Rudy's California Dreamin'

Rep. David Dreier Office of Rep. David Dreier

Political Players is a weekly conversation with the leaders, consultants, and activists who are shaping American politics. This week, CBS News' Brian Goldsmith talked with Rep. David Dreier (R-CA), a top Giuliani supporter, about MoveOn.org, health care, and whether a moderate can win the Republican presidential nomination.

CBSNews.com: Your candidate for president, Rudy Giuliani, got in the news this week and last for criticizing MoveOn. But what about the response that went out yesterday that he gave paid speeches and played politics rather than participate in the Baker-Hamilton commission?

David Dreier: The fact of the matter is, when he joined the Baker-Hamilton commission, it was in its early stages and he had a lot of other obligations that had already been met. He has demonstrated his bona fides on September 11th and his commitment to winning the global war on terror.

And he chose to resign from the commission. And that was his call. They said he was simply making speeches. He was working and he didn't feel that he had the time to put into the work of the commission.

And frankly, his private sector work has been focused on winning the war on terror.

CBSNews.com: Giuliani has criticized Hillary's health care plan, but columnist David Brooks says none of the Republicans have any serious health care plan at a time when the issue is, according to our latest CBS News poll, the public's third highest concern. What's your response to that?

David Dreier: My response is that Rudy Giuliani two months ago unveiled a sweeping market-oriented health care plan. The goal of universal insurance, having every American have health insurance, is a priority for us. And Rudy wants to see that happen.

The thing is, he is focused on quality of care. Last night, I had a conversation with one of my Democratic colleagues. He was talking about the need in a democracy to make sure that we have both education and health care for people.

And of course, we believe that they are essential. But we don't want to diminish quality of care. And that's the reason that we're so troubled with Hillary Clinton's plan. And that's why I believe that the plan unveiled by Rudy Giuliani which focuses on medical savings accounts, expanding those and creating better choice when it comes to health care, is in fact the way of the future. And I would recommend that my friend David Brooks take a close look at the details of the Giuliani health care plan.

CBSNews.com: So you think Mitt Romney's putting in an individual mandate in Massachusetts is the wrong model?

David Dreier: I don't believe that the federal government should mandate health care insurance. I think that the federal government should incentivize every American to be drawn to health care. I believe in affordability. I believe because people change jobs throughout their lifetime, they should be able to move and carry their health care with them.

Since we have insurance right now handled on a state by state basis, I know it prevents people from being able to go online and get the best quality package that they can when it comes to health care. And I think that we need to open that up.

CBSNews.com: Giuliani's support seems to be slipping, according to our latest CBS News/New York Times poll. He's gone from 38% nationally to 27% in one month, from August to September. He's now only leading Fred Thompson by five points. What do you think has caused his support to diminish so much?

David Dreier: Well, I don't think his support has diminished. One of the things that we've recognized is that throughout this process, we knew all along that it was going to fluctuate. I think that if you take a poll after the report that you just talked about from the outset, the way he responded to General Petraeus and the advertising that MoveOn.org ran, I'm hearing from Republicans and Democrats all across the country and from many of my colleagues since Congress reconvened. They're saying, wow. The one person who stepped up to the plate and took this on is Rudy Giuliani.

CBSNews.com: Are you concerned that he's susceptible to more slippage in the polling because, as our survey showed, only 41 percent of voters actually know he's for abortion rights. Almost as many think he's against them. And that as more and more people become aware of his positions on these social issues, his support might drop?

David Dreier: I think that if you look at his record on the issues, his commitment to nominating strict constructionists to the bench, his opposition to the federal funding of abortion, I believe that people who are strongly pro-life who already support him will continue to. And I think we'll see those numbers go up.
  • Brian Goldsmith

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