September 2nd, 2009
04:26 PM ET
5 years ago

Borger: Obama's only choice is to speak out

Gloria Borger says the president has to lead the way out of the confusing health care debate.
Gloria Borger says the president has to lead the way out of the confusing health care debate.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – In a way, the president really has no other choice but to finally speak - and speak conclusively about what he wants in a health care reform bill.

After all, 67 percent of Americans told CBS pollsters over the weekend that the health care debate is "confusing." Only 31 percent thought they had a "clear understanding" of the issues involved. What's worse, the uncertainty cut across party lines. For once, in this polarized time, Democrats and Republicans agree on something: They're perplexed by this health care debate.

And so the White House has allowed that it's time for the president to weigh in, perhaps from the Oval Office or maybe in an address to Congress. No matter how he does it, this much is clear: better late than never.

It hasn't been an easy summer. And maybe, when this is all over, administration aides will look back at their initial strategy with some chagrin. You'll recall the plan was to allow Congress to legislate first, in order to avoid the mistakes of then-first lady Hillary Clinton 16 years ago. She presented a health care reform plan to Congress which then became a big, fat target. The bill died, and she was excoriated.

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Filed under: Health care
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Carol

    It wouldn't be so confusing if the right, (hand puppeted by the insurance companies) wouldn't be throwing out so many lies and untruths about the plan.

    From death squads to the government getting access to your bank accounts. The lies are rampant and confusing.

    September 2, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. Mississippi Mike

    I understand the goals of the program perfectly. The details don't matter since they will change but the goal of socializng 15% of the economy is disgusting. The by product will be a substandard medical industry and ever-increasing taxes. Obama knows this but he wants the power and money that seizing this sector will give him.

    September 2, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Joe

    A big fat target, sort of like what Dick Cheney is to CNN right now? Gloria Borger will be above whatever becomes of this healthcare debate. I'm not at all interested in the opinion of someone who will buy her way over the top of whatever solution our broken government legislates.

    September 2, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    67% is an astounding number. About half if not all polled are more than likely republicans. People(Republicans) are confused because they're the one's getting fed the misinformation and lies. I know reform is needed just for the simple fact that the status quo will leave many Americans bankrupt.

    September 2, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. Jeffro B

    There is no doubt that our health care system needs to be fixed in many ways. The President and the Congress have taken on the entire system at once, which is impossible to implement or understand. We should correct specific problems and then move onto long term problems. Sucessful health care reform needs several years to evolve, not one summer.

    September 2, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. Deuce

    CNN's Gloria Borger... Barack Obama's Cheer-Leader...

    September 2, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. Chuck in CSG

    Only choice is to speak out? The nimrod never shuts up!

    September 2, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. J.P.

    "In a way, the president really has no other choice but to finally speak (out) — and speak conclusively about what he wants in a health care reform bill."

    We're speaking out, too... speaking about how we are tired of being held up at gunpoint to pay for the latest Democrat Big-entitlement vote-buying scheme.

    We ALL want medical care for everyone, but we conservatives feel it is the height of adolescent arrogance to demand we "producers" work harder to pay for those who won't help themselves.

    Pay attention to us Mr. President, and heed our words. Or will it require a 45-seat routing in the House in 2010 to get your attention?

    September 2, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. B

    Obama needs to finally say it in a Strong Voice, and put it out strait and put to rest the Republican Lies about the program!

    No more Mr. Nice Guy

    September 2, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  10. greg

    wonder if he is playing to fuel up air force one and take this message on the road to big cities ?

    September 2, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. cgillette369

    Borger is in love with Obama.
    she is a true believer.

    September 2, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  12. LIZ

    We want the Health Care the President and Congress has or NO
    public option. Most Americans also want the President to leave our school children alone–they do not need to write to themselves asking how they can help the President–.

    September 2, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  13. LacrosseMom

    I agree with Ms. Borger, President Obama needs to continue to speak out, to educate and to inform Americans about the out right lies that the GOP is telling us!

    I am amused by the GOPers posting that Obama's popularity is down! Which is funny, because we know that the majority of Obama supporters have ...... cell phone ..... only. So pollsters can't reach them. And those of us who are Independents living in "red states" are never polled.

    One poll from a conservative pollster has Obama's approval at 45%.

    Another pollster (Gallup) has Obama's approval at 54%.

    Considering that he was elected with 54.5% of voters supporting him, I'd say that Obama is not doing too badly, considering the Bush Disaster he is in the process of working through!

    At our home, our family of registered Independents, supports Obama!

    September 2, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. RealityKing

    Speak out!? HaHa!., he should first try not speaking in tongues!!

