Sen. Warner: Liberals’ Ads vs. Democrats ‘Not at All’ Helpful

Aug 6, 2009 2:47pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: As liberal groups press moderate Democrats with ads in their home states, a key centrist Democrat said today that such efforts are “not at all” helpful in the drive to get a health care reform bill through Congress. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said today on ABCNews.com’s “Top Line” that the energies of groups such as MoveOn.org and Democracy for America would be better directed elsewhere than to be “taking whacks” at Democrats and moderate Republicans. Asked if the ads the groups are running to pressure Democrats are helpful, Warner responded: “Not at all. Not at all,” he said. “You’ve got the crowd on the right that’s against any kind of reform, even though the status quo will be a disaster. And then you’ve got some of these folks on the far left who have a one solution only, [a] single-payer approach what-have-you, [an] approach that I think is actually harmful to those Democrats. The fact that they are protesting so vehemently against those Democrats — and I think those Democrats have got to hang together. We’ve got to find common ground with those moderate Republicans.” Warner said President Obama expressed similar views in his meeting this week with Senate Democrats — though the White House appears not to have made direct contact with the groups to say so. “He was pretty darn forceful about saying that he thought that these groups’ attacks on Democrats was not productive,” Warner said of the president. “And I hope that message gets out from the White House because there . . . are more than enough folks on the opposite end trying to fight any kind of reform. “Nobody’s going to get a perfect bill,” he continued. “And everybody who’s in favor of reform ought to be advocating and fighting back some of the disinformation that’s coming out from the other side rather than taking whacks at some of the Democrats and moderate Republicans who are all going to need to be part of a solution set.” Warner also said that while bipartisanship isn’t critical to passing a bill, it’s clearly the preferable way to go, particularly given the likelihood that Congress will have to revisit health care issues even after a bill passes. “I’ve always thought from day one that this notion that we are going to pass one bill and that was going to be the end of healthcare — I just don’t think that’s practical or realistic,” he said. With the president set to campaign tonight in Virginia with gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, D-Va., we asked Warner what he makes of recent polls that show Obama’s — and Deeds’ — support slipping. “I think that if the president stays focused — which he is legendarily known to do — those polling numbers will return,” said Warner, who served as Virginia’s governor from 2002 to 2006. “At the end of the day, people in Virginia are less about Democrats, Republicans. They’re more about electing folks, particularly at the gubernatorial level, who can get stuff done. And I think our candidate, Creigh Deeds, who’s had a history of working with both Democrats and Republicans about getting stuff done, he’ll do very well.” He added: “I think President Obama will be popular in the fall but at the end of the day Virginians realize they’re electing a governor — they’re not electing a federal figure.” Click HERE to see the full interview with Sen. Mark Warner. Also today, we sat down with Politico’s Jonathan Martin to talk Virginia politics and health care push, with rowdy town-hall meetings going on across the country. Click HERE for the interview with Jonathan Martin.

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