Scott Brown, #41: ‘I Wasn’t Just Elected on Health Care’

By Matt Loffman

Mar 26, 2010 10:00am

ABC News’ Teddy Davis reports: When Republican Scott Brown was elected to fill the Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy, his supporters heralded him as #41, as in, the 41st Republican senator who would be able to stop President Obama's overhaul of the nation's health-care system. The conservative Weekly Standard magazine put him on the cover with the headline, “Mr. Brown Goes to Washington And the Era of Big Obama Is Over.” Even to this day, Brown signs his autograph as “Scott Brown, #41.” In the end, however, congressional Democrats prevailed by figuring out a way to get health-care legislation through Congress on a simple majority vote. Earlier this morning, I caught up with Brown in the “Green Room” at ABC’s Washington Bureau following his appearance on “Good Morning America.” After he got his make-up off and downed some fruit, I asked him if the people of Massachusetts got what they voted for. Wasn’t he, after all, supposed to be the guy who would stop health-care reform dead in its tracks? “The people of Massachusetts sent me here to send a message that business as usual in Washington isn’t the way they want business done: the backroom deals, the carve-outs, the trillion dollar spending, the fact that they are not focusing on jobs,” said Brown. “So people need to understand that they used every type of maneuver — and created some new ones – to ram this thing through against the will of the voters at a time when they should have been talking about jobs,” he continued. “They are getting a bill that still has all the Medicare cuts, that has the high taxation, that has all those special interest carve outs, that we were all shaking our heads about, they haven’t been fixed.” Referring to his interview on GMA, he added, “The fact that I was just on talking about that they have 16,500 IRS agents to enforce this bill and to make sure we’re getting paid. What does that tell you?” When Brown got elected, did he think he would be able to stop Obama’s health-care bill? “I wasn’t just elected on health care,” said Brown. “I was elected because I have always been an independent voter and thinker and I said I would do that here as well. And also it was terrorism, it was taxation. There is deficit spending. There is health care.  There are a whole host of issues that led to my election. It wasn’t just, ‘oh, he’s going to go stop this bill.’” “But remember: had I not been elected they would not have not only gotten together the Speaker and Majority Leader they would have put together a bill that they would have rammed through just like that,” he said, snapping his fingers twice. “But because I was here, it made them really have to jump through hoops and almost turn themselves into pretzels to get this done: the parliamentary maneuvers, the arm-twisting, the sell-outs. Every time [Democrats] got off the plane or out of the president’s office, there was a new deal.” “People are asking: what did it cost us? And why did they change the vote? And people want us to do it better,” Brown added. “They want transparency. They want us to do it better. They want good government and this certainly isn’t it.” Asked if he thinks Democrats made the bill better after his election, Brown said: “No, the bill is not good for my state. The medical device companies – 3 percent – that’s 225 companies, about 30,000 employees, they could potentially lose their jobs. Now that’s the entire profit. When they travel throughout, [the Democrats] are referencing all the positive things. We all want those. Those are all agreed on. A lot of those are in Massachusetts already.” “But what about the states that already have health care like us?” he asked. “There is no carve-out. So what do we do? We are not only going to be paying for a federal deal. We’re going to be paying for a state benefit package. Are we going to get any relief as a result of that? There are just so many things that are wrong. So I am hoping that we can repeal the bad things and replace them with ways to realistically help and make it better.  When it comes to the 2012 presidential race, I asked Brown if he would be supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) whom Brown introduced at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. Brown indicated that it was too early to answer that question given that Romney has not yet made a formal decision about 2012. “Right now I’m just focused on doing my job,” said Brown. “I consider Gov. Romney a personal friend. He has supported me and I have supported him in the past. I don’t know what his intentions are so I think it’s a little premature to really go forward with that answer.” When I told him that my editors don’t like it if I don’t include him on lists of potential 2012 contenders, Brown made a quip about public polling that he has seen on 2012. “What am I now? Fourth?” asked Brown. ABC News’ David Chalian and Jennifer Wlach contributed to this report.

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