Democrats bail on the DNC

Top Story 6/27


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 27, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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JUAN WILLIAMS, FNC HOST: No "Talking Points Memo" because we want to get right to the "Top Story". The House of Representatives has scheduled a vote tomorrow on whether Attorney General Eric Holder should be held in contempt of Congress for his role in the "Fast and Furious" gun walking scandal.

As you know, the Attorney General has refused to turn over some documents pertaining to the administration's political response to the operation. As of now, there are five Democrats who say they will defect and side with Republicans in the contempt vote and that number may go as high as 35.

And speaking of defecting, a growing number of Democrats are skipping the Democratic convention. So far, these nine Democrats have said they will not -- not attend the convention in Charlotte this September.

Should the Obama administration be worried about the no show list? Joining us now from Capitol Hill Chris Van Hollen, a Democratic Congressman from Maryland and a surrogate for the Obama campaign.

Congressman Van Hollen, thanks for coming in.

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: It's good to be with you Juan.

WILLIAMS: I'm sure you heard today that Steve Israel the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee he said to his members, like you know what? You don't need to go to the convention.

Now, I know Congressman Van Hollen you said something like this back in 2008. But now we're seeing it's becoming like a -- a drive for five. Everybody is going that way. What do you take from this? Are they trying to get away from Obama?

VAN HOLLEN: Absolutely not, Juan. And as you said, when I was the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee both in 2008 and 2010, what we advised members, especially those in the toughest elections was to spend time in their districts talking to their constituents.

You're not going to find your constituents in Charlotte, North Carolina and so you should be spending your time back home. And so this has nothing to do with not going to the convention to send a message to the President, nothing of the sort. This has to do with maximizing the time you spend connecting with your constituents.

WILLIAMS: Chris, I just can't buy, come on. Wait a second. You mean this has nothing to do with Claire McCaskill the Senator from Missouri wanting to distance herself from the Democratic brand and a Democratic President?

Now that Democratic ticket is going to be led by that Democratic President and you're telling me somehow it's in her best political interest not to be associated with the celebration of his re-nomination to be President of the United States?

VAN HOLLEN: Juan, listen, I haven't -- I haven't talked to Senator McCaskill. I don't know what her considerations are in making her particular decisions. All I know is that when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Steve Israel and previously myself, provided advice to our members, we are very focused on making sure they are on the ground talking with their constituents.

It's valuable time after -- in September, August time period and that's the justification for it. Again, I can't speak for any individual member and whatever assessment they make. But in terms of the DCCC's advice it's -- it's on that basis.

WILLIAMS: All right, Congressman Van Hollen we know of five Democrats who are going vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress tomorrow. Why are these five Democrats defecting and acting in a historic manner to hold the Attorney General in contempt the first time any Attorney General will ever has been held in contempt by the Congress of the United States?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, here is the situation, Juan, as you know, Congress has an appropriate interest in trying to gather information and the Attorney General Eric Holder has provided that information, thousands of documents. He's testified before Congress nine times.

In fact, Darrell Issa has rejected Democratic requests to have the previous ATF administrator come testify in public to get to the bottom of this. What's happened is this has now become a very political issue. It's not about trying to get to the bottom of it from the Republican perspective. It's about getting Eric Holder.

And to get your question, the National Rifle Association, has weighed in on this issue. There are lots of districts in the country where they carry a lot of sway. And so, again, I can't speak to the individual judgment members reached on this. But I do know from talking to many of our colleagues that the fact that the NRA decided to make this a political issue, has influenced some people's approach to this -- this question.

WILLIAMS: Well, what strikes me is you are making my point because you are saying this act, holding the Attorney General in contempt is not going to produce more information and yet you've got Democrats saying yes, we'll go along with it. Maybe because of the NRA's scoring it and saying they will take points away from candidates who don't vote for the contempt ruling but you see them turning their back on a fellow Democrat and on the President's man, Chris, I mean, Congressman Van Hollen. It seems you've got Democrats running away from the President and the Attorney General.

VAN HOLLEN: Well, Juan what I think you have and again, I'm not judging any particular member's decision but what I think you've got in a lot of these close races we were just talking about close races in the earlier conversation we had. You've got members from very close races, where the NRA, for better or for worse, can carry a lot of sway.

WILLIAMS: All right.

VAN HOLLEN: I think the fact that the NRA weighed in on this thing shows a crass political motive to get Eric Holder. They in fact, sent a letter to Darrell Issa and others saying that they had a big beef with Eric Holder. Not about this particular issue but just in general.


WILLIAMS: I get it.

VAN HOLLEN: And so they have turned this into a -- this is -- this is about them out to get Eric Holder and of course ultimately the President.

WILLIAMS: Ok, let's move on to the other big news that's coming tomorrow. Tomorrow is a mega news day because the Supreme Court ruling on healthcare is due.

Now, if the Supreme Court rules it's unconstitutional to have an individual mandate to buy healthcare, Congressman Van Hollen, what exactly is the primary key legislation accomplishment of the first four years of Barack Obama? What's he running on?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, first of all Juan I should say that I believe that the court will uphold the entire law. After all it's worth reminding everybody that Obama care is based on the same principles as Romney care. The idea being that you need to get everybody into the insurance pool in order to do two things -- number one prohibit people from being discriminated against based on pre-existing conditions; and two, driving down the costs because you have pre-loaders in the healthcare system who are not taking responsibility for the healthcare we pay for it.

WILLIAMS: But Congressman what happens if they rule against it, it is my question what happens if they throw it out?

VAN HOLLEN: So I got it, so -- I don't think that's going to happen. But if they were to do that, there are still other major provisions in this law. The Republicans in the House have said they are going to go to work then and try to repeal all the other provisions. So for example, the provision that says you can stay on your parent's policy until you are 26.


WILLIAMS: Right so he'll go, he'll go to all the consumer friendly elements? Well, that's one option. We'll see how it goes, Congressman.

VAN HOLLEN: Well, but it's important Juan, the people know that what the Republicans say is even if they were to get rid of the individual mandate they want to come back and get rid of all the other stuff. The stuff that protects --


WILLIAMS: I hear you.

VAN HOLLEN: -- consumers against insurance company practices.

WILLIAMS: All right, Congressman -- Congressman you're a good guy. Thanks for coming in tonight. We appreciate it.

VAN HOLLEN: Thanks -- thanks for having me.

WILLIAMS: Next on the rundown, Vice President Biden says Mitt Romney is out of touch with the middle class. Is that an attack resonating with any voters?

And later, the federal government is spending your money on advertisements telling people to sign up for food stamps. Talk about an entitlement nation.

Right back with those reports.

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