CNN Blames Darrell Issa for 'Hurting Families,' Lectures Him About Duty

On Tuesday's New Day, CNN's Chris Cuomo blamed Republicans for "hurting families" with the government shutdown and asked Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) if he would admit to wrongdoing.

"[Y]ou did shut down the government. It is hurting families, many of whom live on the margins and you know that," Cuomo slammed Issa. "And I want to ask you if you think that that was wrong." Issa called him out for asking the classic "have you stopped beating your wife" trap question.

"Well, you can't accuse me of beating my wife and then turn around and tell me, isn't that true? We did not shut down the government. We offered to the Senate again and again things to keep the government fully funded," Issa retorted.

Before he accused Issa of hurting poor people, Cuomo lectured the congressman about his supposed duty to fund existing legislation.

"The constitutional mandate is not to exceed to your wishes on legislation that's already passed. You know that," he admonished the congressman.

"No, Chris, I'm not going to let you have a pass on that," Issa fact-checked Cuomo. He added later, "Chris, bless your heart, but not funding the government is part of funding it. If you have the right to fund the government, you have the right to fund the government to a lesser amount."

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on October 1 on New Day at 8:06 a.m. EDT:

[8:06]

CHRIS CUOMO: And, boy, oh what a difference a day makes. Take a listen to this.

(Video Clip)

REPORTER: When this fails, will you vote for a one-week clean C.R.?

Rep. DARRELL ISSA (R-Calif.): How dare you presume a failure? How dare you? How dare you? How dare you presume a failure? The fact is – the fact is this country is based on people saying they won't do things and at the end of the day coming together for compromise.

(End Video Clip)

CUOMO: That's Darrell Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chiding a reporter for thinking a government shutdown would happen. Well, of course, it has, and Darrell Issa is one of the reasons why it happened. He joins us now. Congressman, thank you for joining us on the show. But allow me to ask you, what happened to that guy, the guy who was disgusted at even the idea of a shutdown who said it's all about compromise? What happened to him?

(...)

CHRIS CUOMO: The constitutional mandate is not to exceed to your wishes on legislation that's already passed. You know that. And you did shut down the government. So there's no reason –

(Crosstalk)

ISSA: No, Chris, I'm not going to let you have a pass on that.

CUOMO: Well, you're not going to let me have a pass? You just said a shutdown isn't worth it, but you shut down the government.

ISSA: We originate – we originate funding. This is a constitutional responsibility. It takes the House and the Senate to pass legislation. You know, the President has said that unions are getting a pass on implementation as of today. All we're saying is that the American worker should get a two, three, five-month whatever delay. Give the American worker opportunity to see what's in the exchanges before they're forced into it. That's all we're asking.

CUOMO: It is a strong point. It needs debate. Arguably, it needs fixing, but it is also separate from what's going on. You want to use the phrase constitutional mandate. I applaud you for using it. However, the mandate is for you to fund the government. Not for you to not fund the government. And that's a decision you made here and you made it for the political reasons that you lay out. And what I want to ask you is, if Speaker Boehner –  

ISSA: Chris, bless your heart, but not funding the government is part of funding it.

(Crosstalk)

ISSA: If you have the right to fund the government, you have the right to fund the government to a lesser amount. Remember Tip O'Neill shut down the government –  

CUOMO: No, but you're not funding it. You shut it down. And it's been done by Democrats, too.

(...)

CUOMO: But I've got a couple of questions. One, you are driving this bus. You can blame all you want, and the Democrats certainly share responsibility, the President's leadership certainly an issue. But you are driving the bus on what happens with the shutdown. The mandate is to fund the government. And I have a question. If Speaker Boehner had put up a clean resolution to fund the government without any attachments last night, the word is that it would have passed. But he didn't do it. Do you believe it would have passed if it had been put up by the Speaker?

(...)

CUOMO: But you do need to acknowledge, Representative, for all of the analysis that you've just provided, which all can be 100 percent sound, you did shut down the government. It is hurting families, many of whom live on the margins and you know that. And I want to ask you if you think that that was wrong.

ISSA: Well, you can't accuse me of beating my wife and then turn around and tell me, isn't that true? We did not shut down the government. We offered to the Senate again and again things to keep the government fully funded. We have said we want to go to conference. We want to have a discussion about the delay of portions of ObamaCare for a short period of time in order to get it right.

We know – we know that the vast majority of senators agree with us. They're simply being told don't cross your President, any change to Obamacare, unless President Obama makes the change, which he has done more than half a dozen times, is unacceptable. The American people want compromise. We're saying we want compromise. This morning at 9:30 when the Senate opens, they have an opportunity to have a discussion with us openly about the things we need to do to get this government open again.

I would vote for a short-term C.R. in order to have that conference passed. I know the Speaker and the leadership would, too. But we're not dealing with that. We're dealing with my way or the highway. No changes to ObamaCare, even if they're hurting the American worker or they're forcing people into a program that's not yet defined. So, I understand everyone wants to say that the reason that federal workers at the parks aren't there is because of Republicans, but it's not. We've given every single time an opportunity for compromise. And we're not even getting counter-offers.

CUOMO: I got you. There's plenty of blame to go around. I can't wait for word that the vote has been done so that people start getting paid again. Representative Issa, thank you very much for coming on New Day. I appreciate you taking the opportunity.

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