ObamaCare: Juan Williams vs. Rush Limbaugh

Health care law on life support?


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," April 2, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JUAN WILLIAMS, CO-HOST: Last week, Rush Limbaugh, the great El Rushbaugh, had some issues with me, your humble political analyst, on the Obamacare hearings.

We'll start with my comments actually that Rush played on his show, and then Rush's reaction.


WILLIAMS: The consequence politically is what's being debated in Washington. Does it help President Obama's re-election campaign if the healthcare act is viewed as unconstitutional by the court or does it hurt Republicans?

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I know Juan Williams. I have been interviewed by Juan. I like Juan.

But, Juan, do you even care what the bill says? Here we are once again analyzing the political ramifications for Obama and for the republic. What about to the people? What about for the citizens of this country that are going to lose a significant amount of freedom? What about the Constitution?


WILLIAMS: Well, you know what? It's hard for me to argue with a man who has half of his brain tied behind his back. But he's right. I'm just telling you what was going on in Washington. Right then, it was a very simple conversation about the political consequences of what the Supreme Court's ruling on what healthcare might be.

But I will say this -- in terms of the Constitution, Rush, remember that at very conservative court, the D.C. Appeals Court, Lawrence Silverman, remember that? A conservative jurist said, you know what, this is constitutional.

In fact, two of the four courts that have ruled on this said it was constitutional. In terms of the people, Rush, let me just say this, if you're a senior and you're dealing with prescription drugs, and the donut hole, guess what? Obamacare helps you.

If you want your kid to stay on your insurance plan until he's 26, Obamacare helps you. If you're someone who doesn't have insurance, guess what? Obamacare helps you.

These are all realities that people are going to have to deal with that politics. So, that's what I was trying to say to the great Rush Limbaugh.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Of course, Obamacare helps you but you leave off the second part of the equation -- for how much? It's like here's the purpose of Obamacare. Here is free stuff. And it is. It's free.

But the next step is we are now bankrupt. It's like your dad bought a boat. Now he can't pay the rent. It's a great boat.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: And also, Rush's first part of the first equation that he brought was not the question of all those other goodies that a lot of people could agree with and I actually think could pass in a bipartisan fashion. The question is on the constitutionality of one provision, and that's the individual mandate.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: Correct. That's the problem.

WILLIAMS: Right. But I was saying the conservative courts have said it's fine.


PERINO: OK. The question is now in front of the Supreme Court. His question -- his point wasn't about the announcement of the good stuff that comes with the bill that people might like. I actually don't like kids being able to be on their parent's insurance until they're 26, I think that's ridiculous. But regardless, that wasn't what Rush is talking about. It was like about one thing that's in front of the Supreme Court.

WILLIAMS: No, he also said, what about the people? You know, what about --

PERINO: But the people, he said about two-thirds of the people think that it's unconstitutional.

WILLIAMS: No, they're not. That's not true.

PERINO: Yes, they do.

WILLIAMS: Two-thirds of people says --

PERINO: Hey, you quoted the Gallup poll, that was in the Gallup poll.

GUILFOYLE: That's what the polling show.

WILLIAMS: Two-thirds of the people want it repealed, but a lot of those people think it should have done more. It should have a public option.


ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: No, no. The number is -- that we brought the poll up last week a couple of times, 68 percent of the people think the individual mandate portion of the bill should be repealed.

GUILFOYLE: That is unconstitutional.

PERINO: Yes, it doesn't mean they don't like the other stuff.

BOLLING: But here's -- by the way, Rush, come on, half his brain tied behind his back.

GUILFOYLE: Yes, that's not nice.

BOLLING: We don't like it.

WILLIAMS: Wait, wait, that's what Rush said about him --


WILLIAMS: You never listened to Rush Limbaugh?

GUTFELD: That's what he says.

WILLIAMS: That's what he says.

GUTFELD: He fights people with one part of his brain behind his back.

WILLIAMS: I can't believe you don't listen to Limbaugh.

BOLLING: I stand corrected.

GUILFOYLE: It's OK when he says it.

BOLLING: But getting to the point --

GUILFOYLE: No, I'm saying it's OK when he says it, not you.

WILLIAMS: Oh, wait. I mean Rush can have fun but I can't have fun?


PERINO: Absolutely.

BOLLING: Can we just point out I think what Rush was saying, is that President Obama is politicizing the Obamacare debate when the American people, as Dana rightly points out, don't want it. Why is there a discussion? Let's just move on. The Supreme Court has it --



GUILFOYLE: Yes. But let me tell you something thing about this, Juan -- stay with me, focus, stay with us. Here is the deal.


WILLIAMS: You can teach me.


Here's the thing, right -- the balance of power, separation of powers. And what the Supreme Court has put in this unenviable position of trying to put a check on the most massive expansion of the federal government trying to take over now healthcare, which we clearly cannot pay for and with an individual mandate that is unconstitutional. That's why they're taking issue.

No one is like I'm against kids that are sick or people that have preexisting condition or people want to take care of their children. That's not an issue that the conservatives and the Republicans are saying we don't want to take care of sick people or we want to hurt old ladies. We're saying be fiscally responsible and if there isn't a way to pay for it, and if this is not an enumerated power within the Constitution for the government to do it, then it must be struck down.

WILLIAMS: Justice Guilfoyle, here's the problem -- if you have five Republicans voting against it and four Democrats voting for it, how does it strike the American people in the aftermath of Bush v. Gore and the aftermath of Citizens United that, in fact, the court is not looking at the constitutionality.

GUILFOYLE: You're suggesting.

WILLIAMS: They're just dealing with their politics.

GUILFOYLE: You're suggesting and you are disparaging the court and saying that they only engage in political pandering, that they would, in fact, only go with the will l of the person appointing them based on their partisan affiliation.


WILLIAMS: -- it would be a shame. And that is not --

PERINO: But that's exactly what's happening. I saw this early on because you could see from Bob's comments, all summer long, that if the court rules against it, then they're right wing hacks. But if they rule for it, then the case is settled. That -- the political expediency of that argument that President Obama is making is not lost on the American people, which is why they are just going to put their trust in the Supreme Court, a trusted institution and they will abide by whatever is decided.

WILLIAMS: Well, you know what? Let it be. But I'm just telling you, the credibility of this court after Bush v. Gore, and Citizens United, a lot of Americans --

PERINO: What about all the ones that Kennedy has voted with them?

WILLIAMS: -- the kind of political polarization in Congress now --


PERINO: So, if Kennedy votes in favor of something that the Democrats are for, then it's a good court? That's exactly what the argument is. The reverse has to be true.

WILLIAMS: Let me just say --

GUILFOYLE: You're playing good court, bad court again.

WILLIAMS: People know about swing vote and people know about the court being an independent institution. But we have seen in recent years is they become more political.

PERINO: That is wrong.

GUILFOYLE: Disagree.

BOLLING: Elections have consequences, Juan, and there is. That's the major --

WILLIAMS: That maybe an argument for defeating Mitt Romney.

GUILFOYLE: Abide by the Constitution.

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