Appearing on Fareed Zakaria GPS this morning, former New Jersey Governor and EPA administrator Christie Todd Whitman (R) cautioned Republicans against overreaching in the new Congress, noting that they’re already “misinterpreting this election” by “standing up and saying ‘no’ to everything.” “This idea that compromise is somehow defeat, actually is the antithesis of the way this country was founded,” she noted. Whitman ridiculed the GOP goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act and insisted that “most Americans don’t want the health care reform repealed” — “they want it improved, they want it changed, but they feel, basically, there were some basic changes that needed to be made in it.”
Asked about Sarah Palin’s influence on the Republican party, Whitman admitted that she could “see a scenario” under which Palin can become the party’s nominee for president in 2012, but suggested that she would not be voting for her:
WHITMAN: I don’t think she’ll win nationwide…the base isn’t big enough and Republicans should have learned that…you’ve got to start competing for the center. And so far, I haven’t seen a lot of outreach on the part of Sarah Palin for that. She’s more concentrated on that base and energizing them. Which is fine, but it’s not going to win you a general election.
ZAKARAI: Would you support her?
WHITMAN: If she were the Republican candidate? She would have to show me a lot more than I’ve seen thus far, as far as an understanding of the the depth and the complexity of the issues that we face…the fact that she left office before even completing her first term, is just not an attitude that I think is necessarily in the best interest of your constituents, rather what’s in your own best interest.
Whitman also argued that Republicans would have to raise taxes to balance the federal budget but predicted that the party would vote against any measure that could be perceived as an increase, out of fear that they will be challenged in the primaries by “very strong groups with a lot of money behind them.” “The reality is, yes you are going to spend,” Whitman said. “And how they’re going to balance that — are they going to close down the government every time and just do continuing resolutions for budgets? I think they’ll find that’s not an optimal way to proceed.”