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Cantor defends his approach to health care reform debate

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Richmond Congressman Eric Cantor is quickly becoming one of the leading voices of the “loyal opposition”. He is regularly called upon by national media outlets to give the Republican point of view in the highly charged debate over health care reform. In a live interview today on NBC12 First at 4, Cantor told me the concerns of the country are similar to the concerns of the people in his Central Virginia Congressional District.

“Most people, here in the Richmond area and throughout our state really are as concerned with the direction this country is headed,” he said.

But Cantor’s high-profile does come at a cost. President Barack Obama, the leader of the free world, has made no secret that he disapproves of the tactics Republicans are using to fight his proposals and has used Cantor on multiple occasions as an example.  Most recently, during a highly charged health care summit hosted by the White House, Mr. Obama seemed to indicate that House Minority Whip was grandstanding. Cantor brought the entire 2,700 page bill to the meeting and used it as a prop during his discussion. At the time the President said that move was an example of “the kinds of political things we do that prevent us from having a conversation.”

Cantor scoffed at the idea that his demonstration of his displeasure with the bill, was anything by genuine. “This is a 2,700 page bill that cost a trillion dollars,” the Congressman said on NBC12.  “It is an attempt to transform our 1/6th of our economy and frankly doesn’t address the primary issue, which is how are we going to bring down costs for people.”

Always adept at staying on message, Cantor responded to the President’s raucous rally outside Philadelphia by saying that Republicans believe that the health care reform debate, just needs to start from scratch. “Most of the American people are at the point where they don’t like the bill that the president is pushing,” said Cantor. “They would rather us set it aside. And go in step by step and have a new approach to deal with health care costs. Then try and expand access.”

If Cantor’s high profile advocacy is costing him political points locally, it is not evident yet. The Republican has already beat back one prospective Democratic challenger, and no others appear on the horizon. It is clear that the local Representative is in store for big things, provided the GOP delivers on the predictions that many are making for the fall elections.

You can see my entire interview with Cantor below.

Written by Ryan Nobles

March 9, 2010 at 12:35 am

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