September 7th, 2009
08:18 PM ET
5 years ago

Aides: President to be 'very forceful' in Wednesday address

In a speech on Labor Day, the president revived his trademark 'fired up, ready to go' motto from the 2008 campaign. Aides tell CNN the Wednesday address to Congress will also be fiery.
In a speech on Labor Day, the president revived his trademark 'fired up, ready to go' motto from the 2008 campaign. Aides tell CNN the Wednesday address to Congress will also be fiery.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama plans to get much more assertive when he addresses a joint session of Congress Wednesday night at a critical stage in the health-care debate.

Top aides say his fiery Labor Day speech to an organized-labor crowd in Ohio was a preview of a more passionate case for reform that's coming later this week.

The top aides say the president is putting his own strong imprint on the speech to Congress. After advisers last week submitted various thoughts on what the speech should say, Obama spent much of the weekend at Camp David crafting the actual address, which currently is running about 37 minutes in draft form.

"He will be very forceful," one senior Obama aide said about the tone of the speech. "He will be making the case for action."

A second senior Obama aide said that while the president knows that a rousing organized labor crowd is a much different audience than a joint session of Congress - along with millions of Americans watching on television Wednesday night - Monday's speech set the stage for what will be a more aggressive case for reform than the public has seen thus far.

"He will make a strong case Wednesday night on what health-care reform means to Americans," the second aide said on Monday. "Today you began to see a preview of what you will see Wednesday night."

In Monday's speech, the president got fired up as he told a supportive crowd in Cincinnati that the country could no longer wait for reform after a vigorous debate that has lasted several months.

"The debate has been good, and that's important because we've got to get this right," Obama said to applause. "But every debate at some point comes to an end. At some point, it's time to decide. At some point, it's time to act. Ohio, it's time to act and get this thing done."

Top aides acknowledge the obvious: Obama has to come up big on Wednesday night to save the reform effort, with one senior aide saying "he's at his best" in a pressure situation like this.

But the top aides are also insistent that the media has focused far too much attention on angry town-hall events in recent weeks, and the Obama inner circle believes they are much closer to scoring a legislative touchdown than pundits are giving them credit for. "We're on the 10-yard line," said one senior aide.

Top aides also continue to say the president will be more specific on Wednesday night than he has been previously about what he wants included in the reform bill, though they're still cagey on what he will tell Congress about major provisions such as the public option.

Aides say the president believes the option of government-run health care is a "valuable tool" but refuse to speculate on whether he would be willing to drop the option in order to score a legislative deal.

In his Monday speech, the president once again voiced support for a public option but mentioned it only briefly in one sentence - and did not offer a passionate defense for it.

"I continue to believe that a public option within that basket of insurance choices will help improve quality and bring down costs," he said before quickly moving on to other aspects of reform.


Filed under: Congress • Extra • Health care • President Obama
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Patriot

    Im afraid Telepromter Barry will fail. You can no longer dupe the public with fancy speeches Mr Hussain. The horse has bolted. Everybody knows you plan to remake America according to Saul Alinski's Rules for radicals. Your days are number. Quetly serve out your term and then dissappear. You and your radical CZar cronies. Van Jones today, the rest tommorrow. One by one if need be. Your action will kill off the Democratic party forever. We now know your agenda. Get public health care and you can control all the peasants. Im afraid you will have to apologise again, but not to the rest of the world, but to hardworking American people

    September 7, 2009 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  2. America is getting better

    Yep, the President gave Congress the chance to work this out and they are failing. Time to get tough and call on the goodwill of the American people while it is still available. The real core of America will respond positively to a tougher Obama. And the wingnuts will be out in the cold with their illusions of majority status. Tough! – the world is far more complicated than they can grasp. You guys enjoy your ideology while we reason and compromise our way to a better America.

    September 7, 2009 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  3. Jethena

    I feel it's about time that Obama gets forceful. I hear nothing but negative on the news about Health Care, and this will not & do not scare me off from wanting Public Health Care. This world is based on greed & and the ones with the money influence those who don't have money.Even the Media people is influence as well. They expect us to all behave like puppets. Reading the Bible opens my eye to recognizing the mentalily of the people back then is the same today. Greed & Control!!!!!!
    This mess with Obama speaking to the students only goes to show you how messed up the world is.This is something postive & Media keeps putting it out like it's a bad thing along with the conservatives.What did I say people with money & power want us all to behave like puppets.

