Andrea Mitchell Spins Health Care Decision as the 'Most Politically Written and Charged' Yet

MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday repeated Democratic talking points in the wake of Monday's ruling by a federal judge that Barack Obama's health care legislation is unconstitutional. She spun the decision as " most politically written and charged ruling and the broadest ruling yet."

Talking to Jeanne Cummings, an assistant managing editor for Politico, Mitchell repeated the White House's version: "Stephanie Cutter, their point person, saying that 'the ruling is just a case of judicial overreaching. The judge's decision contradicts decades of Supreme Court precedent...'" Mitchell continued, "So, you know, their best argument here that it's judicial activism."

The MSNBC anchor did play a clip of potential Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney discussing the ruling, but only in the context of the political problems he faces for signing a similar law as governor of Massachusetts.

The Romney interview, which aired on Tuesday's GMA, featured the politician making the case for states rights in regard to the law. MSNBC cut that part out, however.

In an amusing moment, after playing the clip, Mitchell confused Mitt Romney, with his father, the former governor of Michigan: "Well, that's going to be the tone of the debate and that's one reason why George Romney [sic] is facing a lot of opposition within the Republican Party."

For more on MSNBC's coverage, see a blog by the MRC's Ken Shepherd.

A transcript of the Andrea Mitchell segment, which aired at 1:20pm EST, follows:


ANDREA MITCHELL: For the second time a federal judge ruled against the President's health care law and this ruling goes much further, calling not just the health care mandate unconstitutional, but the entire law unconstitutional. It's the latest move in an on going legal battle which could end up, in fact, will end up in the Supreme Court. Politico's assistant managing editor Jeanne Cummings joins us now. The timing of all this- Now, you've had two rulings pro, two rulings against. This is the most politically written and charged ruling and the broadest ruling yet and it's obviously heading to the court. But, according to all of our experts it's not going to get there until the election year, the presidential election year for determination.

JEANNE CUMMINGS: Yes, it's a nail biter, but getting to the Supreme Court isn't something anybody can do in rapid pace. And so it will throw the issue right into the presidential campaign which isn't a surprise given that Republicans are going to be challenging the election, the health care financing all through this next Congress.

MITCHELL: Now, it does seem as though this was a surprise because there were rulings on the individual mandate. They were expecting a number of rulings and to all funnel up to the Supreme Court. But this one threw the whole thing out and the White House has reacted. Stephanie Cutter, their point person, saying that "the ruling is just a case of judicial overreaching. The judge's decision contradicts decades of Supreme Court precedent supporting the considered judgment of the democratically elected branches of governments and the act's individual responsibility provision is necessary to prevent billions of dollars of cost shifting every year by individuals without insurance who cannot pay for the health care they obtain." So, you know, their best argument here that it's judicial activism. But, Jeanne, now it does create all sorts of questions. People don't know whether different portions of the plan are going to be in effect. Some already are in effect. Some aren't going to go into effect until 2014. What do insurers, patients and the administration do?

CUMMINGS: Well, I think the administration is just going to move forward and hope for the best and hope that they get the rules that they argue they deserve. Clearly this judge in Florida went further than anyone else did and basically put the entire issue of the law now before the Supreme Court once the case gets there. But the Supreme Court would have had the ability to review the whole law anyway. So whether these negative rulings are narrow or broad doesn't really change the process that this issue is on, and that is resolution in the Supreme Court.

MITCHELL: And once again, the health care issue has created a challenge for Mitt Romney because it is so similar to what he passed in Massachusetts when he was the governor. He was asked about that by George Stephanopoulos today on ABC. Let's watch.

[clip begins]

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You had exactly that same requirement in Massachusetts. Why is it right for a state to impose that kind of mandate and not the federal government?

ROMNEY: Well, states have rights that he federal government doesn't have. Under the 10th amendment of the Constitution. By, the way, it's also bad policy. What works in one state is not going to work somewhere else. And I'll be the first to tell you as well, our plan isn't working perfectly.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You not going to apologize for the individual mandate?

ROMNEY: Well, I certainly indicating that there's things I would do differently and I point that out in the book. But, I'm not-

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is that one of them?

ROMNEY: I'm not going to apologize for the rights of state to craft plans in a bipartisan basis they think will help their people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you apologizing for imposing that requirement that people buy health insurance?

ROMNEY: Of course not.

[clip ends]

MITCHELL: Well, that's going to be the tone of the debate and that's one reason why George Romney [sic] is facing a lot of opposition within the Republican Party. Thanks so much, Jeanne.

— Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org