CNN’s Carol Costello confronted Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) over his party’s continued crusade against Obamacare Thursday morning, pushing him to admit that Republicans’ “divisive approach” is responsible for the prolonged government shutdown. Rokita dismissed Costello’s dogged questions by focusing on how young and beautiful he found the CNN host.
“I don’t know if you have children yet, I’m sure you don’t have grandchildren yet, you look much too young, but we’re fighting for them,” Rokita said. “Carol, do you have any idea how much this law is going to cost?”
Costello shot back, “Do you know how much it costs every day the government is partially shut down? You’re costing taxpayers millions and millions of dollars!”
Rokita insisted that Obamacare is “one of the most insidious laws ever developed by men” and will hurt the country “much more than any government shutdown.” Costello then pressed him on the upcoming dept ceiling fight, asking, “Obamacare hurts the country worse than [not] raising the debt ceiling? Because that’s not what a bunch of Wall Street bankers told the president yesterday.”
Rokita even dismissed the idea that defaulting on the nation’s debt would be more harmful than Obamacare. “I had a lot of CEOs in my office yesterday, and they didn’t share the same vision with me that some CEOs apparently shared with the president,” he said.
“I think most Americans would say fight that fight separate from the federal budget. Don’t partially shut down the federal government, don’t make things worse by fighting the same fight over and over,” Costello argued.
Rokita responded, “No, you’re part of the problem,” prompting Costello to roll her eyes and scoff, “Ugh, come on. That’s so easy.”
“Carol, you’re beautiful but you need to be honest as well,” Rokita finally said, eliciting an eyebrow raise from Costello.
Costello also attacked Republicans’ current piecemeal strategy of crafting bills to re-open specific parts of the federal government that have attracted the most attention, such as the closing of the national parks and war memorials.
Carol Costello released the following statement Thursday afternoon, via Politico:
“Congressman Rokita seemed frustrated by my pointed questions about accepting a paycheck while hundreds of thousands of government workers are not getting paid. It seemed to me Congressman Rokita was trying to deflect these questions with ‘flattery.’ At that point in the interview it was obvious to me the interview was no longer valuable to my viewers. And, no, I do not think it’s appropriate for a sitting Congressman to use such tactics in any interview with a journalist.”
Rokita released a statement as well, saying he was simply trying to end on a friendly note: “At the end of a spirited and very important debate, I was simply keeping it from unnecessarily ending in an unfriendly or contentious way. I intended no offense to Ms. Costello.”