Louisiana lawmaker says ObamaCare opponents are motivated by race

Former Gov. Wilder responds to claim


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 31, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, don't let like the health care law? Democratic Louisiana State Senator Karen Carter Peterson thinks she knows why.


STATE SENATOR KAREN CARTER PETERSON, D-LA.: It shouldn't be about this administration at the state level, nor should it be about the federal administration when it comes to ObamaCare.

But in fact it is. And why is that? Why is that? I have talked to so many members both in the House and the Senate, and you know what? You ready? You ready, what it comes down to? It is not about how many federal dollars we can receive. It's not about that. You ready? It's about race. No, nobody wants to talk about that. It's about the race of this African-American president.


CAVUTO: And not the hundreds of millions of dollars it's already over budget and the strong-arming companies to publicize it.

All right, to the nation's first African-American governor, Doug Wilder, on what he makes of that.

What do you think, Governor?

FORMER GOVERNOR DOUG WILDER, D-VA.: Well, first of all, I would agree that the lady's entitled to her opinion. And that's our country. She's completely entitled to express her views.

However, Neil, I wouldn't elevate that to the point to dignify, to debate that particular assertion, because I do know any numbers of persons who have questions about the enforcement and the enhancement and the implementation of the health care bill, right at my own University at VCU. And the numbers of people who are working there now will have to cut back on the hours that they work because, if you are working over 30 hours, you will have to be covered with health care benefits.

CAVUTO: Right. Right.

WILDER: And not just there, but universities all over the country. The work force is affected. Any numbers of seniors have questions.

And so it's not a question of whether people support it or want it or don't support it or don't want it. They have questions. And that's the unfortunate thing that has happened in this country.

CAVUTO: Well, we always do that, Governor. You're right. She does have, the state senator, who we tried to talk to and get at least a statement, nothing, nothing in return, but hope springs eternal we might -- but she is entitled to her opinion.


CAVUTO: She's not entitled to her own set of facts, though.

WILDER: No, no.

CAVUTO: And the facts are just as you outlined. Some of these issues are very, very real and genuine. And it almost makes a mockery of their concerns.

And I guess what I'm asking you is whether this becomes a theme then among Democrats and among those who support this legislation to say anything bad you are hearing about it is race-inspired?

WILDER: I do not think so. And that's why I conceded her the full authority to express her views. And I don't intend to debate her.

CAVUTO: Right.

WILDER: Nor are you debating her.

What is more important is that, in this country, we have got to get back to a point where we can differ, we can disagree, we can argue. The book that Howard Fineman put out, "Thirteen Arguments for America," is a great book. I have used it my class. It means you debate things.

CAVUTO: But the book thing -- you speak about books, Governor, Nancy Pelosi has put out talking points, a toolkit, as she likes to say, that Democrats can use on the stump to push for health care and target groups like the young and African-American voters, groups that she argues would be sympathetic and indeed very empathetic to what is being talked about in this health care law.

Obviously, she's concerned. Should Democrats in general be concerned that this is going to be an albatross?

WILDER: What is more concerning, as I would see it on behalf of the administration, with so many things going on now, these scandals that people have spoken of, the situation with the IRS, the thing with AP, the thing with Fox News and the attorney general, no administration, or nor can the administration of justice flourish in any atmosphere based on suspicion and fear. It has to be cooperative.

CAVUTO: Well, do you think that's the case now? Do you think that's the case now?

WILDER: That is -- it's increasing. And so people are beginning to have doubts about government in all respects, not just on health care, but the things that I have just outlined with you. And that's bad for our country. That's why...


CAVUTO: Well, maybe government got too big, and that's why this has happened and that's why you have more of these problems, because it's so unwieldy.

WILDER: But one of the things that need to be done, things need to be openly discussed, fully discussed. Don't assume that people are dumb and ignorant and can't absorb it if you discuss it.

The health care bill was huge, big, wasn't adequately explained to begin with. Now that we have it, it is going to be implemented? Is government going so big in terms of what affects the warp and woof of the American people?

And I heard you speaking with the guests that you had on earlier about what triggers the election. Money never is out of the equation. And that's going to be a part of this next election as well.

CAVUTO: That is well put.

Governor, it's always a pleasure to have you.

WILDER: Thank you so much, Neil. Always good to be with you.

CAVUTO: Be well. Doug Wilder, the first African-American governor of anyone in this country, many say set the stage for Barack Obama. Depends where you stand on that, but he is an impressive fellow.

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