CBS's Rodriguez: Dems 'Rescued' ObamaCare From 'Death's Door'

Maggie Rodriguez and Nancy Cordes, CBS Introducing a report on passage of the ObamaCare reconciliation bill on Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez referred to a couple upcoming rescue stories on the show and cheerfully remarked: "And speaking of rescues, the Democrats have rescued health care reform, once on death's door, after putting the final touches, finally, on the sweeping legislation yesterday."

At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Health care reform is a done deal after Democrats in Congress make final changes to the historic legislation." In the later report by correspondent Nancy Cordes, an on-screen headline read: "Done Deal; Obama Health Care Plan Gets Final Approval From Congress."

Cordes played a clip of Democratic Congressman Robert Andrews giving a glowing description of the bill: "Tonight the underdogs won. The people who have been abused by their insurance companies, turned down because they had asthma, or had their policies canceled because they got cancer, they won." She framed the GOP as against helping such people: "Republican opposition in the House and Senate was unanimous."

A clip was played of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham condemning the manner in which the unpopular legislation was shoved through Congress: "The process that led to the passage of this bill was sleazy." Cordes provided the White House defense: "But President Obama, who was in Iowa Thursday promoting the landmark legislation, dared Republicans to keep up their campaign to repeal the bill."

Near the end of the report, Rodriguez wondered about the fate of bipartisanship in the wake of the contentious health care debate: "Now going forward, these two parties still have to work together. What is this going to do to their already strained relationship?" Cordes replied: "Republicans say it's just going to shut down what little bipartisanship is left here on Capitol Hill. They say that issues like immigration, cap and trade, are now in even more jeopardy than before." Rodriguez expressed her frustration: "Ugh, not what the American people want to hear."

Rodriguez followed up: "What does the GOP plan to do next where this is concerned?" Cordes explained: "Well, they've been pushing this whole repeal campaign, repeal the bill, but that's really just an impossibility right now. They'd need to have a Republican president and Republican majorities, large majorities, in the House and Senate in order to do something like that, and so they'll have to wait a while if that's their goal."  

Here is a full transcript of the segment:
7:00AM TEASE:

HARRY SMITH: Health care reform is a done deal after Democrats in Congress make final changes to the historic legislation. We'll hear President Obama's response as he tries to sell reform to a skeptical public.

7:01AM SEGMENT:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: And speaking of rescues, the Democrats have rescued health care reform, once on death's door, after putting the final touches, finally, on the sweeping legislation yesterday. CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes has the latest from Capitol Hill. Hard to believe it's over, for now anyway, Nancy.

NANCY CORDES: It is hard, Maggie. And disagreements over health care reform are not likely to go away anytime soon, but the formal debate, as you said, is actually over, with both houses acting quickly to do away with the final prong of legislation.

JOE BIDEN: On this vote, there are 56 yeas, 43 nays.

CORDES: Just hours after the Senate passed the last health care bill-  

NANCY PELOSI: The motion is adopted.

CORDES: It was the House's turn. And just like that, a year long fight in Congress was over.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Done Deal; Obama Health Care Plan Gets Final Approval From Congress]

ROBERT ANDREWS [REP. D-NEW JERSEY]: Tonight the underdogs won. The people who have been abused by their insurance companies, turned down because they had asthma or had their policies canceled because they got cancer, they won.

CORDES: Republican opposition in the House and Senate was unanimous.

LINDSEY GRAHAM: The process that led to the passage of this bill was sleazy.

CORDES: But President Obama, who was in Iowa Thursday promoting the landmark legislation, dared Republicans to keep up their campaign to repeal the bill.

BARACK OBAMA: I don't believe that the American people are going to put the insurance industry back in the driver's seat. We've already been there.

CORDES: And while the voting may be over, tensions remain high among those who oppose and support health care reform. House Republican Whip Eric Cantor's office in Richmond, Virginia was fired on early Tuesday morning. And an envelope filled with white powder showed up at Democratic Congressman Anthony Wiener's New York offices on Thursday.

JOHN MERCURIO [EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE HOTLINE]: Certainly we've seen a lot of passionate opposition to this bill. It's a very emotional, very personal issue, that people, I think, get very, very upset about. Very fearful about what this bill could actually do.

CORDES: Now the bill that passed yesterday contained a major set of changes to the bill that the President signed in to law on Tuesday. Speaker Pelosi will sign this bill today and then it heads to the President's desk. Maggie.

RODRIGUEZ: Nancy, as you've been reporting all along, Republicans have criticized the Democrats for using reconciliation, this controversial budget process, to get this passed. Now going forward, these two parties still have to work together. What is this going to do to their already strained relationship?

CORDES: Well, Republicans say it's just going to shut down what little bipartisanship is left here on Capitol Hill. They say that issues like immigration, cap and trade, are now in even more jeopardy than before. They don't think that the two parties can recover from this. We'll see if parties are able to work together on anything going forward.

RODRIGUEZ: Ugh, not what the American people want to hear. What does the GOP plan to do next where this is concerned?

CORDES: Well, they've been pushing this whole repeal campaign, repeal the bill, but that's really just an impossibility right now. They'd need to have a Republican president and Republican majorities, large majorities, in the House and Senate in order to do something like that, and so they'll have to wait a while if that's their goal.

RODRIGUEZ: Maybe til' November or beyond. Nancy Cordes on Capitol Hill. Thank you, Nancy.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC