Labrador on Meet the Press: 'I Didn't Become a Republican to Defend the Rich'


Fresh off a convincing re-election to a second term in the U.S. House, Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador returned to the roundtable of NBC's Meet the Press this morning, his fourth visit in less than two years.

Asked to weigh in on the scandal that brought down CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, Idaho's junior congressman took aim at the Obama administration's Department of Justice, which reportedly knew details of the scandal prior to congressional intelligence panels.

"The Justice Department had a duty to talk to [U.S. Congress] intelligence committees and they didn't," said Labrador. "[Sen. Diane Feinstein] is not happy. She's trying to defend the administration right now, but as a committee chairman, nobody talked to her about this investigation."

When Meet the Press moderator David Gregory asked the congressman about Mitt Romney's presidential loss, Labrador said, "Romney is a good man and he would have made a good president.

"But he didn't know how to convey the message of conservatism," Labrador added. "We need to be careful not to shift the [Republican] party. We don't need two liberal parties in Washington, D.C. We need one conservative party and one liberal party. I think the problem that Romney had throughout the campaign is that he couldn't talk about conservativism the way conservatives talk. I heard someone say, 'He talked about conservativism as if it was a second language to him.'"

Labrador went on to say that he had heard "too many Republicans defend the rich."

"I didn't become a Republican to defend the rich," he said. "We need to understand that big business loves big government because they get all the goodies from big government. "

Labrador was joined at the roundtable by NBC's Andrea Mitchell, Republican stratetegist Mike Murphy, former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Thomas Friedman.