On Thursday's broadcast of Fox News Channel's "Hannity," conservative commentator Pat Buchanan and liberal Daily Beast columnist Kirsten Powers sparred over whether there was any merit to the Republican effort to defund Obamacare.
Powers opened the debate by defending President Barack Obama and calling out host Sean Hannity for his pleas for the Republicans on Capitol Hill to use the continuing resolution process to defund the 2010 health care reform law.
"I don't think anybody is bowing at feet or kissing any feet," Powers said. "But I think the fact that the president will talk to these other people and can't work with the Republicans actually reflects more badly on the Republicans than on the president because they are the ones who are completely impossible. You are one of the people leading them down a crazy little path of trying to defund Obamacare, which does not have - defunding Obamacare does not have the support of the majority of the country contrary to what Republicans keep on saying. A tiny minority of people want to defund Obamacare. It hasn't even launched yet, Sean. And it's a non-starter and it should be a non-starter."
Following Powers' comments, Buchanan, author of " Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? " and Powers had a tense back-and-forth as to whether or not what those Republicans were doing was anything more than a game.Partial transcript as follows:
BUCHANAN: Sean look, this Obamacare appears to be the one red line that Obama will go to the wall to defend. But, look, what's going on here? The Republican House is going to pass a continuing resolution for the government and Obamacare is not in it. Obamacare, according to Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat is a train wreck on the American economy. What Barack Obama is saying is I will shut down this government with my uh veto if you don't send the money for the train wreck with it. Let me ask Harry Reid a question. He said we won't take anything that doesn't have Obamacare. Suppose the House passes a continuing resolution for the Pentagon and sends it to the Senate? Will they block that, too?
HANNITY: Good question. Kirsten?
POWERS: I think the premise, the idea that it's OK for Republicans because the fringe of their party doesn't like Obamacare, that it should be OK for them to defund it and hold up and try to pretend it's the president shutting down the government, when in fact, we know perfectly well who will be shutting down the government. It's the Republicans.
BUCHANAN: Kirsten -
POWERS: It is a game they are playing. I don't understand it.
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BUCHANAN: How can you say the Republicans are shutting down the government when they pass a continuing resolution for the entire government, put it on the president's desk and it is lacking one thing - Obamacare. And he vetoes it. Who shuts down the government? Who is guilty of extortion?
HANNITY: Kirsten, answer the question. That's the key question. Answer that.
POWERS: I'm trying to answer it. You're acting like Obamacare is like lacking the funding to water the White House lawn. It's the signature achievement of the president. And look, if they leave Obamacare care in, everything is fine. They can turn it around easily. Why is Ted Cruz going to filibuster if we don't defund Obamacare?
BUCHANAN: Look, let me ask you this - there are components of Obamacare that have universal support, a very wide support, a majority support. There are aspects of it that people don't want. And what the Republicans are saying is we are not going ahead with the train wreck. After you get this continuing resolution let's discuss what parts we keep and what we dump.