August 24th, 2009
09:26 AM ET
5 years ago

Congresswoman says some senators 'Neanderthals'

Waters is urging the president to keep the public option plan.
Waters is urging the president to keep the public option plan.

(CNN) -- As President Obama begins his vacation in Martha's Vineyard this week, the fiery debate over health care reform continues to rage.

The latest member of congress to wade into the issue is California Rep. Maxine Waters, a liberal Democrat who at a town hall over the weekend implored the president not to drop the public option plan and said his efforts at bipartisanship are futile.

Watch: Obama pressured on Public Option

"Yes, we know that you are a nice man, that you want to work with the opposite side of the aisle. But there comes a time when you need to drop that and move forward," she said. "We're saying to you, Mr. President, 'Be tough. Use everything that you've got. Do what you have to do. And we have your back.' "

The longtime congresswoman, whose district includes much of Los Angeles, also described some senators who are opposed to the health care reform bill as "Neanderthals."

Earlier: Lieberman warns Obama not to do too much

"Not only are we going to do everything we can to organize and put pressure on the senators - some of whom are Neanderthals - we're going to say to the president, 'We want you to use every weapon in your basket in order to get those senators to do what they should be doing,' " she said.

The comments were met with strong applause in the forum held at L.A. Southwest College, a community college that that abuts several impoverished neighborhoods.


Filed under: Health care • Popular Posts
soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. carlo

    I'm sure that every conservanut will pounce on this woman. She seems to be the go-to person to bash, along with Pelosi and Frank.. What do you know, an elderly black woman, an elderly Iltalian woman, and a gay man getting picked on. Wingnuttery are so predictable.

    She's right, they are acting like neanderthals if they take something that dimwit Palin says and repeats it in front of people. To add insult to injury, they actually believe it.

    August 24, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. ATR

    Neanderthals? Yeah, that about describes Republican senators and reps. They can't have an intellectually honest debate about health care so they make up lies i.e. death panels, rationing, etc. to distract the public from the fact that without health care reform, in a couple of years, very few Americans will have health insurance through their employers because of the rising costs. I have no problem with disagreements on how to get it done, but it seems the Republicans only want to use deception and scare tactics so the health insurance companies can continue to earn record profits and the senators will continue to get their campaign donations. Wake up America, the Republicans do you have your best interest at heart.

    August 24, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. Robin in Tampa, FL

    Herding cats would seem to be easier than getting Democrats to all agree to having a Public Option in the health care bill. It's disheartening to see the Democrats not stand together on this issue.

    August 24, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. Shocktroop

    Isn’t this the same congresswoman that thought Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were do an outstanding job of approving bad loans?

    August 24, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  5. Kevin

    The Democrats have 60 members in the Senate, and an overwhelming majority in the House. The fact that a bill is not done is no one's fault but the Democrats. It's convenient to blame the GOP, but the GOP isn't the problem. They have complete control of Congress. If they are having a hard time, they need to look in the mirror to find the "bad guy". Maybe if they spent less time blaming the GOP and Big Insurance, they could figure out, as a party, what they want, and get it passed.

    August 24, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  6. sharon

    As if calling people names is sophisticated...

    August 24, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. midwest liberal

    GO MAXINE! finally someone is calling opposing and wimpy senators for what they are!

    August 24, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. lou

    It will be a good day in America when Maxine Waters is no longer elevated to a position well above her abilities. She's nothing but a big mouth with a platform given to her by "the people". If she actually contributed something, that would be different. America is NOT about pushing everyone around just because you have the ability to do it. It is about doing what is best for all the people who are actually paying the money to get everything done.

    She's nothing but another Socialist, like NObama, who wants to sell America out while they enjoy the trappings of money and power. Nothing different than the Soviet Elites when they were in power over "the people".

    August 24, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. Ben in Texas

    It's possibly insulting to Neanderthals to compare them to the U.S. Senate. That's the only problem I have with what Rep. Waters said. I mean, we have no evidence that Neanderthals ever took bribes from big corporations.

    August 24, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. Ron

    "Neanderthals" is being very gererous to the Senators opposing health care reform.

    August 24, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  11. Sue

    Why is no one talking about the part of the Bill that would force millions of Doctors and Health Care workers into joining a Union. No wonder Big Labor Unions are supporting this and bullying those that attend the Town Hall Meetings.
    There is so much that the the regular News Stations aren't reporting. No wonder the public has no faith in them anymore.

