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MSNBC: GOP 'Grinches' Stealing Christmas, Being 'Mean' Over ObamaCare

Early in the 1PM ET hour on MSNBC on Tuesday, anchor Norah O'Donnell pressed New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg on Republican efforts to slow down passage of ObamaCare: "You guys are going to probably be there late on Christmas Eve....And a lot of people say it's the Republicans' fault, that you could easily go ahead and move forward with this legislation. Are you the Grinch that stole Christmas?"

Senator Gregg rejected that notion and pointed out: "...it wasn't necessary for the Democratic leadership to back this up to Christmas....We could have come back at the beginning of January and debated this for a week or two in the sunlight. But they don't want sunlight on the bill, it's that simple."

Earlier on Tuesday, during the 10AM ET hour of MSNBC coverage, anchor Contessa Brewer played up the same theme while interviewing Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison: "Is it just, at this point, being mean to keep all the staffers here, to force this thing out until Christmas Eve? Senator McCaskill [D-Missouri] said today, 'look, if we - if the Republicans would get on board we could get this passed today and let everybody go home for Christmas.'"

Like Senator Gregg, Hutchison placed the blame squarely on Democrats: "I am very sympathetic to the argument about the timing, but the Democrats set the timetable. They set it right up against Christmas Eve. They set all of these votes in motion so I don't think that they should really be criticizing Republicans for trying to make one of them come to their senses and say we shouldn't be doing this so fast."

Here is a portion of O'Donnell's interview with Senator Gregg:

1:08PM

NORAH O'DONNELL: The Republicans on Capitol Hill remain united in their opposition to the Senate's bill, but will they be able to stall a final vote that's on track to take place just two days from now? Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire is the ranking member of the Budget Committee. Senator, good to see you. Thanks so much for joining us.

JUDD GREGG: Thank you for having me on.

O'DONNELL: Let me ask you first, there's a lot of talk about - that this is the bill that stole Christmas. You guys are going to probably be there late on Christmas Eve. All of the staffers, there's lots of young people who work up there on Capitol Hill. And a lot of people say it's the Republicans' fault, that you could easily go ahead and move forward with this legislation. Are you the Grinch that stole Christmas?

GREGG: No, I don't think so. You know, this bill came out of the night, it came out of a dark room somewhere and was dropped on the desks - our desks on Saturday, Saturday. So this means the Congress is going to have less than four days to basically look at the most important piece of legislation that we've probably undertaken in my legislative experience and no amendments are being allowed. None. Zero. So the process doesn't have to work this way. You know, it wasn't necessary for the Democratic leadership to back this up to Christmas. The House is gone until January 12th, I think. We could have come back at the beginning of January and debated this for a week or two in the sunlight. But they don't want sunlight on the bill, it's that simple.

Here is a portion of Brewer's interview with Hutchison:

10:40AM

CONTESSA BREWER: Let me ask you, given the fact that the Democrats have rallied around this, that they will pass this, I mean judging by the test votes, this thing is going to pass. Is it just, at this point, being mean to keep all the staffers here, to force this thing out until Christmas Eve? Senator McCaskill said today, 'look, if we - if the Republicans would get on board we could get this passed today and let everybody go home for Christmas.'

KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON: Well, I think that Republicans are trying desperately to have one Democrat look at this, hear from their constituents, and say 'you know what, I'm not going to be a part of this.' Because they will all pay a price when the American people see what the cost and mandates are, and the increase in health care costs. They say it's going to decrease health care costs, there's no way it can decrease health care costs when there are so many taxes on every facet of health care delivery that are included in this bill. And we are trying to talk about it. I am very sympathetic to the argument about the timing, but the Democrats set the timetable. They set it right up against Christmas Eve. They set all of these votes in motion so I don't think that they should really be criticizing Republicans for trying to make one of them come to their senses and say we shouldn't be doing this so fast. It is one-sixth of our economy and it is going to affect every American's quality of life.

-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.