CNN Keeps Paddling Republicans Who Voted to Defund Obamacare

On Monday morning's New Day, CNN continued whacking Republicans who voted to defund Obamacare after comparing them to "inmates" who were "running the asylum" on Friday.

CNN contributor John Avlon said the "defund" movement has a "racket element" and is pure "fantasy." Correspondent Jim Acosta called some House Republicans "shutdown supporters" though that was incorrect since the continuing resolution that passed the House on Friday still funded the government minus Obamacare.

"I mean the responsible Republicans realize that a government shutdown would be disastrous politically, would be disastrous practically, and doesn't really have any upside for them," Avlon said.  

He added that the "defund" movement has become more of a "racket":

"[T]here's a great political quote that all political movements begin as a movement, become a business and end up as a racket. There is a racket element to what's been pushed, this defund movement on TV ads, people building their own lists. And that's what's behind a lot of it, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, pushing this fantasy of a defund scenario. It's incredible."

Jim Acosta played into the Obama talking points by framing Republicans who voted to defund Obamacare as "shutdown supporters."

"Aides to the President says he will beef up his defense of Obamacare all week, starting with an event with Bill Clinton Tuesday, that will keep up the pressure on shutdown supporters," Acosta reported.  

He added that if Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) filibusters a Senate bill that doesn't defund Obamacare, he would be opposed by "Democrats and anti-shutdown Republicans."

Below is a transcript of the segments, which aired on New Day on September 23:

CNN
NEW DAY
9/23/13
[6:30 a.m. EDT]

JOHN AVLON: I mean the responsible Republicans realize that a government shutdown would be disastrous politically, would be disastrous practically, and doesn't really have any upside for them. In private, you know, they're calling these folks who are pushing for the defund, defund jihadis. I mean this is really serious stuff. They realize they have a problem in their own ranks. So they're going to look for a way out of this. But it's going to, as you say, we're going to –  the Senate will have to pass something if it overcomes this filibuster threat from the far right. And then it's going to go to the House. And that's where the timing gets really tight.

(...)

BOLDUAN: You say that there isn't so much of an upside, or at least many Republicans don't see the upside in this fight, and more downside than upside, but one Republican does seem to see quite a bit of upside, Senator Ted Cruz. He's become really the champion of this Republican strategy. Where's the upside for him? Because I'm hearing – privately and maybe not so privately – a lot of criticism of him.

AVLON: Yeah, not so privately. A lot of Republicans are starting to speak out and say this guy is selling you a false bill of goods. You know, there's – there's a great political quote that all political movements begin as a movement, become a business and end up as a racket. There is a racket element to what's been pushed, this defund movement on TV ads, people building their own lists, and that's what's behind a lot of it, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, pushing this fantasy of a defund scenario. It's incredible.

The argument now that Ted Cruz is making, counterintuitive as it may sound, Kate, is the Republicans should filibuster the bill he supports from the House, to avoid a second round having the Obamacare defund provision cut out. So that illogic is meeting with the logic of the rest of the senators who say, look, we're supposed to be the adult body, we're supposed to be the mature body taking a long view. And it's not meeting a great reception from many of his fellow Republicans.

BOLDUAN: So, as it stands today, the Senate is going to take it up – much more to talk about this week.
 
(...)

[7:13]

BOLDUAN: Another big story out of Washington. Right now, we are one week from a potential government shutdown, and neither side is giving up much ground at this point. Republicans are still split within their own party, some members insisting on defunding the President's health care law as part of any deal. Democrats say that's nothing more than posturing as the Senate is now preparing to take up the issue. Senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta is here with more on what the shutdown could mean for you as well as, well let's be honest, politics.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN political correspondent: And with everything else going on, there is still the possibility of a shutdown. Good morning Kate and Chris. President Obama comes to New York later this morning to deal with some top diplomatic priorities like Syria and Iran over at the United Nations. But you can expect the President to continue to turn up the heat on Republicans who are threatening to shut down the government.

(Video Clip)

ACOSTA: Now, just seven days and counting to a government shutdown, and Texas GOP senator Ted Cruz is holding his ground. It's still defund Obamacare or bust.

Sen. TED CRUZ, (R-Tex.): If the majority is going to run the minority over with a train, the minority has the ability to stop them.

ACOSTA: The question of the week is whether Democrats and anti-shutdown Republicans who are furious with Cruz can stop him from blocking any new spending bill in the Senate that funds health care reform.

Sen. TOM COBURN, (R-Okla.): Tactics and strategies ought to be based on what the real world is. And we do not have the political power to do this.

Sen. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, (D-Mo.): This is about running for president with Ted Cruz. This isn't about meaningful statesmanship.

ACOSTA: If the government shuts down, some federal programs would continue, like Social Security payments. But a third of federal employees would be furloughed, national parks would be closed, and paychecks to soldiers would be delayed.

NANCY PELOSI, (D-Calif.) House Minority Leader: This is totally irresponsible, completely juvenile, and, as I've called it, legislative arson.

ACOSTA: Aides to the President says he will beef up his defense of Obamacare all week, starting with an event with Bill Clinton Tuesday, that will keep up the pressure on shutdown supporters.

OBAMA: We're not going to allow anyone to inflict economic pain on millions of our own people just to make an ideological point.

(End Video Clip)

ACOSTA: But the President won't have much time for budget battles, at least the early part of this week, as he's set to meet with a slew of heads of state at the U.N., which means the shutdown showdown will likely be waiting for him when he returns to Washington. But guys, we have healthcare as another deadline coming up. On October 1st, those health insurance marketplaces start on October 1st, a week from tomorrow. He's going to have another event on Thursday, to continue to highlight that. So his calendar is getting fuller and fuller and fuller. Less time to deal with the showdown over the shutdown because there is so much on his plate right now.

BOLDUAN: And then the debt ceiling right after that in mid-October. It's just up against one deadline after another, but it always seems that in Washington, especially on Capitol Hill a deadline is necessary to get anyone to do anything.

ACOSTA: Crisis is the new normal in Washington. They're just continue to play along with this script. The President, he knows that, and that's why he is going to be up here dealing with the heads of state at the United Nations, knowing that these guys in Washington will take care of that. I will be up here dealing with this. And all of that will be waiting for him when he gets back down to D.C.. later this week.

BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right. Jim, great to see you. Thanks for coming in.

ACOSTA: You bet.

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