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. Neutralizer

    That's all Obambie does, TALK! TALK! TALK! With his teleprompter. He always talk of vague ideas, in fact he doesn't know what he's talking about 9 out of 10. Thanks for the heads up, I'll watch AMC channel, I have had enough of Obambi's big mouth.

    September 2, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Hasn't Umbama spoken enough?

    "I will reach across the aisle" by uh not reaching across the aisle
    "This bill must pass right away" and "my plan is too take a long time"
    "I am for single payer" and "I never said I am for single payer"
    "public option is absolutely required" but "No it is not"

    If he keeps speaking out, he will sink the bill for sure.

    September 2, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. bring it to the people

    the GOP are masters at flooding the air waves with hate and misinformation... not much you can do but trust that the voter can sort through the garbage the GOP is shoveling

    it is a swift boat / Rove style of delivering information

    September 2, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    For those hysterics out there who believe the absurdity that the government is going to go snooping into your banking account:

    First of all, it has not been proposed.
    Second of all, how do you feel about the Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping, and the tracking of what you check out at the library?

    Now THERE'S something to get upset about .... but I bet you didn't!

    September 2, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. Voted4HealthCare

    In an admirably respectful effort, President Obama has tried to be bipartisan in his approach to health-care reforms.

    Unfortunately, too many in my former GOP (Grassley, Enzi, etc.) and their insurance lobby have shamefully responded with deplorable lies and devious rhetoric to confuse the debate.

    It is time for President Obama to assert a new approach in leadership to articulate this importance legislation. It will improve Congress' ability complete the work that Americans elected them to do and pass compassionate health care with a majority-supported public option.

    September 2, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. Denis - Toronto

    The Healthcare debate in the U.S.A. is becoming almost hysterical and disgraceful. Your Healthcare Reform debate should be honest, accurate and the TRUTH should not be distorted by Lobbyist and Special Interest Groups including the majority of Republican Politicians. The Healthcare System in the U.S.A. is NOT-THE- BEST system in the world. Let us not confuse the high quality of Medical Technology in the U.S.A. with quality of the Healthcare System in the U.S.A.

    The WHO places the U.S.A. at 37th (Does #37th = BEST??) and so it would seem that a large # of Republican politicians either cannot read or count or simply enjoy telling untruths, in the hope that some Americans get brainwashed or all, as stated!!

    September 2, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. Denis - Toronto

    FEAR thru IGNORANCE is unfortunately what is being used to challenge the Pres. Obama’s Healthcare reform initiatives. Healthcare should not only be available to the privileged but should be a RIGHT for all American Citizens. Many US politicians (mostly Republicans) are making stupid, inaccurate and uninformed statements about the Canadian Healthcare System as if it was some Socialist bogeyman conspiracy. I am a LIFELONG CONSERVATIVE and I believe that our system, although NOT #1 and NOT PERFECT, is EXCELLENT!!

    First of all our system is not a socialized Healthcare system. All Doctors run their own private practices. In Canada, regardless of where you live, all citizens have Universal Healthcare protection. All Citizens can choose their own Doctor without any government intervention to the citizen’s choice in Doctors. Doctor’s are compensated by the various Provincial Governments for services provided and the various Provincial Healthcare Systems are funded thru our Income tax system (i.e. if I get a serious illness, my healthcare costs are all paid and I don’t go broke or have to re-mortgage my home).

    September 2, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. Gary

    He has another choice and that is to LISTEN.

    Obama, Pelosi and Reid are NOT LISTENING to the people.

    Malpractice reform, eliminate pre-condition exclusions and take care of children...that should be their focus.

    NO public option. NO entitlement programs. NO new taxes. NO more deficit spending.

    LISTEN and THINK!!!

    September 2, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. phoenix86

    Doesn't he mean "read out" and not "speak out". Obama just reads the lines he's fed.

    September 2, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  10. dood

    He does too much speaking. Perhaps it is time he shut-up and listens.

    September 2, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. earl

    President Obama, please speak out. America needs to know the facts so this healthcare issue can be resolved. Just give us all the facts so we can resolve this. We trust you!

    September 2, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. Mike Hawk

    I wonder how many people could have health care paid for them with the money Obamessiah is spending on jetting all over the country trying to sell this.

    September 2, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  13. deafskeptic

    I'm starting to think that bipartisanship is out of question given the Republican's campaign of misinformation and outright lies. While I agree with Bob Dole that a fresh start is needed, I think that perhaps the Democrats will have to do it alone given the vehemence of the Party of No.

    I also don't think public option is doable given the public outcry over it.

    September 2, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  14. Bayo Agbetola

    Obama and all Democrat keep up the good job, the truth is hard to believe, but you will surely prevail.

    September 2, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  15. truthsayer

    Gloria Borger is just another Republican water carrier like King.

    September 2, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  16. Grrr-awful-o

    Campaign mode... the only thing Obama has been good at so far. But it's all summer reruns now.

    September 2, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  17. Bob in Omaha

    Obama is going to pull out all the stops and do everything he can to push through his agenda. Well, it's up to us republicans to go just as hard and try and stop him. One idea that should be floated to stop gov't control of healthcare and the rest of the democrats expensive socialist ideas is for the republicans to say "screw you" and to not pay income taxes through our mostly voluntary system. No way in hell the irs or anyone else can police multiple millions of non-income tax paying rebels. They, and their idiotic ideas would crumble under the threat......

    September 2, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  18. Bum

    Take the tape off Joe Biden's mouth and let him do the speaking out. It's been a while since he has amused us with a gaffe.

    September 2, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  19. Deuce

    CNN Dreamers, stike again to Save Obama's ilusions... But do what you may CNN. Nothing that happens, will be any more than 10% of all that he promised in 2008.

    September 2, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  20. Wake Up

    Everyone wants reform...but anyone smart knows a huge government program isn't the answer. Quit questioning our morals about disagreeing with King Obama. It's a democracy still... even though many of Obama's administration are ADMITTED COMMUNISTS. (i.e. Van Jones). Scared yet?

    September 2, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  21. Jeanne

    Those of you who listen to Obama, why don't you ask what bill he's talking about? What he's been saying and what's actually written in the House bill ( the only one out there yet) are 2 different things. He's the one who's not being honest.

    September 2, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  22. The Lady

    I agree Obama needs to break the plan down page by page and answer questions on TV so everyone can hear the truth.

    September 2, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  23. Emmanuel Goldstein

    Speak out, state your case, tell us what we can expect, and most importantly, offer to resign if you are wrong.

    Do that, and you will win. Do it not, and you will fail.

    September 2, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  24. Fred

    Has anybody else noticed that every banner you see promoting the health care reform bill has Obamessiah's "O" logo on it?

    September 2, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  25. John W. Racine, WI

    Obama needs to go all the way with this one: PUBLIC OPTION or he will NOT SIGN the bill!

    He needs to DROP his behind the scene agreement with the Pharmas, which will allow them to have everything they have now, just to gain their support: The deal: government will NOT allow cheaper drugs in from Canada or elsewhere: government will NOT shop around for cheaper drugs; government will ALLOW these folks to continue to over-price medications and extend patents endlessly so generics cannot be made...

    He needs to put some MEAT on them BONES – the 535 Healthcare plans now being screamed about!

    He needs to pull his Democrats together, and pass this legislation, even if not a single Republican votes for it.

    Even if this makes him a One-term President, he really NEEDS to do this!

    September 2, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
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