Will Highly Partisan Health Care War Doom Democrats in November?

Published March 20, 2010

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This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 19, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: Continuing now with our coverage of the upcoming health care vote in the House. Some brand new polls, Fox News polls, show that Americans are fed up with what they're seeing in Washington. The Congressional approval rating stands at just 18 percent. 31 percent of Americans approve of the job that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is doing. And President Obama's approval rating is at 46 percent with 48 percent disapproving. But today, he said the cable networks are not focused enough on the substance of the bill and too focused on the politics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: What does this mean in November? What does it mean to the poll numbers? Is this more of an advantage for Democrats for Republicans? What's it going to mean for Obama? Will his presidency be crippled? Or will he be -- or will he be "The Comeback Kid"?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

INGRAHAM: The question, has the bitter hyper partisan healthcare debate doomed the Democrats? Or can they recover in time for the midterm elections in November?

Joining us now from Detroit, radio talk show host Nancy Skinner. And from Boston, Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh.

Let's start with you, Mary Anne, because you're in the heart of it up there in Massachusetts. And a couple of your Congressmen are doing some interesting things on this health care vote. What do you see right now? When you look at the political landscape. You know what these polls are saying. They are devastating for Democrats across the board, Gallup, Pew, Fox, Rasmussen. Down the line, people are saying we don't want this bill. We don't believe it's going to reduce the deficit. And we think it's going to make our health care either not change at all, or worse. How can this be good for the Democrats in November?

MARY ANNE MARSH, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Here's the political calculation, Laura. The fact is Democrats want healthcare reform. Republicans and independents don't. But the fact is Independents care more about the deficit than anything else. That's why Obama's lost 17 points over this last year with Independents. It's all over the deficit.

So if Democrats can convince just some Independents that the healthcare reform bill will reduce the deficit, they he can win in December. That's the bet right there. Hold the Democrats, hold your base, pick off some Independents, that's the formula for the elections in November.

INGRAHAM: Nancy, the Fox poll shows that the support for Obamacare has slipped since January. It was -- the disapproval has gone up, the approval - disapproval has gone up, approval has gone down. So now 55 percent oppose the health care plan. That's since January. Again, where is the momentum here? And how is this playing positively for the Democrats? I think they've made a huge miscalculation.

NANCY SKINNER, TALK RADIO SHOW HOST: It's the first time you've seen the polls shift to those points you're talking about. In the Fox poll itself since it was introduced in January of '09, in fact when - this is the deal. Polls change. When it was first introduced and for almost a year, even Republicans supported this bill in the Fox news poll. And gradually with all the fear mongering that's going out there, all the trashing of it, this is the first time. And you have, as your guest said, you have 80 percent of Democrats favorite. 80 percent of Republicans don't. And the Independents by two points.

INGRAHAM: Where are Independents?

SKINNER: Two points, two points. That is not a huge --- you keep saying a huge majority of Americans. Two points of Independents is the difference.

INGRAHAM: Nancy-

SKINNER: That's the complete rejection-

INGRAHAM: --why do you think that 31 percent of Americans think that Nancy Pelosi is not doing a good job? Why do you think that?

SKINNER: You know what? By even bigger numbers, they think that the Republicans in Congress are just trying to block Obama and that they're doing a lousy job. Yes--

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INGRAHAM: She gets - she's the leader of the Democrat party. She gets a 31 percent approval rating. And you can see oh, the Republicans this, the Republicans that, but the Republicans are not in charge. The Democrats are in charge.

SKINNER: Because she-

INGRAHAM: And right across the board, whether you're looking at state by state polls, internal polls in these tough districts, and Mary Anne, you can address this, places like, Ohio, Illinois, some of those old rust belt states. I'm looking at some of these numbers from the Gingrich group, I think, did some polling on this. And it really is not close on this issue. Yet I guess the base wants it, so the base gets it regardless of what happens in November.

Dick Morris just said they don't care about Congress right now. They think they're going to lose Congress in November, but they need to push this through. Is that the calculation?

MARSH: No, look, Democrats are going to take a loss in November, no doubt. The fact is that, you know, it's an anti-incumbent year.

And here's the - what the Republicans know. They're going to lose seats, too. Because it's a hugely anti-incumbent year. You look at the Fox News poll on that question, and if I'm a Republican or a Democrat, I'm really worried.

But here's what they both know. Democrats just can't win with Democratic votes. Republicans just can't win with Republican votes. They all need Independent votes. And they know it. And that's where this deficit score by the CBO is the key play here. Democrats if they can convince Independents, then they can win. They're going to lose seats-

INGRAHAM: Right.

MARSH: --but they maybe get those (INAUDIBLE).

INGRAHAM: They lost credibility on that then today. Right, Mary Anne, I--

MARSH: No-

INGRAHAM: --hear you point on that.

But Nancy, you can address this. Today, we learned that Nancy Pelosi is going to call for a vote on the doctors' fix, which means about $230 billion of the supposed savings aren't going to reoccur because the doctor's going to get increased reimbursements under Medicare. That's going to happen. That's what she said. She's going put this forward and push this forward as everyone suspected she would. So where are all the savings?

SKINNER: But a lot of things are going to happen. You know, if we enact--

INGRAHAM: That doesn't matter to you?

SKINNER: --they'll be huge savings.

INGRAHAM: That doesn't matter to you?

SKINNER: If the public option, that's competition, which is a good thing. Competition. Listen--

INGRAHAM: But that doesn't matter to you about the deficit.

SKINNER: --I think that what-

INGRAHAM: Don't switch grounds here.

SKINNER: No.

INGRAHAM: Does that matter to you or not?

SKINNER: I don't-

INGRAHAM: That she says--that the president goes out today and says that this is going to be the biggest deficit reducer as far as the legislation in American history.

SKINNER: The CBO said that.

INGRAHAM: And President Obama said that today.

SKINNER: The CBO.

INGRAHAM: You don't have a problem with the doctors fix then?

SKINNER: $1.2 trillion over two decades. Okay? All right, you know, here's the thing. I got to put this in. As soon as this bill passes and people--

INGRAHAM: Oh, yes, that's the talking points.

SKINNER: --pre-existing conditions get covered-

INGRAHAM: Yes.

SKINNER: --and businesses get coverage, and college students can stay--they will be happy and these polls will change. Just the war in Iraq, completely flipped. People will be happy. And all this fear mongering will be over. Democrats will be just fine.

INGRAHAM: I'm willing to just in good faith to take bets on this right now. It sounds like we can do it, but-

SKINNER: Okay.

INGRAHAM: --ladies it's great to see you.

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