Meet the Press   |  October 06, 2013

3: Government shutdown: Who is to blame?

A Meet the Press panel discusses who is at fault for the ongoing government shutdown, and examines the problems of rollout of health care exchanges.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> "meet the press" is back with our political roundtable. here this morning, rich lowry , steve inskeep , marcia fudge and mike murphy . now, savannah guthrie .

>> we'll get to our roundtable in a moment, but first the latest at the issue of the american shutdown, the president's health care . there is growing interest in people signing up for coverage.

>> it has been a frustrating week for many americans who want to take advantage of the affordable care act . but it seems the website has not been able to keep up with the workload. the big rollout came tuesday, many uninsured americans encouraged to go on line and sign up for low cost insurance. people were staffed to help navigate the site, but within minutes, the system crashed.

>> there are too many people accessing it right now.

>> it seemed no one was getting through.

>> we're going to get in, it just may not be right now.

>> we have until march.

>> on tuesday, we were with the schultz family in phoenix as they tried to enroll.

>> we wanted to know the priorities, the options, and suddenly we couldn't get in, so we were disappointed.

>> by the end of the week, they still were not able to log on. republicans said it's a sign obama care is not ready for prime time .

>> from reports around the country, it seems obama care is off to a very rocky start.

>> but the president insisted the system was simply overloaded with unexpected demand.

>> we'll be speeding things up in the next few hours to handle all this demand that exceeds anything that we had expected.

>> by friday evening the government reported more than 8.6 million visitors had logged on to call centers had taken more than 600,000 calls. but they won't say how many people nav gaigated the website without getting kicked off or how many had been able to complete an application. they have more people working on it, adding service hours and capacity. we don't yet know if dozens of people, or millions, savannah, have succeeded in getting through the website, and for that matter, finished the application process.

>> thank you so much.

>>> we'll get to the rollout of obama care in a moment, but let's start with the government shutdown . nbc news put a tweet out this week, let congress know how it feels. let's take a look at the response.

>> dear congress, i would like you to go without pay for one month.

>> stop acting in your own self-interest. get your act together and do what's right for the country.

>> i hope to god in next year's election, all of you are booted out.

>> congresswoman fudge, aren't you the lucky one to be the city member at this table. no matter who gets the blame here ultimately, whether people blame the republicans or the democrats , in the end is it just bad for the institution? is it on awful yoll of your houses?

>> yes, it is. there are no winners here. when you talk about shutting down the government and all the stuff that goes around about who is at fault and who is not, and how we should have a clean cr, let me say it is our responsibility to fund the government of the united states and we should not let anyone to extract a ransom for any of us to do our jobs.

>> let's turn to mike murphy , republican strategist. two-thirds of the country don't like the tactic of shutting down the government. even if they don't like obama care, they don't like this tactic.

>> that's the problem. i think we should go back to the problem of the computer sites, because what we have is a perfect storm here. you have the cynics who run the democratic party and you take the stupid wing of the gop. instead somehow a monkey wrench got thrown into the system, and now everybody hates congress and republicans are taking the bigger political hit. i saw a poll where the approval rating of the u.s. congress was 5% and the margin barrier was 6.

>> mitch, do you think it was a miscalculation for people to take a stand in this way with a shutdown?

>> everybody knew we were going to have a confrontation in the fall over the continuing resolution over the debt limit. it's true the hand of the house of the gop was forced in this rank and file . this is not how they would set up this fight. they would have gone to the debt limit right away. now they're in this fight. it's going to segue into the debt limit, and the caucus is united, and they wanted to hold firm until harry reid and president obama are actually willing to negotiate, which is how these kinds of disputes are always settled.

>> is the house conference united, steve?

>> no, no, when i talk to republicans , there is incredible diversity of opinion, and i think when you try to decide who is to blame for this shutdown, you can say the republicans wanted it. i think that's unfair. i think it's fair to say some of the republicans misjudged their opponents. they assumed the democrats would cave. they were wrong. when i talk to republicans , the republican who, to me, seems to have the best notion of what is on the democrats ' mind, believe it or not, is grover norquist , gave a fascinating interview to the " washington post " in which he said, the way to deal with this is get past, in some short-term way, perhaps, however you have to, both the budget ceiling and this debt problem in the shutdown, and push the democrats instead on the sequestration, the really deep budget cuts, and they're you're touching something the democrats are really bothered by, that they might be willing to give something to the republicans to get out of this.

