Santorum Hammers Romney on Obamacare
January 27, 2012
RUSH: There's one thing I'm gonna start focusing on here. Romney in the debate last night said all of this talk about health care is not worth getting angry about. And, yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is. It is worth getting angry about. It is worth being angry about, and it's worth staying angry about. There was a great exchange between Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney on this and Romney got a little flustered because Santorum had his best night.
They're out there saying Santorum won the debate. Does that mean he's the nominee? Well, that's how we've been deciding it. Debate winners seem to be the front-runners, and Santorum clearly took no prisoners last night. This back-and-forth that he had with Romney on health care, I have five sound bites. I'm gonna go through this, 'cause this is fascinating stuff, and it is crucially important and I think Santorum -- for me, anyway -- had the line of the night in reacting to this. Romney said, "It's not worth getting angry about." Santorum said, "We can't afford to give away this issue. We can't afford for the issue of Obamacare to be subordinated to anything else that's being discussed up there." I know the media wants to do it, but all this talk back and forth, Newt and Mitt, over who did what at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and who had investments where and what, none of that matters, and it's really starting to turn people off to both of them.
Santorum was sitting up there last night, and as I said yesterday, he's the only guy that hasn't been bloodied because nobody's gone after him yet. Although there is a story in the Washington Examiner today, guess what somebody thinks they've found? Santorum has an investment in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I think it's something like that.
RUSH: There was something, I think, tremendously, extraordinarily important in this debate last night as it got focused on health care.
Santorum, I think, did the best job of hitting Romney on Romneycare that has been done. It stood out,primarily because Newt and Romney were all caught up in the back-and-forth of who made money where and invested money where and consulted where and stuff that, frankly, at says stage nobody cares about. And, frankly, at this stage, this back-and-forth, personal-attack criticism is not working. It's not what anybody on our side is interested in; it's not influential. It's not gonna change anybody's minds about anything, because it's irrelevant to what the people of this country are concerned about.
The people of this country right now are willing to overlook a lot of personal flaws in anybody they think can stop the destruction and the transformation of this country. That's way up there on the ladder, way up there on the priority list. And who made what from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and who invested in their blind trust or not is not anywhere near the top on the priority list. And Romney said something. Santorum was scoring so well in the debate last night, Romney said, "Hey, hey, it's not worth getting angry about," and it is! It's worth being angry about, it's worth getting angry about, it's worth staying angry about.
Because Obamacare is ballgame in terms of regulations, in terms of government being in your home, government having control over every decision you make. Once the precepts of Obamacare are fully implemented, and if they're established as constitutional, then the Constitution doesn't mean anything anymore, and neither does our freedom or liberty. It's that crucial. Santorum, of all the people on that stage, is the only guy who is credible and convincing when he first describes it and when he then says what he wants to do with it: Get rid of it. Everybody else does what conservatives and Republicans do frequently: Take premise advanced by the left, say, "We can do it better."
For example, our side in the talk about repealing Obamacare, says, "Well, now, wait a minute! Wait a minute, wait a minute! There's some stuff in there we gotta be very careful about. That bit about keeping your kids on the policy 'til they're 26, people like that, Rush. You can't just dump that. And this preexisting condition stuff, Rush. We can't throw all of this out. We've gotta be very, very careful, Rush." It's what I mean. Some of it, powers that be on our side don't want to get rid of. It's the kind of stuff they think they can get votes supporting: Government involvement. I think it was Newt, but I'm not sure. Whoever said, "The fastest way to get kids off of your parents policy is to get 'em a job, since most everybody's health care comes from work..."
Why do we want to say that it's an advancement of our culture and society to say that "children" up to age 26...? That right there offends me: CHILDREN (up to age 26) can stay on mom and dad's health insurance policy, and that somehow represents an American triumph. That is absurd. And to accept that premise is not good, not healthy. The way around it is: Get people a job so that not only are they not on their parents' health insurance, they're not living in their parents' home. Revive the economy so that people can take care of themselves and their own families. I know, probably some of you in this audience say, "Oh, no! Rush, Rush, this is very important. You're on the wrong side."
