated, even if he does win. Does that concern you?

STEELE: It does concern me-

RODRIGUEZ: That a victory for Brown does not necessarily mean a defeat for health care?

STEELE: Well, it says a lot about the agenda here and it says a lot about the way the Democrat leadership in Washington views the voters out there. They really don’t care. ‘We’re going to do this whether you want it or not and you’re just going to live with it.’ And so the idea that, you know, you’ll have an election, a special election, to fill a seat and that individual’s elected and if it’s not of the party you want it to be, him to be, then you’re going to go ram through the process or change the rules, that, again, is an unseemly thing for them to do in Washington. But so typical of what we’ve seen over the past year.

RODRIGUEZ: Wait a minute, but is that fair? Because wouldn’t your party do the exact same thing? Isn’t it true that when the GOP had the majority and the Democrats would filibuster something, you know, you didn’t like that. They’re trying to keep you-

STEELE: I mean a filibuster – a filibuster-

RODRIGUEZ: Wait, wait, no, no.

STEELE: Look, Maggie, the filibuster over-

RODRIGUEZ: They’re trying to keep you from doing the same thing to them that you did-

STEELE: No, no, no-

RODRIGUEZ: -when you were – had the majority.

STEELE: You’re mixing an apple and an orange here.

RODRIGUEZ: No, no, I’m really not.

STEELE: To filibuster on an issue is not the same as seating a member in the United States Senate regardless of what’s going on in the Senate. There is a process that unfolds. The secretary of state does what they need to do, the Senate does what it needs to do. And the fact that they’ve already made it very clear that ‘we will obstruct this process, that we will change the rules in order for us to get our way in the Senate,’ to me, is not what the voters are going to – to the polls about.

RODRIGUEZ: So you’re implying that they would do something illegal?

STEELE: I’m not – illegal is left for lawyers to decide. What I’m saying is that there is a process. And when you have Congressman Wiener and others saying that ‘our job will be to delay and obstruct this process, or to speed it up, if we can do that,’ to me, goes counter to what the voters in Massachusetts are expecting. They’re expecting today they will elect a United States senator and when they – they expect that senator to be seated in a timely fashion and if that doesn’t happen, then it’s going to be a lot of weight on the Democrats’ head in Washington.

RODRIGUEZ: I understand what your saying. And just so you understand what I’m saying, I was just saying that parties – as your party also has shown – will do whatever they can to get their agenda passed because obviously it’s in their best interests and in the best interests of the voters.

STEELE: Oh, that’s very true, but there’s some things that have a natural process to them. As we saw when Ted Kennedy took – won this seat the first time, they seated him in one day. Mrs. Tsongas just recently came into Congress for her husband’s seat, two days. So now you have them saying, ‘well, we could do this in about three or four weeks.’ I mean, that’s the point.

RODRIGUEZ: Okay, you’re saying double standard when it’s convenient.

STEELE: Double standard. But you kind of expect that from the Democrats at this point, you know.

RODRIGUEZ: Alright, Michael Steele, thank you very much.

STEELE: Thank you.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC