Gov. Haley Barbour, R-Miss., and Gov. Ed Rendell, D-Pa., squared off on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care reform law this morning in an exclusive debate on This Week.
“I do not believe the United States government has a right, or the authority or power, to force us to purchase health insurance any more than, in the name of homeland security, they could force every American to have to buy a gun,” Barbour said.
Barbour is pushing for his Democratic attorney general to sue the federal government over the health care law; Rendell insists that the suit his Republican attorney general has filed with a number of other states is silly.
“This is a frivolous lawsuit,” Rendell said. “It’s a waste of taxpayers’ dollars at a time when all the states are fighting to preserve those dollars.”
The health care law “is easily within the power of the federal government,” Rendell insisted. “These lawsuits are frivolous.”
Asked about a new Washington Post poll that shows that a majority of people oppose health care reform, Rendell, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, tackled the political implications of the law and said it bodes well for Democrats.
Rendell said that “as the months roll by,” the health care reform law, “will actually help” Pennsylvania Democrats chances in the November midterm elections. “As more and more people get to understand what is in this bill, people are going to like it,” he said. “Small business…they’re going to like the bill.”
“So as all of these benefits roll on,” he told ABC News’ Jake Tapper, “it’s going to change public perception of the bill and of the President himself.”
Rendell said that while it would be a “tough year” for incumbents because of the economy, “losses in November would be a lot less than most of the prognosticators are foretelling.”
Barbour was asked about a “generic ballot” question form The Washington Post poll showing Democrats leading in hypothetical matchups. “Candidly,” he said, “I am surprised that the numbers in The Washington Post weren’t better. I mean since this thing passed last weekend, we have seen the longest wet kiss in political history given to the Obama administration by the liberal media elite.”
“And every day that goes by,” Barbour said to chuckles from Rendell and Tapper, “it gets sloppier.”
“I don’t know what channels Haley watches,” Rendell laughed. “But that’s a lousy wet kiss!”