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RNC Chairman on Specter Holding Three Town Hall Meetings on Health Care

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," August 11, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I called your office and I was told I could have the mike to speak. And then I was lied to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am sick of the lies. I don't like being lied to. I don't like being lied about.

(APPLAUSE)

KATY ABRAM, ATTENDED TOWN HALL MEETING OF SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER: What are you going to do to restore this country back to what our founders created, according to the Constitution?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: That seemed to go well for him — Senator Arlen Specter holding not one, not two, but three town halls. Give him credit for bravery.

So, what does he make of the people he's been hearing from today?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (D), PENNSYLVANIA: One point to focus on is that the groups are not necessarily representative of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: Oh, really?

Does RNC Chairman Michael Steele agree?

Michael, what do you make of that?

(LAUGHTER)

MICHAEL STEELE, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I'm sorry. I am laughing. I'm sorry.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Not representative of America.

STEELE: Not representative of America. Well, then who are they representative of?

I mean, Neil, I mean, this is — this is the kind of craziness that this has come to in this debate. You have got the president, who has a town hall meeting — and we — we applaud him for that — and then — then Gibbs comes out and talks about how — how peaceful and respectful it was.

Yes, it is great when you stack the room. I mean, it's not the hardest thing you — it's like you have this line that people get into to get in.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, we don't know if he stacked the room. It could be just, you know, people are in awe of the president of the United States. It happens. I don't know what happened there.

I do know what has been happening at these other hearings, though.

STEELE: Yes.

CAVUTO: And I do know that they get to be some pretty feisty affairs.

Now, the administration and leading Democrats are saying that they are all staged, they're manufactured, they're Astroturf.

What do you make of that argument?

STEELE: Well, I think that — I think, again, this is part of the craziness that we're hearing from the left on this issue. They are trying to obfuscate the fact that the American people are — are ticked off, as — as one of the participants said yesterday, and they're very concerned.

And — and leadership in this country to go on national TV and — and to say that folks are being un-American, they are not being un-American. They're being distinctly American. They're being uniquely American in expressing openly their frustration with what they hear their political leadership saying.

And it's just like in the last segment you just had. And, I mean, I like Tara. And I have watched her and I listen to her. But the reality of it is, you — you can't sit back and say that people are not going to be concerned about the federal government having that level of access to their personal information. It's one thing...

CAVUTO: Then, Michael, let me ask you this.

STEELE: ... when I voluntarily give it to you. It is something else when you require it in order for me to get a benefit.

CAVUTO: All right. Then — fair enough.

Michael, let me ask you. I have got to get these questions out, because that — these are the charges being made.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: You, the big cheese of the Republican National Committee...

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: ... have you advised or stacked or told people to stack any of these meetings or to bust any of these meetings?

STEELE: No, absolutely not.

And anyone out there who says that the Republican Party or state parties or Republican activists are out there doing that are flat-out lying. They are wrong. We are not bussing in folks, like the Democrats are with SEIU members. We are not coordinating the messaging and trying to disrupt these processes.

In fact, I have been on shows where I have encouraged Americans of all stripes to go and express your support or your — or your fears about what the president proposes.

This is a national debate. And it amazes me that — that folks are now running around who were calling for debate when we are talking about the war, now want to stifle debate when we're talking about our health care and our economy. So, the reality of it is, we are not doing any of that, and it is just crazy lies.

CAVUTO: Now, obviously, in this environment, a lot of vitriol comes from.

Michael, I just wanted to get your reaction to some of it from members of — your co-party members, former Alaska Governor Palin, who — who calls these panels that — that are essentially going to be dispensing care or deciding it death panels, that sort of thing. Is that proper? Is that right?

STEELE: Well, I think it is — I think it is proper because it is within the context of what people are seeing in some of the legislation that is floating around out there, when you're talking abut panels that are going to be imposed that will be making life-and-death decisions, that will be making decisions about whether or not you get health care or don't receive health care. I think that is perfectly appropriate.

Now, how you characterize it is a matter of interpretation. But it doesn't change the fact that buried within a lot of this legislation is stuff that is fairly onerous.

You, Neil, just pointed out with Tara in the last segment one of those aspects that is fairly onerous, that, in the bill, it's now saying that, you know, hey, we're going to be able to — in order to provide you these services, we will need to extract from you certain personal information, certainly financial information that you otherwise would be required to give to the federal government.

And that is not being talked about. Why isn't that part of the discussion that the president is laying out when he's talking about exactly what the implementation of his plan is going to be? Oh, maybe it is because he has not read it, his own admission?

CAVUTO: All right, Michael, I have no problem with them looking at the records. If they're looking at it to pay for my health care, I said, put it on Steele's tab. That's all I told them.

STEELE: Right.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Michael Steele...

STEELE: And just I tell them to put it — I tell them to put it on my neighbor's.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: There we go, and on down the road.

(CROSSTALK)

STEELE: We're robbing Peter to pay Paul, right.

CAVUTO: All right, Michael Steele, RNC chairman, good seeing you again. Thank you very much.

STEELE: All right, good to see you, Neil.

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