Meet the Press   |  October 13, 2013

The GOP and Obamacare: Is outcry helpful?

Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio talks about his party's conflicts with the Affordable Care Act and how their words and actions impact the development of the policy.

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

>> issues is that for conservatives this has been such a huge issue. even though laws have been passed and upheld by the court, no, there is a basis to try to replace it, to get rid of it. then you have dr. ben carson who won the straw poll by voters here in washington. this is what he said on friday. i want to get your response.

>> i have to tell you, you know, obama care is really, i think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. and it is slavery, in a way.

>> he was second in the straw poll . how much damage does that do to your position that obama care should be repealed? is that overstatement that's counterproductive?

>> well, he's a doctor who feels passionately about this issue, obviously. he can speak for himself, but let me go back to what dick said.

>> is that something that is a senior republican, you think, is helpful to the debate about obama care?

>> i think what would be helpful is if we sat down and figured out how to make this less damaging to american families and our american economy because it is a huge problem. by the way, it's not just a glitch in terms of the rollout, it's a breakdown, having tried myself to get on yesterday. i feel sorry for the "new york times" researcher i heard about this morning who spent 11 days trying to get on and ended up with a blank screen. there are huge problems with it, let's be honest, and we ought to be sure we can minimize the damage.

>> does secretary sebelius keep her job?

>> absolutely. understand, we've been off to a rocky start for sure because 15 million people wanted to get on. why? because 40 or 50 million americans don't have any insurance. this is their first chance, many of them, to ever have health insurance . they're desperate for an affordable health insurance policy. we haven't had much help when it comes to funding the startup of obama care.

>> senator roberts, your colleague in the senate, said secretary sebelius, head of health and human services , should resign.

>> i don't think that will solve the problem, unfortunately. i think it's much deeper than that. i think the law is fundamentally flawed. i think this rollout is a disaster, not just a glitch. but i want to say something positive here about my colleague here. he has been willing and he's shown political courage to do so to talk about these issues. i think this morning if we can leave with anything it is that this is an opportunity over the next couple days, but really over the next couple months, because i think we'll probably push this down the road a little bit, to deal with the underlying problem. and that is the fact that we have these historic levels of debt and deficit that are hurting the economy today. it's like a wet blanket on the economy today. that's why, in my view, we're not getting the robust recovery we're hoping for, but it is a war for future generations. we keep building up this debt and deficit, and dick is right, we have to deal with part of the budget that is not being talked about, which is two-thirds of the budget in the fastest growing part, and if we don't do that, we will have failed. if we do do that, we will surprise the american people and do the right thing.

>> i have to leave it right there because i'm out of time. thank you, senators. i know you're out of work which is why you're