On Wednesday's Good Morning America, ABC's Chris Cuomo suggested Republicans were putting average Americans at "risk" by opposing President Obama's big government health care plan. Cuomo sought validation from liberal Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger: "Do you believe that Republicans are playing politics here, at the risk of people's health care....Is this getting to be a little bit of a reckless situation?"
Even though Schwarzenegger assured Cuomo he generally supported Obama's health care ideas and laughingly agreed with the suggestion that Republicans were "playing politics," rather than opposing the government takeover out of principle, Cuomo also upbraided the California Governor for a new budget deal that included "over $1 billion in health care cuts."
"It's going to affect low-income families. It's going to affect the coverage that children get," Cuomo lobbied. "Is this absolutely necessary?"
The only time Cuomo raised an issue from the right was when he asked about the high top tax rates that are being proposed by congressional Democrats: "If that is the reality, that the top tier of earners in America is going to be paying over 55% in taxes, do you think this bill will make it?" But Cuomo ended with a plea that "the President needs to call out the lion," Senator Ted Kennedy, to ultimately win his liberal health care plan. "Do you think he needs to get involved for this to be successful?"
Here are all of the questions Cuomo posed to Schwarzenegger during the July 22, 7am ET interview:
■ Your state is somewhat of a window into the reality of health care. You've been pictured at your desk with a big knife, having to cut the budget - over $1 billion in health care cuts. It's going to affect low-income families. It's going to affect the coverage that children get. Is this absolutely necessary?
■ Many governors do not support President Obama's health care bill because of what it will mean to their budgets. You do support Obama's bill. Why?
■ Well, just to be clear, are you leaning towards supporting what the President has been talking about? I mean, he's put out lots of information. Which way are you leaning at this point, Governor?
[SCHWARZENEGGER: I'm leaning towards reforming health care in America, and I think the whole idea of having everyone insured is a great idea....]
■ And what do you think about what it could mean to the tax burden? There are estimates that for the top level of Americans in their tax bracket, over 55% of their money could go to one government agency or another. I don't have to tell you, as a top earner yourself, how big a burden that could be. What do you think of that?
■ Well, if that is the reality, that the top tier of earners in America is going to be paying over 55% in taxes, do you think this bill will make it?
■ There's a lot of politics going on here that may determine the fate of the bill. Let me play you some sound here of what the president said about what may be going on in DC.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (from PBS interview): There are folks who think that- you know, we should try that - you know, dust off that old playbook. What they don't recognize is that, this isn't about me. It's about the American people, and things have gotten worse since 1993. (end clip)
You're always honest about both political parties. Governor, do you believe that the Republicans are playing politics here, at the risk of people's health care?
[SCHWARZENEGGER: Well, hello? (laughs) I mean, since when has there anything been done in Washington or here in Sacramento, or at any capital where politics didn't play a big role in the outcome?...]
■ Of course, there's always politics going on. The question is, is it upstaging the need to help people right now? Is this getting to be a little bit of a reckless situation?
■ Do you think the President needs to call out the lion? Do you think this takes your wife's uncle, Senator Kennedy? Do you think he needs to get involved for this to be successful?
-Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.