Bob Woodward: 'Obama Is Proposing Cutting Medicare'
On the campaign trail, Barack Obama is claiming that if reelected, he would save Medicare while Mitt Romney will kill it.
Yet the Washington Post's Bob Woodward said on MSNBC's Morning Joe Wednesday the president "is proposing cutting Medicare" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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BOB WOODWARD: He is tuned in to his own ambivalence, and in the reporting on this, it's very clear he realizes we face a problem that is not going to go away, that he's got to address. And there are documents that are floating around that I got and notes of meetings, and you see. For instance, on Medicare, he's now campaigning on “We're not going to cut Medicare.” And there are documents where last year he was saying, “Oh, yeah, we have to cut it $250 billion over ten years.”
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Wait. So you've got a document where Barack Obama is saying we've got to cut Medicare $250 billion, which I think is responsible. But his campaign team is going out there every day saying, “Watch out. We're not going to cut Medicare, but Mitt Romney is.”
WOODWARD: Yeah, and, I mean, it's not just his campaign team. It's the president himself. He says, “We're going to reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul the right way by reducing the cost of health care - everyone would agree with that - not by shifting it onto seniors.” Well, in his own documents, he says, “We have to do this.” When I talked to him, he realized and said very openly that it's irresponsible to not address this.
SCARBOROUGH: Let's play a clip that you were alluding to. Go ahead and roll it.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, JULY 21, 2011: All the Democrats felt that for Democrats to join with Republicans in anything that could be painted as a Medicare cut when there was a huge difference between Democratic and Republican positions on Medicare generally was bad politics. It's an untenable position to say we're not going to do anything on Medicare and Medicaid when that's one of the biggest drivers of our budget deficit.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Wow! Alright.
SCARBOROUGH: So that was a portion of what the president said when Bob asked him about a meeting on Medicare that he had with Harry Reid and then the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. He's saying we've got to cut Medicare. We've got to be responsible. Democrats are saying, "No, we can't do that. And now the president, after telling Boehner he would do that, is going out on the campaign trail saying those bad Republicans want to cut Medicare.
By the way, this isn't about this election. This is about what happens after this election. How does this president after saying to the Republicans, “I'm going to cut Medicare,” which, again, is a responsible thing to do, the only thing you can do if you want to save the program, how can this president then get re-elected and go back to Boehner and go, “You know what, I said I'd cut Medicare, and then I demagogued it and attacked you guys in the campaign, but now let’s do a Medicare deal?”
WOODWARD: Well, in his own words he says, “It’s bad politics to not draw a distinction.” Now, there is somewhat of a distinction, in fairness, but he is proposing cutting Medicare.
It will be fascinating to see if the Obama-loving media report this.