Massachusetts Senate Race: About Congress' Direction for America

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 18, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Former Massachusetts governor Jane Swift joins us live here in Boston. Governor, this is such an important race and it's so close that the big guns came out, certainly, for Martha Coakley, former president Clinton and President Obama. If you were the candidate, Coakley, who would you rather have come out?

JANE SWIFT, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: I think that actually having both of the former presidents...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you got to pick one! Pick one.

SWIFT: You know what? I'd probably go with Bill Clinton, at this point, just because Hillary Clinton won the state in a very big way. And people have forgotten how he tried to maul the health care system.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now -- yes, speaking of health care system - - how big an issue do you think it is among the voters tomorrow, the health care bill alone?

SWIFT: I think it is the issue, not because of just health care but it encompasses all the things that the electorate is nervous about, the lack of focus on jobs, a very large government program that spends more money than we have and that imposes taxes at the worst possible time in our economy. All of those things, plus the backroom deals. The number of people that I meet who are aware of this whole Nebraska special deal -- that sticks in people's craw.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Massachusetts since 2006 has had universal health care in the state. Like, you've been -- you've been much different than the rest of the country on that. If the health care bill is passed as we anticipate it, does Massachusetts have to, for instance, pick up the gap in my home state of Wisconsin and every other state, minus, of course, Nebraska, which, of course, has a special deal, but does it cost more -- do you pay double in Massachusetts?

SWIFT: It's not a good deal for Massachusetts. But more importantly, what we have learned in Massachusetts is when you try to increase coverage but don't control costs, it's unsustainable. So the federal government has put tons of money in here, but even our state government in a bad economy can't afford the health care system that was passed.

And so we've learned the lesson that making these wonderful promises to folks, when you haven't figured out a way to control coasts and pay for it, is a formula for disaster.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, weather tomorrow -- it's going to be cold. Does that make a difference here? They're pretty tough here.

SWIFT: I think there's so much enthusiasm -- I was just at dinner at an Italian restaurant, and the waiters were talking about this race. I think we're going to see a very healthy turnout. Two weeks ago, I would have told you that was bad for Scott Brown. Today I'm not so sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, there's a huge Democratic registration here, but you've got -- and a very -- a much small smaller -- I think it's 3-to-1 Republicans. But you got this big independent that you call "unenrolled."

SWIFT: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: But independent -- who gets those?

SWIFT: Well, right now, they're breaking for Scott Brown. The reason we have in the past elected Republican governors is because the moderates in Massachusetts don't like big government and lots of taxes. And that is something that I think the folks in Washington have ignored to their peril.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, Martha Coakley isn't out of the game.

SWIFT: No, she's not out of the game.


SWIFT: Martha Coakley and I are from the same hometown. Women from North Adams are pretty tough.

VAN SUSTEREN: But a different party. She's a different party.

SWIFT: She is a different party. But I think this is going to be a very close election tomorrow.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about this whispering campaign some of these Democratic people -- Carl just told us about, where they're sort of whispering around that she's run a lousy campaign? Fair or not?

SWIFT: I don't think it's fair. Listen, we have elected a lot of lousy Democrats in Massachusetts. Scott Brown has run a near perfect race, but you have to do that when you're the Republican candidate because of the numbers you talked about.

This is about the direction that the Congress is leading the country, and it's making a lot of people nervous. The national Democrats are running these ads saying, If you elect Scott Brown, he's going to kill health care. I think those are the dumbest ads I've ever seen. That's why people are voting for Scott Brown, because they want to kill this iteration of health care. They want to send it back to the drawing table. They don't think it's the right bill for Massachusetts or the country.

VAN SUSTEREN: So is it your thought that this is not a vote for or against Martha Coakley or Scott Brown, this is all about what's going on in Washington, so that you could basically put two other people up there?

SWIFT: I think that it's a lot about what's going on in Washington. There's no doubt that Scott Brown has run a great race. He hasn't let the left demonize him as some right-wing kook. It's hard to do when you have a well-known family who are successful in their own right. But I do think that you know, Martha Coakley, is not to blame. I think there are a lot of trends that are working against the Democrats. And what's amazing is you don't see that so often in Massachusetts politics.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who's hungrier, do you think? Who wants it more?

SWIFT: You know what? I think they both want it more. But there's no doubt that the Democrats thought they had this thing sewn up.

VAN SUSTEREN: They thought they had a lock on it.

SWIFT: But why not? Why wouldn't they think that? It's always been the case for -- I don't -- I'm trying to remember if I've been alive for there to be a Republican U.S. senator.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you've had Republican governors, but anyway -- nice to see you, Governor.

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