Senators from each of America's two major political parties lashed out at one another on a Sunday morning talk show. Dodging questions with talking points is nothing new, but this morning Senator Robert Menendez went off script and challenged the defeatism infecting the country.
In July, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) said if Republicans were able to stop health care reform it would "break" President Barack Obama. "If we're able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him," he said.
But now, DeMint denies that his intention was to break the president. He was asked by ABC's Terry Moran Sunday, "So did you break him, and is that really how Americans want you to behave here in Washington -- Break the President?"
"I did not want this to be the president's Waterloo," DeMint replied.
"But pushing through a massive government takeover of our health care system was certainly not a good idea," he said, hyping vague fears of spending and government takeovers. "After three years of controlling both houses of Congress, (Democrats) are still trying to blame someone else."
"There are a lot of people out there who see the Republican party as the party of no right now," Moran asserted.
DeMint dodged Moran, instead claiming "broad-based tax cuts" are the best way to get the economy working, adding "the President's stimulus has been a massive failure."
So Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) cut him off.
"My dear friend Jim DeMint did want to break Barack Obama," he said. "The Republicans' whole political strategy is for this President and for this Congress to fail."
"All our Republican colleagues have said is no," he went on to say. "They have used the filibuster, a procedure in the Senate to stop progress, 101 times, unprecedented in the history of the United States Senate!"
Menendez pointed out that when George W. Bush came to office he began with a $236 billion surplus, whereas Obama was handed a $1.3 trillion deficit. He credited Obama with making progress despite the economy, attacking Republicans for standing in the way.
"No doesn't create a job, no doesn't create health care insurance for anyone," Menendez huffed. "Or stop the abuses of the insurance companies. No doesn't help a senior citizen with their prescription drug coverage. Its time to begin to say yes to move the country forward."
This video is from ABC's This Week, broadcast Jan. 24, 2010.