When asked by Steve Kroft if he would ever release people from the pledge, Norquist said: "The pledge is not to me. It's to the voters. So an elected official who says, 'I think I wanna break my pledge,' he doesn't look at me and say that. He looks at his voters and says that. That's why some of them look at their voters, don't wanna say that, and they go, 'Well, how 'bout you? Could you release me from my pledge?' No, no. I can't help you."
He said it was his job, however, to educate voters when lawmakers violated the pledge.
Kroft also commented about the influence Norquist carries in politics and how Republican candidates feeling pressured to sign the pledge. "If they sign the pledge and break it, they're toast," Kroft said. "And if they don't sign the pledge, they're probably toast."
Norquist responded: "But if they sign it and keep it, they win the primary. They win the general. They get to govern. And I've helped make all this possible."
The segment featured footage of Norquist's group's Wednesday breakfast meetings and an interview with former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), the co-chair of the Simpson-Bowles Commission and a critic of Norquist's.
Simpson said he knows lawmakers who have signed the pledge and regret it and who feel "trapped" by Norquist.
"He may well be the most powerful man in America today," Simpson told Kroft. "So if that's what he wants, he's got it. You know, he's -- megalomaniac, egomaniac, whatever you want to call him. If that's his goal, he's damn near there. He ought to run for president because that will be his platform: 'No taxes under any situation, even if your country goes to hell.'"
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