ABC Offers Skeptical Take on New Republicans Who are 'Whipping Out' Their Pocket Constitutions
Published: 1/5/2011 1:15 PM ET
Good Morning America's Robin Roberts on Wednesday offered a doubting take on whether or not the newly elected Republicans in Congress would be able to keep their promises. She skeptically wondered, "And they're not the first ones who go to Washington, with the right intentions and feeling, you know, the things that they talked about to get elected and then, getting to Washington."
She continued, "Why do they think it's going to be different with them to be able to, you know, have the Constitution whipping out in their pocket, but to be able to maintain what they want?" World News anchor Diane Sawyer appeared on GMA with an interview of newly elected Republicans.
The host announced in a sing-song voice: "They are here!" Sawyer then helpfully announced, "But, they're human."
The ABC journalist pressed several Republican members to repudiate their own government health care: "They are vowing to slash $100 billion in one year and overturn health care. So, I wanted to know, since taxpayers subsidize Congress' health care plan, would they give that up, too? One member said absolutely."
A transcript of the January 5 segment can be found below:
ROBERTS: Eighty seven fresh Republicans sworn today in the House. A dozen in the Senate. Many identified with the Tea Party movement. And our dear friend Diane Sawyer spent a lot of time in Washington yesterday. She sat down with ten of them as they prepare to deliver on their promise to change.
- Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.
DIANE SAWYER: They are here. Rubber meeting the road, as somebody said, walking in the door. That's right. About half of them, half of the freshmen, identify with Tea Party, in one way or the other or were endorsed by the Tea Party. We had a chance to talk with them about everything. What are they going to say when they see Nancy Pelosi for the first time after campaigning against her? But, they're human. First, they have to decide, where do they live? Where do they sleep when they move in? That's where you'll start tonight.
REP-ELECT PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): I'm one of the sleepers.
SAWYER: What do you have a sleeping bag? A sofa?
GOSAR: A mattress. They work out very, very well.
RAND PAUL: I'm going to be living with my dad out here. I'm 47. And I'm going to be moving back in. I told dad, he doesn't have to worry about late-night parties anymore.
SAWYER: They are ophthalmologists, dentists, farmers, pottery shop owners who they say heard the people and they are ready to fight.
REP-ELECT MICHAEL GRIMM (R-New York): I do think the people in the United States have been angry and for the right reasons.
REP-ELECT FRANK GUINTA (R-NH): And the country said directly, stop the spending. Restore a smaller sense and size of government.
SENATOR-ELECT MIKE LEE (R-Utah): The federal government is too big and it's too expensive because it's trying to do too many things. It's trying to tell us where to go to the doctor and how to pay for it. It's not supposed to do that.
SAWYER: They are vowing to slash $100 billion in one year and overturn health care. So, I wanted to know, since taxpayers subsidize Congress' health care plan, would they give that up, too? One member said absolutely.
GOSAR: First of all, Congress should not be exempt from the rules they pass and that's exactly what happened here. In fact, I ask everybody to denounce that, because we shouldn't be taking that, unlike everybody else, in regular, everyday America.
SAWYER: The rest of you that are not renouncing it, how do you answer this?
LEE: There's a big difference between receiving health insurance through one's employer, on one hand. And on the other hand, establishing a national regulatory program that tells people where to go to the doctor and how to pay for it.
SAWYER: But the taxpayer doesn't have an option, but to support it. The tax payer has no choice.
LEE: Look, health care regulation is fundamentally a creature of state law.
SAWYER: They're divided. Even among them, choices are not going to be easy. But they're walking in with their Constitutions in their pockets, determined this will be different. Give me the one word that best expresses what you felt when you walked in, knowing you were here.
LEE: I would say humbled.
PAUL: The imminence of the problems.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT: Determined.
SAWYER: Determined. You know, Robin, it's interesting to me that they have to grapple on so many levels with so many issues. For instance, farm subsidies. A number of them got farm subsidies, as you'll see when we talk further about this. Are they going to renounce farm subsidies? So, here it is. If you want to give the taxpayers a break, how far do you take it? And they have got tough choice ahead. But, we talk about it all?
ROBERTS: Oh, you do. And they're not the first ones who go to Washington, with the right intentions and feeling, you know, the things that they talked about to get elected and then, getting to Washington. Why do they think it's going to be different with them to be able to, you know, have the Constitution whipping out in their pocket, but to be able to maintain what they want?
SAWYER: You know, there is a moment in this interview. And I said to them- I had them raise their hands about a lot of things. And I said, how many of you expect to be here in two years? Nobody raised their hands.
ROBERTS: In ten years?
SAWYER: Two! Two.
ROBERTS: In two years?
SAWYER: Two. Now, some of the senators will be, of course.
ROBERTS: Right. Right.
SAWYER: But nobody raised their hands. And they said, we're not coming here on the premise that we'll be here for life. That's not what we're gonna do. And, you know, the movie that they all watched? Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Exactly.
ROBERTS: I'm sure they did.
SAWYER: Exactly. So, in this moment, on this historic day, they really believe they've come for one mission. And that's what they're going to get done.