    August 24, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. katiec

    Health Care Reform without Public Option would be a farce, It is the only plan that would make insurance companies become competitive and, perhaps, bring some integrity back into their way of doing business.
    We can no longer accept or tolerate big business, lobbyists, special interests and those who support them run, control our country and make crucial decisions on our welfare. Their bottom line is greed and power. Check out how much in campagin these so called blue dogs and the republicans receive in campaign funding etc from the health care entities.
    Hatch, who so strongly spoke out against health care reform has received $3 MILLION. Grassley, $2.6 MILLION. It goes on and on.
    Politicans who put campaign funding, personal gains and interests before our country and the American people are unacceptable.
    People, we must take our country back.

    August 24, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. Bud Smith

    Maybe President Obama should stop thinking that the blue dog democrats,Droopy Dog Lieberman,and the republicans are very cordial politicians.THEY AREN'T!! It is time for him to assume the attitude of Bush two on the healthcare issue,and say,I AM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES<AND I'M GOING TO DO IT MY WAY!!!!!

    August 24, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. Sick of it

    Democrats like this make me sick, 100% partisan politics without even a chance of an intelligent dialogue. Make no mistake, these politicians aren't advocating for anyone or anything else besides their own re-election with these kind of speeches.

    August 24, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. dale

    Be careful. You dems go it alone and you have no future. The people are telling you no, better listen. You are "elected" and we should throw your butts in prison if you go against the populous. It's not your call to make. This should be on a ballot.

    August 24, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. Matt

    Neanderthals? So name calling is now the first AND last resort of the righteous? Let me get this straight, the country is rejecting your plans to destroy its healthcare system and instead of taking your constituents seriously... you are name calling? 2010 cannot come soon enough.

    August 24, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. Mom4Change

    Perhaps Congresswoman Walters needs to be reminded that she, as well as all federal and state elected officials, are put there to represent their constituents. It is The People who decide by voting and by communicating with their elected officials what will and will not be passed. Those "Neantherthals" on "the other side of the aisle" are listening to the overwhelming response from their constituents. I truly believe that the majority of people support health care reform. But don't try to pull the wool over our eyes by sticking 1000+ pages of propaganda down our throats and expect to receive our blessing. It sounds like you need a refresher on The United States Constitution.

    August 24, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. Patrick

    Agreed... especially Grassley and Boehner.

    All they can do is read whatever the healthcare industry tells them to read.

    All that is required for that ... a neanderthal.

    August 24, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  19. Nancy - Houston

    Applause for Maxine Waters. I could never said it as good as she has!

    August 24, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. Edward lawler

    When she agrees to use the same health care that the rest of us are going to have foisted on us, and to pay the same as the rest of us, I might consider it. Politicians in both parties don't give a crap about any of us and all this is just a power grab. The country is on the road to socialism. Rember the most that have to gain in a socialist society are the ones in power.

    August 24, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  21. Walter

    It will be interesting to see if this proves, once again, the truth of the old saying that in Washington, D.C. the definition of a "gaff" is slipping up and telling the truth.

    August 24, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  22. Dave in FL

    Stand up for this one Mr. President! You ran on this promise and you need to deliver. Despite what the extreme right wing says. Remember that three quarters of us voted for you. We don't hate you!

    August 24, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  23. matt

    Why is this lady so upset? Everyone in her voting district already gets free healthcare through medicaid. An elected official calling other people neanderthals? I have absolutely no respect for Congress, obviously any one can become a member of congress, how can a woman like this be in public office, what a joke. I am now officially embarrased to be called an american. If everything is so bad for this lady here in america why doesn't she move to a country were everything is great, oh right that country doesn't exist. She could still move though, and I don't think anyone would care, some people would probably help pack her bags. Sounds like desparate words from a losing team.

    August 24, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. Mark - Berwyn, PA

    This crazed woman is an embarrassment to our country and testimony to the lack of intelligent voters in her district. They continued to send an idiot like this to Congress year after year, I guess our education system is the thing that need an overhaul, not healthcare!!!

    She needs to sit down and shut up, becuase the foul intent in her voice and words means one thing; she wants this entire country to bend over and do what her consituents want, and the hell with the remaining 80% of the country. Go away Ms. Waters. Go far, far away!!! You and Marion Barry belong in the same camp; the camp of inept, dirty politicians.

    August 24, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. Joyce

    Way to go! I just hope the President listens to her.

    August 24, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
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