No, I'm not. I'm talking about the health of the country. I'm talking about how great this country's been in the past. We look at the slow unraveling of the intricate web of greatness. This creating excuses for what not all that long ago wouldn't have been tolerable, would want have been acceptable? Now we want to make excuses for it? So everybody up there except Santorum last night seemed to be oriented on the same place I am on this.
RUSH: I got a note here from a guy who used to run campaigns. He used to be a campaign consultant.
Dear Rush: As a former operative, my take on Romney's remark "It's not worth getting angry about," is different than yours.
By the way, everybody's telling me what I don't know today. Everybody is telling me what I don't know, starting at about 11:30. At any rate.
My take on Romney's remark "It's not worth getting angry about," is different than yours.
Senator Santorum's chief cosmetic challenge on the TV debates is the expression on his face. He's generally dour, no matter what the topic, often bordering on appearing angry."
Now, this is a consultants take. This is interesting. Consultant's take: Santorum always looks ticked off, looks angry about something. And it's the consultant's take that Romney was just trying to take him out as an out-of-control or mean or, "I don't think it's worth getting mad about." Which could well be. I don't care what it was, frankly, it was an attempt by Romney to stanch the flow of blood from his nose because he was being bloodied on this. He did something else. People keep causing me to distract myself here. I shoulda been into the first sound bite by now and everybody says, "You're just stringing us along. You're using a radio technique." I'm not. I don't use radio techniques. I don't have to use tricks to keep you here.
During this back-and-forth Newt-Romney on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Santorum said, (paraphrasing) "You know what? Can we stipulate, Romney's Mitch, made a lot of money? I wish I had that much. Newt worked at whatever he did, great Speaker of the House, but can we stipulate that stuff and get back to the issues that matter here?" And the place erupted. It was a great line, and Newt attempted, Newt offered his hand, not figuratively, Newt offered a truce, and Romney chewed it right off. Just slapped it. Romney can be a mean guy. We're gonna talk about who's mean and who looks mean, who sounds mean.
Romney can be just as snarky mean as any of these people. So let's stipulate that. As long as we're stipulating stuff. Whatever Romney was doing, "You don't have to get mad about it." You do have to get mad about this! This issue is gonna require passion. I'm talking about controlled anger. I don't mean loss of temper and that kind of thing. But we can't talk about this health care business and repealing it as some abstract academic discussion point in a classroom. This is real. And the impact it's gonna have on our lives is real. There nothing abstract about it or academic about it, if it happens. So let's go to the sound bites. Santorum up first.
SANTORUM: Governor Romney was the author of Romneycare, which is a top-down, government-run health care system, which, I read an article today, has 15 different items directly in common with Obamacare. Everything from the increase in the Medicaid program, not just that government is gonna mandate you buy something as a condition of breathing, mandate that you buy an insurance policy. Something that Governor Romney agreed to at the state level. Something that Congressman Gingrich for 20 years advocated that the federal government can force each and every person to enter into a private contract. Something that everyone now, at least up on this stage, says is radically unconstitutional, Congressman Gingrich supported for 20 years. This is the top-down model that both of these gentlemen say they're now against, but they've been for, and this does not provide the contrast we need with Barack Obama if we're gonna take on that most important issue. We cannot give the issue of health care away in this election. It is too foundational for us to win this election.
RUSH: We cannot give away this issue in this election. We cannot give the issue of health care away. And he is so right. Now, let me address something about Santorum and his dour countenance. I, too, have picked up on this now and then. I wonder what I would be like -- you know, do you know people -- not saying this is Santorum -- do you know people who constantly think that they don't get the credit they think they should get? That other people are getting credit for the work they've done, or other people are getting credit for the stuff they first said or they first wrote but nobody saw it, nobody commented on it, and then other people come along and scoop it up. Do you know people that get constantly ticked off by that? I do. It's poison, it can ruin you.
