GOP Sen. on Slowing Health Care Reform

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," July 23, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, not Waterloo yet, but very close, right?

Senator — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just saying that there will be no health care vote until this fall. The president wants it done before the August recess. And things not much better in the House. Blue Dog Democrats, as they're known, say that they do not feel like they have been dealt with honesty. And nearly all, if not all, 52 members would probably vote against the bill as it stands right now.

Reaction from the guy who is looking to slow the president down, Republican Senator Jim DeMint, whose name shall go unspoken at the White House, but whose very message is spoken every day at the White House. His bestseller, "Saving Freedom," still out there.

Senator, once again, you know, the president was mentioning you today without mentioning you today. I will — I won't go into that. But, clearly, between your picking apart this package and your — and — and other Republicans' concerns and now Democrats concerns about the cost of this package, this whole thing is slowing down.

What do you make of that?

DEMINT: Well, that was my whole goal, is to slow this down, at least until we could force members of Congress to read this and find out what it — what is really in it and let the American people see it, so we could have a good national debate.

I'm glad you did the interview with Linda, because I'm finding women are more exercised about this government takeover than men, because they make most of the health care decisions for themselves and their families. And they are concerned that those decisions are going to be taken from them.

Last night, the president talked a red bill and a blue bill, and how he needed to help decide what — which pill to take because of the cost. Sometimes, physicians and their patients have to make different decisions. And we need to make sure that we protect that right of people to make their own decisions about health care.

CAVUTO: You know, Senator, I don't know what it is about you. You seem like a very amiable, nice chap to talk to. But, boy, the president is vexed by you. And — and he has been over these many days here constantly mentioning you, without mentioning you by name.

We have strong some of these together. This is from the commander in chief.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Another Republican senator said that defeating health care reform is about breaking me.

Another Republican senator that defeating health care reform is about breaking me.

Just the other day, one Republican senator said — and I'm quoting him now — "If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo, it will break him."


CAVUTO: A bit like Prince. You know what I mean? I mean, it's — it is just kind of weird. All you need is a symbol now, Senator, and you're off to the races.

But what do you make of that...


CAVUTO: ... that, day in and day out — obviously, you got under his skin here and bugged him. But he can't let go. And now he is trying to kind of use you as an example of Republicans who are only interested in playing politics.

DEMINT: Well, I introduced a lot more health care reform than anyone in the Senate right now, as far as I know. And he voted against every one of them when he was in the Senate. He didn't introduce one health care reform proposal.

The president is trying to make this personal to deflect attention from the real policy. His administration has been an out-of-control train, Neil, since he took office, just blowing through this trillion-dollar stimulus plan, which hasn't worked. He is trying to do the same thing on health care.

The point I have been trying to make to Americans is, we need to stop the president on this one, or he's going to just burst right on through and do the cap-and-trade energy tax, move on to taking away secret ballot. He's got a lot of special interests' agenda...

CAVUTO: So, you do stand by — I'm sorry, Senator, but you do stand by this...

DEMINT: Sure. Go.

CAVUTO: ... this view that — this Waterloo original remark that, you beat him here, you beat him down on this other stuff? And, well, to many, that was viewed as sort of like a political pitch.

I guess, in a way, it was, right, I mean, that you felt that, if you could stall him on this, stop him on this, you might stop the spending spigot. Was that your intent? Is that your intent?

DEMINT: We need to slow him down on this issue, at least so that we can have a good debate. And that is what I — we have gotten just by calling attention to this plan and the fact that they were going to try to slip it through before we left in August.

But I think the debate — and, certainly, it has been a little painful for me, is to have the White House coming after me. But this is the most important issue that we are facing as a country right now, because it is really a showdown between the principles of freedom and moving towards government control of our economy. And, so, this...


CAVUTO: Well, Senator, I have got to tell you, I have got to tell you (INAUDIBLE) keeps saying — he doesn't really like you. It doesn't seem like he likes you a lot.

Now, by the way, I have a feeling what that feeling is like. So, I don't know where this is going to go for you. But when you sit down or meet with him in a personal setting, are you anxious about — about that? What?

DEMINT: No, I am ready for a health care debate. I worked in health care for years before I came in Congress. I had a small business.

CAVUTO: Right.

DEMINT: And I know what we — we need to do to make health insurance more affordable.

But that's not what he's after, Neil. If he was, we could pass a bill in a few weeks.

CAVUTO: Senator, thank you very much — a senator whose name shall go unmentioned at the White House, but his name is DeMint here.


CAVUTO: Thank you very, very much. Good seeing you.

DEMINT: Thank you, Neil.

I don't think he likes you any better than me, though.


CAVUTO: It's a tossup.


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