Jake Tapper talks to the 'State of the Union' panel: Rep. Mark Sanford, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rick Santorum, and Jennifer Granholm, about the future of Obamacare and Rep. Darrell Issa calling for a special prosecutor to investigate Trump's ties to Russia.
Transcript, via CNN:
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) That is newly elected Democratic Party chairman Tom Perez with some strong language as he takes the reins to lead the oppositions against President Trump, but will it translate to votes?
With me now an all-star panel. Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, from the Great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Former Democratic governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm, Republican Congressman Mark Sanford of South Carolina, and Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego of Arizona. Thanks one and all for being here.
Governor, let me start with you. You were a supporter of Tom Perez. As you know, there are Ellison supporters, Sanders supporters, who feel like the fix was in and that there was a smear campaign against Ellison. What do you say to that?
JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), FORMER MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: There was definitely no smear campaign. But what we saw and as Tom Perez said to you, and they’re actually legitimately friends. And what Tom did in his first act, which was to say essentially bring Ellison up by acclamation, make him the deputy chair was a great expression of unity, a great expression of generosity on Tom's personal part, but I think it wasn't hard for them because they are good friends. Now it's going to be up to both of them to make the case to the Sanders supporters and to those who supporter Ellison that we are better united.
As Ellison said himself, we don't have the luxury of walking out of that room yesterday in Atlanta being divided. We have a lot of work to do and it starts with healing.
TAPPER: But I’d have to say, congressman, with all due respect you heard Senator Sanders this morning he didn't exactly deny that he thinks Tom Perez is the same-old, same-old as he had said in his statement. He's not going to hand over his mailing list to the DNC. He’s going to keep it and back the progressive candidates he wants to. It seems like there still is going to be something of a rift.
REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D), ARIZONA: I think at the end of the day we have to really look at the fact that we really brought the two best candidates need to be the head of the party.
You know, Tom Perez is really bringing in the labor aspect of the Democratic Party, a group of voters that need to get back, also Latinos. You know, he is the first Latino DNC chair in the history of Democratic Party, a growing demographic that really over performed last time. Now we have Keith that’s joining in within the DNC leadership (INAUDIBLE) progressives. Now the idea of emails or no emails being there I think at the end of the day that’s going to be irrelevant.
We really see the excitement that’s happening. We have a candidate down in Georgia who has raised $1 million just online, in a district that is traditionally a Republican district. So we know that the elements of the progressive movement are going to come back into the fold, into Democratic Party, and they’re going to energize it. We’re going to be stronger for it.
TAPPER: Senator Santorum. You were talking about the possibility of attracting these white working class voters before Donald Trump even really even thinking about running for president. You wrote a book about it in fact. Do you think that the Democrats can put them back in play?
RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, the problem with -- the problem with that is that the Democratic Party has become the party of Bernie Sanders, I mean they are the progressives. That’s who control.
I mean, to say there is a substantive difference between Perez and Ellison, there is no substantive difference. I mean, it was a style that (INAUDIBLE) sort of connection difference. But on the philosophy this is Bernie Sanders' party. And as striking as the Republican transformation under Trump is. It’s even more striking in my opinion from a policy point of view, the transformation of the Democratic Party to be really the party of a Vermont socialist, who has -- who has been out there on the far reaches of the Democratic Party, now is the central figure in their party.
That to me is something that's really remarkable.
GRANHOLM: But wait a second. Aren't you the person who was talking about making sure that trade is fair? I mean, aren’t you raising the -- haven’t you been raising these same issues? You and I have both been raising these same issues.
So Bernie Sanders has been raising those issues too. That economic core issue is a Democratic issue, you can brand it all you want, but you've been raising that issue too.
SANTORUM: Well, if I’ve been raising issues it's not a core Democratic issue. Obviously it's something I’ve been raising and if you recall the last president to put in tariffs was George W. Bush who put in steel tariffs. So -- no, this is not --
GRANHOLM: But you're in alignment with Bernie Sanders --
SANTORUM: On the issue of trade -- on the issue -- on the issue of trade we -- there is alignment but on just about everything else there isn’t much.
REP. MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I would just say this, leaving trade aside, which is going to be interesting here and I hear consistently from voters back home, is what Carville talked about, it's the economy, stupid, it's the economy, stupid, it's the economy stupid. And the pitch that I hear a lot of Republicans versus Democrats in back home is too much about redistribution of wealth for Democrats, want to look more at the creation of wealth. I think they got to get out of the pickle and it’s going to be interesting.
TAPPER: You know, what I want to ask you about, congressman, the former speaker of the House John Boehner made headlines this week and when said, Obamacare is not going to be repealed and replaced.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOEHNER, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: I shouldn't have called it repeal and replace, because that's not going to happen, it's basically going to fix the flaws and put a more conservative box around it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Is that going to be good enough, what he's talking about?
SANFORD: Well, I mean, I think, I disagree with the hypothesis just to say if you look at actually the reconciliation bill it has got to be budget neutral which means you can’t do all of Obamacare. But if you look at what it does in terms of penalties, if you look at it in terms of taxes -- I mean, it really -- I won't say guts, guts is not the right word. But it really, I mean, eliminates major portions of the Affordable Care Act.
This is not about putting a bow on something. This is (INAUDIBLE).
GALLEGO: The GOP really backed themselves into a corner here. For years and years they were talking about, you know, getting rid of Obamacare and now they have a problem. They don’t know how to get rid of it while keeping the same -- the popular areas of it, including Medicare expansion, which is very important to -- a lot of GOP states have balanced their budget based on Medicaid expansion and the same time making sure to keep lifetime caps off. All these things are very popular.
If you start unraveling portions of the ACA you could pretty much create a shock to the insurance market, which would have horrible repercussions for them editorially. They just don't know how to do that right now.
GRANHOLM: In fact the governors who are here in D.C. right now for the National Governors Association, were just presented with a -- an objective report by McKenzie on the so called Republican plan. And that report, the plan which basically grant -- block grants is one potential, block granting to the state the money that they would be able to use to care of their -- for their population.
TAPPER: For Medicaid.
GRANHOLM: For Medicaid, and what that report says is that it would essentially cut millions of people off of health care and devastate state budgets.
So one way or the other, you either provide -- you either cut off populations of care to save money, you cut services to save money, or you cut the reimburses to help providers who will then drop out of the system. It doesn’t work.
SANTORUM: Yes. The other big problem is there are things that can’t change the reconciliation. Like preexisting condition, it's very popular.
You know right now we have -- the reality is today that thousands maybe approaching millions of Americans are paying nine months for insurance. Why? Because you pay for your insurance for nine months, there's a provision in Obamacare that says you can't be thrown off of your plan for three months. So you stop paying in September you can't get thrown off your plan until the end of the year, you have a right to guaranteed issue because no preexisting condition. And so you buy a new plan in January.
So people are paying nine months for 12 months of care and it’s happening more and more, more as people get the gig (ph). Obamacare is a failure but you're going to need 60 votes to change preexisting conditions -- other things to make the system work and that's the problem of repealing and replacing, is you can't do it because it's a broken system.