But I know people, "I said that first," or "I did that first." Santorum sometimes comes off like, "What is this? These guys for 20 years have been building up Romneycare. They've been supporting the basic tenant of Obamacare. I have never supported it, and how come nobody's noticing that?" I do get that take, and I can understand the frustration in this instance, if he feels that way. Just a wild guess here. But he's up there, he doesn't have any vices, he doesn't have the baggage these two guys have. And yet it's called a two-man race. We're talking about health care, the fundamental, defining issue of our future. And the way Santorum looks at it, we've got two guys up there who, until the debate started, had really no problem with the central tenet of it, the mandate.
Now all of a sudden they're acting like, "Oh, no, no, I don't believe any of that." Santorum said, "I have never supported any aspect of this. These guys are getting away with revising 20 years of their history." Sometimes he does sound a little frustrated at that. I can understand it. That's what my consultant buddy said, the book on Santorum is that he looks dour when Romney says, "You don't have to get so mad about it." But in this issue, I believe that Santorum's the guy, you know, he's out there doing retail politics. He doesn't have any money. He's doing door-to-door visits. (interruption) I know, that's the rub. People have to like you. I think Santorum's exhausted, too. People have to like you. There's no other way around that. And that's nothing you can control. You're either likable on TV or you're not. Well, maybe if the first time you're on TV and you have something said about you... I don't know. Nixon was able to with the help of Roger Ailes. Nixon was able to. Anyway, here's Romney's response to what you just heard Santorum say.
ROMNEY: Our system has a lot of flaws, lot of things I'd do differently. It has a lot of benefits. The people of the state like it by about three to one. We consider it very different than Obamacare. If president, day one, I will take action to repeal Obamacare. It's bad medicine; it's bad economy; I'll repeal it.
SANTORUM: What Governor Romney just said is that government-run, top-down medicine is working pretty well in Massachusetts and he supports it. Now --
ROMNEY: That's not what I said.
SANTORUM: -- think about what that means going up against Barack Obama, who you're gonna claim, well, top-down, government-run medicine on the federal level doesn't work and we should repeal it. And he's gonna say, wait a minute, governor, you just said that top-down, government-run medicine in Massachusetts works well. Folks, we can't give this issue away in this election. It is about fundamental freedom.
RUSH: We can't give this issue away in the election. It is about fundamental freedom. What Santorum is saying here is very clear. We're gonna have a nominee whose advisers -- and Newt's running ads to this effect, by the way -- we're gonna have a nominee whose advisers helped Obama write this health care plan based on Romney's, and we're gonna have a nominee who basically can't draw a contrast between himself and Obama on the issue of health care.
RUSH: It's the Washington Examiner. I was trying to think of this earlier. I've got the story somewhere in the stack. Miraculously today, the Washington Examiner has a story saying that Rick Santorum supported an individual mandate to buy health insurance back in 1995. This just comes out now. It comes out the day after last night's debate and the tete-a-tete between Santorum and Romney on health care.
RUSH: Now, this Examiner piece, Washington Examiner: "1994 Report: Santorum Supported Individual Mandate." It's a very short story, but it says, "Rick Santorum supported the idea of 'requir[ing] individuals to buy health insurance' when he ran for U.S. Senate in 1994, according to a local feature article comparing the candidates during that election cycle." And then at the end of the short piece in the Examiner it says, "The Morning Call --" that's the local newspaper in Pennsylvania, "The Morning Call does not quote Santorum making comments supportive of an individual mandate, or quote any other candidates in the piece, which attempts to summarize several candidates' positions on health care."
