CNN's Cuomo Lectures GOP: 'Any Jackass Can Kick Down a Barn'

CNN's Chris Cuomo had a sharp message on Thursday's New Day for Republicans looking to get re-elected simply for opposing Obamacare.

"Any jackass can kick down a barn. But it takes a good man or woman to build one," Cuomo lectured Republicans. "The politics of 'they stink' is not enough anymore. You need to get better than that," he added before noting that "both parties" are to blame.

CNN was in the middle of covering Obamacare's latest delay for only the second time since a New York Times story brought attention to it on Monday.

Correspondent John King noted that "Republican policy alternatives" to Obamacare do exist, but they "get lost in the volume" of GOP opposition to the law. "Many Republicans will tell you, in the short term, they think just no is enough to rally their base," he reported. Cuomo was visibly agitated at that prospect.

Co-host Kate Bolduan offered some context behind the GOP strategy: "smart policy and smart legislating is not an easy thing. I'm not pretending I can do it." She added that "it's an easy sound byte."

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on New Day on August 15 at 6:33 a.m. EDT:

KATE BOLDUAN: Talk about a pretty big political mess. The administration – it's now announced that they are delaying yet another part of the implementation of the President's health care law. This time having to do with a cap on your out-of-pocket expenses when it comes to your health care. This is, what, the third delay of a part of this law in the recent months. And it was really buried in some bureaucratic language at the Labor Department. Does this just really offer a clear opening for Republicans?

KING: Absolutely. Let's focus first on the policy. This is – the health care law affects everybody, whether you favor it or whether you oppose it. It affects everybody. So, from a policy standpoint, these delays, the hiccups, the changes are going to frustrate people. This one particularly, though, could have a huge political impact because as you mentioned, hidden in bureaucratic language, the end result is that when these changes kick in, the administration promised for most Americans your cost would go down. Now, it is saying at least in the short-term, for many Americans, your costs could be higher than anticipated.

And you bet, Kate, you know the Republicans in 2014 are trying to make opposition to Obamacare, the implementation of this law their huge rallying cry, their huge turnout. This is big government gone bad. If it starts costing Americans more money, the Republicans will try to benefit politically without a doubt.

BOLDUAN: And is it enough, though, for Republicans to benefit the way they want? Which would be repealing the President's health care law? I ask this because Newt Gingrich came out with a pretty interesting criticism of his own party, saying the problem that Republicans have is they have zero response when they say let's repeal Obamacare. They don't have a response for what should be put in its place.

KING: It's just vintage Newt Gingrich and it's an interesting point. Now, there are plenty of Republicans who say we don't like Obamacare, but we would like to do this. A little government help, a little market help to expand access, a little government help, little market help to reduce some costs.

But those Republican policy alternatives, again, whether you agree or disagree, get lost in the volume. Because they are so visceral in their opposition to Obamacare, and it's no, no, no, fight it, fight it, even shut down the government to defund it. So, former Speaker Gingrich is trying to say the Republicans can't just be the party of no. They have to be no this, and here's our alternative. Many Republicans will tell you, in the short term, they think just no is enough to rally their base. That's why we have elections.

BOLDUAN: That's why we have elections. And one thing Republicans seem to be having right now is speaking in one message on many topics, including this.

KING: That's an excellent point.

BOLDUAN: All right, John. Thanks so much. We'll talk to you in a bit.

KING: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN anchor: It brings to mind a old political phrase. Any jackass can kick down a barn. But it takes a good man or woman to build one.

BOLDUAN: It's definitely – smart policy and smart legislating is not an easy thing. I'm not pretending I can do it.

CUOMO: The politics of "they stink" is not enough anymore. You need to get better than that.

BOLDUAN: It's an easy sound byte, though.

CUOMO: Both parties. It is. We play it. That's for sure.
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014