Clyburn: Most Dem defectors wanted to 'insulate themselves against sound bites'

Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Sunday said most House Democrats who broke with their party and voted for a GOP-backed health insurance bill did so to "insulate themselves against sound bites."   

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Almost 40 House Democrats voted on Friday for a Republican-led bill to allow everyone to keep their health insurance, regardless of that plan's quality, splitting with President Obama and their party leadership. Most hail from competitive House districts, and Clyburn says that's the reason they backed the bill.

"What you saw with those 39 people, maybe nine people had real serious concerns. The fact of the matter is about 30 of them, and I've talked to them, were insulating themselves against sound bites. And that's part of the problem," Clyburn says on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday morning.

Clyburn ripped the bill for allowing "those substandard policies — I call them junk" to be offered again but admitted Democrats facing tough races who voted against the bill would be handing their opponent an easy attack line in campaign ads.

"I don't blame anybody for insulating themselves from these sound bites because that's the world we live in — unfortunately, but that's the world we live in," he said.

Democrats have been plunging in the polls over the last few weeks during ObamaCare's tumultuous rollout.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) called the healthcare law "dangerously flawed" and said it was "time to start over" on healthcare reform, calling for a repeal of the law. 

"The website is just the tip of the iceberg," he said.