    September 7, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  4. A concerned veteran

    I do think we need health care reform, but not at the price that the President wants. The costs of medical care is too high, but we owe that in part to ourselves. We could reduce medical costs if we as Americans took responsiblity for our own health. We could reduce medical costs if we exercised more, ate less, ate healthy, didn't use hospital emergency rooms as walk in clinics, sued only for real medical negligence, didn't smoke, cut back on alcohol, stop drug use, took care of the elderly, drove the speed limit, reduced crime, and didn't go to the doctor for every little sniffle. After all of that, the government can control medical costs by putting caps on medical care, medicine, and law suits. Finally, we need to learn to help each other, without the government. Donate time or money to those in need, and most important of all Pray for them. America, the solution is in our hands, and it is up to us. I will get off of my soap box now.

    September 7, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  5. Linda

    It's about time! Tough talk. The President has bent over backward trying to be bipartisan to a group who will do any and everything to see him fail. Forget those idiotic republicans. They are no longer relevant.

    September 7, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  6. Michael from CA

    The Constitution still separates the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches. The Legislative is charged with making the Law and the Executive with upholding the laws. Obama is certainly entitled to presenting his opinion, however the executive branch writing the legislation and pushing it so hard certainly is inappropriate. Obama is a want2B dictator, ala Hitler in the days leading up to WW2, indoctrination of the school children, passing laws via the executive branch. Let the elected representatives of the people and the state level take the time to get it right.

    September 7, 2009 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  7. Ohio Citizen

    The media has focused on angry townhall events because they make great television. A rational, informative discussion about health care doesn't exactly move you to the edge of your seat. The President may need to inject a little emotion into the debate on the side of reform.

    I really believe that having the President lean forward and show unbending committment at this time will go a long way towards making the final push for a bill.

    Let's face it. The opposition has shot it's best shot and the votes are still there using established procedures. The President has every reason to be cautiously optimistic and forceful.

    September 7, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  8. S

    I don't think so. Exactly who does he think he is working for? Does he not remember Political Science 101?

    September 7, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  9. SamSunny

    Well, President Obama better work some magic on all those Democratic Senators because the Republicans aren't about to give him what he wants, or what we need. The Republicans don't care what's right, they care about regaining the power......their sole mission.

    September 7, 2009 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  10. Kentucky

    about time Obama grows some.

    September 7, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  11. jerrywayne

    Its about time. Get healthcare reform done and include everyone in the USA! Go Obama!!!

    September 7, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  12. Mary Bawden

    Finally...Get tough Mr. President...50 + Joe if you have too..but please do it!

    September 7, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  13. Betty

    I am from canada and we have a goverment health plan.MSP. Both my husband and myself are retired and have low incomes,but are health insurance is very affordable. Don't give up.It works

    September 7, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  14. Tom Chekel

    It's about time...

    September 7, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  15. thehummelr

    I was sure glad to see the old B. Obama I voted for come out today. I was afraid that the Washington I am all too familiar with got to him already. Glad to see that wasn't the case.

    September 7, 2009 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  16. Gary's Opinion

    President Obama can get as forceful as he wants, but until the Congress puts together a bill that includes serious medical malpractice reform, pre-existing condition exclusion elimination and DOES NOT have a public Option, it will be disaster.

    The American people do NOT want a public option. They do NOT want more deficit borrowing. They do NOT want any new taxes. They do NOT want a government healthcare panel that will decide how to ration care.

    If Obama doesn't plan to address these issues then he will only be wasting his time speaking to Congress.

    September 7, 2009 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  17. Rob

    EXCELLENT NEWS! This is what we elected him for.

    September 7, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  18. Lawrence Moses

    I love the man. He's the most inspirational and admirable president I have seen in my 32 years of life on this earth. But as much as I have believed in our president to date, my feeling is that if he folds and does not push through a public option as he promised in his campaign, then I will never ever again believe in any politician. I will have lost all hope that I could ever again believe in any politician that wants my vote. I just pray that my hero Barack Obama will not let me down. I haven't stopped believing yet and I really hope that he will be the man that I have believed he is.

    September 7, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  19. Deedles

    Go, Mr. President!!!!

    September 7, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  20. Peter

    about time...

    September 7, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  21. dave

    it's about time...go for it!

    September 7, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  22. Courtney GA

    Way to go Mr. President!!! I think the pressure is going to be turned up on the critics!! As for the GOP, PUT UP OR SHUT UP!!! President Obama is living up to his promise CHANGE!!!! I love it!!!

    September 7, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  23. 'RUB' THE CLOWN

    Thank goodness. Maybe this will put a stop to the juvenile antics and scare tactics.

    September 7, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  24. Carole

    Thank goodness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Republicans did nothing but spend on WAR, and more WAR for eight longgggggggg years. Not 'once' did the Republicans address health care. Not once.

    Republicans = Male, Pale and Stale (Party of NO)

    September 7, 2009 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  25. Casey

    Well, better late than never. The only thing that conservatives understand is shouting the message. Time to come down to their level.

    September 7, 2009 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
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