There are no direct quotes, but yet he supported the individual mandate back in 1994. Next we'll hear that he ripped Reagan. Santorum hated Reagan, that's next. Now, you remember 1994, that was the height of Hillarycare and the debate there. Everybody had that position and I do know that Santorum was for individual health care accounts, medical savings accounts, which he still favors.
RUSH: We left off with Santorum saying, "Going up against Obama, how are you gonna claim top-down government-run medicine on the federal level doesn't work, and we should repeal it. He's gonna say, 'Wait a minute, governor,' Obama is gonna say, 'You just said top-down, government-run medicine Massachusetts works well.' Folks, we can't give this issue away in the election. It's about fundamental freedom." Next up, it was Romney's turn to reply, who gives a defense. See what you think of it.
ROMNEY: I didn't say I'm in favor of top-down government-run health care. Ninety-two percent of the people in my state had insurance before our plan went in place, and nothing changes for them. They're on the same private insurance they had before. And for the 8% of people who didn't have insurance, we said to them, if you could afford insurance, buy it yourself, any one of the plans out there, you can choose any private plan, there's no government plan. And if you don't want to buy insurance, then you have to help pay for the cost of the state picking up your bill because, under federal law, if someone doesn't have insurance, then we have to care for them in the hospitals, give them free care, so we said no more, no more free riders.
RUSH: Now, I know I'm gonna get in a lot of trouble here with certain people, but I think Obama could say the same thing. Obama has said the same thing defending Obamacare. For example, Romney says, "92% of the people in my state had insurance before the plan went in place, nothing changes for them." Obama: "If you like your plan, you get to keep your plan," except that you don't, but that's what Obama said. "If you like your plan, you get to keep it, we're not touching it. If you like your doctor, you get to keep it, we're not changing it." "For the 8% of the people who didn't have insurance we said to them if you can afford it, buy it, and if you don't want to buy insurance, then you gotta help pay for the cost."
Obama: "You gotta buy insurance or pay a fine." It's the same thing. This is Santorum's point, it's the same thing. Your option is to buy insurance required, or you pay a fine. Now, the way Obamacare is structured, the fine is much cheaper than the insurance, for a couple of years, by design. The idea is to get people paying the fine. They are the free riders. Romney is right, they pay the fine but if they show up at the emergency room, by law they have to be treated. They're the free riders. So Santorum is saying, "See, it's the same thing. Obama's doing the same thing." Romney doesn't call his plan a fine. You don't buy insurance then you have to help pay for the cost, it's the same thing. This is why people say there's not much difference between the two plans.
And then Romney says, "Under federal law if somebody doesn't have insurance then we have to care for them in the hospitals, give 'em free care. So we said no more free riders." So you're paying a fine or you're buying health insurance, which is what Obamacare is. And the fine is cheaper at first. The whole point of Obamacare, remember, is to get people out of their current insurance plans. And if somebody's 25 or 30 thinking they're immortal, they're not gonna get sick, why go out and spend 15 grand on an insurance policy when all I gotta do if I have an emergency is go to the emergency room. The fine is $800, I think. I'm grabbing a figure out of the air. But compared to whatever the insurance policy will cost you, the fine's nothing. It's structured that way.
Obama wants people paying the fine. He wants 'em not having insurance because while they're doing that, Obamacare is going to push private sector health insurance out of business. And by the time it's all said and done, five years or more, the only place you're gonna be able to go to get health insurance is the government and one of their numerous exchanges. It's the plan. The plan is to wipe out private sector insurance. And once it's gone, somebody tell me how it comes back. This is why this is so crucial. So Santorum then replied and gets Romney to admit that his plan's a mandate.
SANTORUM: Does everybody in Massachusetts have a requirement to buy health care?
ROMNEY: Everyone has a requirement to either buy health care or pay the state for the cost of providing them free care, because the idea of people getting something for free when they could afford to care for themself is something that we decided in our state was not a good idea.