    September 2, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. RanDe from SoCal

    If Obama wants to save his dwindling popularity, he needs to compose and propose his own bill outlining his four five or six bullet points for healthcare reform. (Contrary to his initial strategy to avoid the mistakes of the Clinton's) He's needs to protray the perception that he is not for all these extreme liberal, Nancy Pelosi runned Congress, socialized health care notions. That way if healthcare does not pass, the blame could be on the radical liberals and Nancy Pelosi. I doubt if he'll do this based on the fact that the authors of this bill are proclaimed Marxist and members of Obamas entourage.

    September 2, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  16. chris

    Given more minds are better than one, Obama was probably hoping Congress could have developed a proposal representative of people's wants and he'd review it. This is GREAT leadership! Finally someone in the WH that doesn't march to their own drummer and instead tries to delegate and listen b4 commenting. He's not a "Chosen One" like the GOP tries to portray him... great leaders DON'T come up with all the ideas themselves... they surround themselves with great people, listen to all sides and then makes decisions. I think some would call this approach a grounds up one – something the middle class isn't used to which is why this is bothering everyone so much... they're used to being told what to do.

    Well done Obama.

    September 2, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. Diana

    Oh yes and speak to our primary school children about what his political agenda. This reeks of something.

    September 2, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. Beverly Hope

    We need the Health Care Reform. We need the Public Option!

    We, meaning, the Other America that the Republicans, Crooks on Wall Street, etc. have made poor–the middle class, down to lower middle class. The CEO of AETNA making $14,000,000 a year, plus whatever else he is getting, like bonuses, etc. He is not worth $1,000,000. I had insurance for 61 years–had it with AETNA until in the 1990's, it got so high year after year, that I just could not afford it anymore. I am now a Senior Citizen and still working, mostly because of the Republicans (The George Bush Era) the Crooks on Wall Street and the Crooks in the Medical Industry.

    American needs help–not the Republican Help for the RICH–the honest, decent America needs help–the Other America. The American People that have not cheated and have lived a good life need help–we are the ones that have been cheated and the ones Barack Obama said he was going to help. Let's get rid of the Crooks!!!!!!

    September 2, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  19. Idiot_Pelosi

    Well, OBUMMER should have done a better job on the first bill. This "joker" let some major, major idiots in Congress draft a bill that had stuff in it that even Obummer himself didn't realize was in there, and then tried to sell it to us all.

    When you let DONKEYS like Henry Waxman, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, etc. write a bill, you are doomed.

    VOTE THE DONKEYS out of office now. That's change I can support.

    September 2, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    It's water under the bridge now but this most likely would not have happenned had Hillary Cinton been elected president. I suppose some might say who could have forseen this mess upon electing an inexperienced politician who quit his Senator job without even serving a full term. And is a friend of bigbusiness.

    September 2, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. Post always rejected by CNN

    Something he should have done in the beginning. He should have known that the republicans who are taking their orders from the health and drug companies would not go along with ANY HEALTH CARE BILL. They don't want it. They have lied and lied and tried to scare old people and the general public to get them to not accept this bill. Nine tenths of the airbrains that jump up and down and yell at the town hall meetings don't know what in Hades they are protesting. They have their brains so attuned to rush and Fox they will do anything they are told.

    I think it is time the real people in this country take charge. Throw the protesters out of the meetings. Tell them if they don'[t want to listen get the Hades out and don't come back. Go bow down to rush. And listen to his lies and hate. AND if they don't want the health care bill to pass, OK, we will just take what health care they have away from them. Especially the republicans and blue dog republicans in congress.

    September 2, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. Dyan

    Obama needs to stop courting Repblican votes that he'll never get, and he needs to stop looking for compromises that give away core values and under cut our principles. That's the mistake that Kennedy and other so-called pragmatic Democrats have made over the last 20 – 30 years. They keep giving up core values to compromise with Republicans and Blue Dogs who give up nothing in return.

    True bipartisan compromise involves both sides giving up something they value. But constantly giving into one side's demands only makes that side look strong and you look weak.

    September 2, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  23. IndyVoter

    While I am always happy to hear what our President has to say, I wish someone would remind Congress and educate Americans that it is CONGRESS's responsibility to write the laws of the land…NOT the President. His role according to the constitution is to advise the Congress as to what the American people want but beyond that its Congress's job to do it. They are always screaming about the President having too much power and yelling that the Congress is CO-EQUAL with the President. But when it comes to the HARD WORK of creating controversial legislation, they try to push it off on the President to try to cover their butts. DO YOUR JOB CONGRESS and get a good health care bill done!!!

    September 2, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  24. Bates

    I am so sick of him already and he is not even a year into it. Maybe he should speak out on how he campaigned as a moderate and is governing like a Socialist.

    September 2, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  25. bobb dobbs

    Yes, let's hear what the teleprompter has to say.

    September 2, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
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