>> but the republicans ' stance is, i won't negotiate. even if there is a host of reasons why that is a responsible position, as a bumper sticker, it's not the greatest, is it? we're about to have calamity, but i'm not negotiating?

>> it is our job to fund the government. i would say to those people who believe it is appropriate to say, oh, we're not going to pass a continuing resolution , a clean bill, because we want the president to negotiate. the president has already offered to negotiate on obama care. he has said, if you bring me ideas, i'm willing to accept them. this is not the point at which we then take hostages and say, oh, you know, if you don't change obama care, we're not going forward. we pass continuing resolutions eight times.

>> it is the job of the president of the united states to rise above petty politics. the shutdown is politics. the debt ceiling is a catastrophe. the last time we had this, we solved it by painful bipartisan negotiations. that is the way to get out of this debt ceiling. i think it's the president's job to knock heads. republicans won't get much, but they'll get something. they'll give up a lot. but the democrats can't be in a we won't negotiate harry reid kind of way.

>> but they passed the health and credit act to ensure that if we go over the debt limits, the debts would be paid, and the democrats uniformly oppose that because they want to make everything as frightening and painful as possible. they complain about the nih not having furnding. republicans want to fund the nih but the democrats oppose it. it's the cynicism and intransigence show.

>> let's be clear. they pillaried the senate for not having a budget. we passed a budget, the senate passed a budget six months ago. they ignored it. we would not be where we are today had they gone to conference and had a budget.

>> no, no, the house has passed a bill to fund the nih. why won't you support it?

>> it was passed. i don't support it because every single function of the government is important, and we need to open all of the government.

>> but why won't you support it until there is an end actually negotiated?

>> i'm going to jump in here so people don't think i went out for a cocktail or something. let's talk about obama care. obviously the rollout did not go as smoothly as hoped. and saturday night live was there having fun with it. take a look.

>> the obama website had too much web traffic . you can't campaign the fact that millions don't have health care and then be surprised that millions don't have health care . how could you not be ready? that's like 1-800-flowers getting caught off guard on valentine's day?

>> how about it, steve, if you interviewed the president on this very subject?

>> he acknowledged there will be glitches. he said, expect problems --

>> it sounds like something more than glitches, though.

>> yeah, and this is huge because we now have the reality of obama care, the affordable health care act that's here. we had republicans saying be afraid, be afraid be terrified of this. we have democrats who haven't supported it much but they say it's going to be fine. now we have the possibility of millions of americans dealing with the reality of it for better or worse, and i think that's the potential of transforming this over time . i think it's still possible for reality to have a bearing.

>> but is this a good tactic on the part of republicans ?

>> on the policy, i'm so sympathetic to my side on this. i think they're right about a lot of it. but that's why we have mid-term elections, so you can throw democrats out of office over obama care. when your opponent is in trouble, when they're drowning politically, you throw them a fire hose . we throw them a lifeboat and a machine gun and now we debate this -- excuse me, i'm all choked up. instead of 13 months away, getting control of the senate which means we can have the powerful fight. it's an incredibly stupid move.

>> do you agree with that, rich?

>> i think mike is a little too panicked over here, can barely get his words out. look, it's a short-term thing whether the obama care glitches get enough coverage the first week. the key question is whether there are really, over time , enough people signed up to make the exchanges work. they're very dubious about that. this law has a legitimacy problem. it was never popular when it was proposed, it's even less popular now. it was unprecedented in that it was a major change passed over partisan lines, and i think it's going to exacerbate problems in our health care system .

>> let our congresswoman have the first and last word. what do you think about this rollout of obama care? are you disappointed?

>> certainly, but let me different about enrollment and the plan itself. there have been problems with the enrollment, and yes, we should have been better prepared. but it does not negate the fact that the plan itself is going to work. we're going to reduce the cost of insurance. we're going to do away with things that have been creating problems with our deficit, like medicare part d. we're going to reduce the cost of health care .

>> roundtable, stand by. we're not done with you next.

>>> coming up, my exclusive interview with u.n. ambassador samantha power . what she thinks of iran's