SANTORUM: So in Massachusetts -- just to understand it -- in Massachusetts, everybody is mandated, as a condition of breathing in Massachusetts, to buy health insurance. And if you don't, and if you don't, you have to pay a fine. What's happened in Massachusetts is people are now paying the fine, because health insurance is so expensive, and you have a preexisting condition clause in yours just like Barack Obama.
RUSH: All right. So the similarities... This was the best attack, I guess, on Romneycare that's happened yet in these debates. So Romney... This is where he gets frustrated and says, "Look, it's not really worth getting angry about here."
ROMNEY: First of all, it's not worth getting angry about.
AUDIENCE: (chuckles and applause)
ROMNEY: Secondly, 98% of the people have insurance -- and so the idea that more people are free-riding the system is simply impossible. I know you don't like the plan that we had. I don't like the Obama plan. If I'm president of the United States, I will stop it -- and in debating Barack Obama, I will be able to show that I have passionate concern for the people in this country that need health care, like this young woman, who asked the question; but I will be able to point out that what he did was wrong, it was bad medicine, it's bad for the economy, and I will repeal it.
AUDIENCE: (loud applause)
SANTORUM: Wolf, what Governor Romney said is just factually incorrect. Your mandate is no different than Barack Obama's mandate.
BLITZER: All right.
SANTORUM: It's the same mandate. He takes over, you take over a hundred percent just like he takes over a hundred percent, requires the mandate.
BLITZER: All right.
SANTORUM: The same fines that you put in place in Massachusetts are fines that he puts in place in the federal level.
WOLF BLITZER: Congressional Paul, who's right?
SANTORUM: Same program.
RUSH: "Same program." And Paul said, they don't either of them know what they're talking about -- and the place erupted. So that was the assault. That was the tete-a-tete, the back and forth on Romney being Obamacare, and Santorum saying, "We can't give this issue away," and he's right, and finally Romney says, "Look, it's not worth getting angry about," and it is. Maybe anger doesn't sell on television. This is where I don't know. I actually think people mad on TV can be made to work. I used to do it in Sacramento. I debated the mayor of Davis three times a week and couldn't help but getting mad. He's a nice guy but he was a commie.
In fact that's where I debuted... He was all upset about feminism one day and my position on it. I don't remember about what, but he was all exercised and doing a typical academic liberal, "Well, I think Mr. Limbaugh would quite agree with me." I said, "Look, let me just cut to the chase: I looooove the feminist movement, especially when walking behind it" (laughing) and even the cameramen started laughing, which never happens! Hee-hee-hee-hee. So that was the background. It is worth being mad about, and Romney said, "Hey, come on, here. It's not worth being angry about." I was told that Romney's attempt to call to attention the fact that Santorum looks dour and he's got a propensity to get mad and so forth, that it might not have been Romney not understanding the passion about it.
Either way, it was an attempt to stanch the flow of blood that was taking place.
RUSH: Here are the numbers. Where are the numbers? Where are the numbers? Here we go. Obamacare: "By 2016," four years from now, for those of you in Rio Linda "the fine for not having health insurance, $695, or 2.5% of your household income." I don't know if it says "whichever is the least," but 2.5% of somebody's household income could be pretty high. But if you've got the option to pay $695, who wouldn't pay that? That's the whole point. You make that fine so cheap, you could move out of mom and dad's house. You could get off mom and dad's policy for $695 a year and then when you get sick, go to the emergency room. That's what they're counting on. And, by the way, that's 2016. The fine's cheaper than that before you get to 2016, I do believe. (interruption)
Oh, it's the higher of the two that you are required to pay, the higher of the two. For a lot of people $695 is gonna be the higher of the two. That $695 is the minimum. Now, in Massachusetts, the people of Massachusetts favor Romney three to one, according to the polling data. According to every poll, the people in the US oppose Obamacare three to one. Romney, there's some things he could say to defend himself. He could do a better job on this. If it were me, I could do a better job defending it than he's doing.