Rahm: Inhofe, DeMint Support “Status Quo”

By Lindsey Ellerson

Jul 24, 2009 10:33am

Last night we told you that the White House was planning on seizing comments made by Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., to make the case that much of the GOP opposition to health care reform is based on a desire for power, not principle.

Inhofe told a conservative radio host that if President Obama failed to get a Senate vote before the August recess, "I would say there’s no way in the world they’re going to get this done this year. And next year would not be any easier. But I just, frankly, for political reasons, I kind of like the idea of keeping this thing alive. Look what it did for us in 1994." Inhofe also told talk radio host Janet Parshall that "we went through this thing in 1993 with Hillary health care and surely he should remember that and that started the demise of Bill Clinton that led to the 1994 Republican takeover of the House and the Senate. Well, surely Obama is watching that and realizing that the popularity — or unpopularity — of his socialized medicine exceeds where Hillary health care was in 1993."

This morning on NPR, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was asked about a comment by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, saying that Republicans could make health care reform President Obama's "Waterloo," comments President Obama repeatedly criticized this week.

"I don’t, I’m OK with politics as you all know," Emanuel said. "You know, Senator Inhofe, I don’t have the exact quote, but basically the thrust of the quote was the political importance of defeating this because of what it would do to President Obama. They’re seeing it in political terms, and they’ve decided that if they can beat the President on health care reform, they’ve scored a big political victory. But what they’ve also guaranteed in policy terms, is that you have the status quo."

Emanuel said, "actually appreciate what Senator DeMint said and Senator Inhofe. I’m different than everybody, I’m not going to criticize them. I compliment them. They’re honest."

- jpt

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