CNN's Spitzer: Mitt Romney is 'Very Conservative'?

CNN's Eliot Spitzer on Monday's Parker-Spitzer bizarrely labeled former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney "very conservative" on Monday's Parker-Spitzer as he cited the prominent Republican's support for legislation similar to ObamaCare: "I think it was interesting...that Governor Romney, a very conservative Republican, embraced the notion of the individual mandate as a governor" (audio available here). Spitzer and co-host Kathleen Parker brought on Congressman-Elect David Schweikert just before the bottom of the 8 pm Eastern hour to discuss congressional Republicans' aim to pass a repeal of ObamaCare during the upcoming session. During most of the interview, the former Democratic governor of New York pressed the Arizona Republican about the individual mandate. Midway through the segment, the CNN host asked, "But wasn't the idea behind the individual mandate basically saying to people who do not buy insurance, since you're going to get the care, we're going to charge you something so that when you get've paid for it. Isn't- is that a notion you think is fair at its root?"Schweikert replied, "No, because at some point, you have the right as an American to be dumb and not carry insurance. But you should also have the responsibility to deal with the cost of that action." He continued moments later that "you provide the urgent care that's needed, and then you also have to have that individual understand- because they chose not to participate in insurance, they chose not to be responsible- that they're going to have a cost that's going to follow them around, sometimes for years." This answer stunned Parker: "Wow, that's pretty punitive, I have to say."

Later in the segment, Spitzer used his "very conservative" label for Romney in a follow-up question to the incoming representative:

PARKER: Well, when I said it's punitive, I mean, not everybody can afford to buy insurance. Not everybody is employed, and therefore, can't get it through an employee, and costs are astronomical, so I don't know how you-

SCHWEIKERT: But that's why we have our-

PARKER: Go ahead.

SCHWEIKERT: No, no- and I'm sorry, I didn't mean to step on you. That's why in Arizona we have something we call AHCCCS (pronounced "access," the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System). In other parts of the country, it's Medicare, and there's huge populations in there. There's also creative things we, as the new Congress, need to be doing working with states to provide more flexibility, and also provide some graduation for those very populations you're talking about that can't afford it straight-up today, but maybe could afford parts of it.

SPITZER: Look, Congressman, there's no question about that. We want to come up with alternatives that are less expensive, but I think it was interesting- or, at least, certainly interesting to me, that Governor Romney, a very conservative Republican, embraced the notion of the individual mandate as a governor, understanding that that was really the best way to get people to pay their fair share. Certainly, as the governor- when I was the governor of New York, I agreed with that notion. I think most people who look at insurance think that that is the best way to get participation.

SCHWEIKERT: But once again- and one of the things I love about states being allowed to go out and experiment and try new things, but look at the numbers coming out of Massachusetts. It's not working. So we're going to have to sort of learn from their experience, go back to the drawing board, and see if we can find a more market-based, freedom-oriented solution.

This isn't the first time the CNN host has used harsh labels for conservatives/Republicans. On November 16, Spitzer introduced Tim Phillips as "the president of Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing group who Barack Obama claims was at the center of questionable Republican campaign spending in 2010." During the same program, the Democrat referred to liberal hero Rep. Anthony Weiner as merely a "Democratic representative from New York."

-Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.