Obama: Win would be ‘mandate’ for ‘balanced’ debt reduction
GOP hopeful Mitt Romney is getting a lot of credit for “Obamacare” from President Barack Obama, who says he “stole” ideas for the Affordable Care Act from the former Massachusetts governor — and that could be part of the solution for bringing the nation’s debt under control.
In an interview that aired on Monday, MSNBC co-host Mika Brzezinski asked the president what sacrifices he would demand from the bottom 99 percent of income earners in the U.S.
“Our first order of business is going to be to get our deficits and debt under control,” the president explained. “And the good thing is is that there’s a forcing mechanism. The Bush tax cuts end at the end of the year. We know that we’ve got the sequester looming that wouldn’t be the right way to do things, that’s taking a machete to something as opposed to a scalpel.”
“And after the election, I think that both Democrats and Republicans have to step back and say, ‘You know what? This is something that the country wants to solve.’ If I’ve won, then I believe that’s a mandate for doing it in a balanced way. We’ve already made a trillion dollars worth of cuts, we can do some more cuts. We can look at how to deal with health care cots under Medicaid and Medicare in a serious way, but we’re going to also need revenue.”
“Can you get Medicare done?” MSNBC co-host Joe Scarborough wondered. “Because Republicans demagogue it. Democrats demagogue it. Everybody’s demagogued it through the years. Can you go to the Republicans and say, guys, we’ve got to do this together?”
“Look, I’m on record, I think turning it into a voucher premium support is a bad idea,” the president explained. “I do think, though, that anybody realistically looks at it and says, if we’re spending 17 percent of our GDP on health care and every other country’s spending 11 percent and their outcomes are better. That difference is 6 percent, that’s our deficit and our debt.
He continued: “And so, let’s find good ideas. Now, I stole a whole bunch of ideas from a Massachusetts governor that I think over time is going to save us money. The $716 billion that governor Romney suggests I stole from medicare actually is money that we are saving in the system and extending the life of Medicare. So I think there are ways we can do this in a creative way.”
Scarborough also pressed the president on if the intelligence community was giving him bad intelligence prior to a terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans.
“That’s what we’re going to find out from the investigation,” Obama noted. “The truth is, is that across the board, when this happened, my number one priority was secure Americans, figure out what happened, bring those folks to justice. We are in the process of doing that right now.”
“And what my attitude on this is, is if we find out that there has a big breakdown and somebody didn’t do their job, they’ll be held accountable. Ultimately, as commander in chief, I’m responsible, and I don’t shy away from that responsibility. My number one responsibility is to go after folks who did this and we’re going to make sure that we get them. I’ve got a pretty good track record doing that.”
Watch this video from MSNBC’s Morning Joe, broadcast Oct. 29, 2012.