September 9th, 2009
01:59 PM ET
5 years ago

Weiner: Obama speech may end 'Sybil' health-care message

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A Democratic congressman - likening the Obama administration's health-care message to a movie character with a multiple personality disorder - said he expects the president's speech Wednesday night to bring focus.

"Up to now the messaging from the White House has been done by Sybil: It's like every time they seem to have a different perspective on this every couple of hours," said Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York, referring to the title character in a 1976 made-for-television movie.

"But now the big guy is going to have his say," he added.

A liberal who supports a single-payer health-care system for much of the population, Weiner argued that President Barack Obama's speech will be a critical moment to make the push for a public option.

"The president of the United States gets to stand up and say, 'I want this in the bill and I'm prepared to fight for it,'" he said. "... You never get 60 votes in the Senate or a majority in the House without the president standing up and saying, 'I really need this and I'm prepared to fight for it.'


"It's that or retreat. Those are really the two options and President Obama doesn't strike me as someone who wants to have a retreat on his signature issue."

But Weiner also admitted, "As we stand here today, there's probably not the votes for anything. We need the president to say what he wants."

Another New York Democrat who favors a strong public option, Rep Elliot Engel, told reporters, "I look at the president's speech tonight as the opening salvo in the Democratic counteroffensive, because we really believe that once the issues are explained correctly the American people will be on our side."

Engel said that while he expects Obama to put a strong emphasis on the need for a government-run insurance plan, he doesn't expect him to demand that Congress pass a bill with a public option

"We have to go on the offensive in a united fashion and I think you don't do that by drawing a line in the sand, " he said.


Filed under: Anthony Weiner • President Obama
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Tom in Illinois

    And the American public will get screwed again.

    September 9, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. James

    Why does CNN give Palin any press? Leave it to TMZ or Perez Hilton to cover her ramblings. Palin isn't news worthy.

    September 9, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Mississippi Mike

    If he hasn't spent all of the good will he was given as a Black man, a new president and by not being George W. Bush, he'll use it up tonight. If he pushes for a single payer plan or any other government owned entity plan he will oficially alienate most of the voters. Tonight may mark the moment that begins the end of his political career. I can't wait!

    September 9, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  4. Diane from Pomona

    Doesn't this woman realize that stupidity is not the key to staying relevant for the long haul?

    September 9, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. different perspective

    finish it up mr. pres. and get the bill passed

    September 9, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  6. MD

    Frankly, I think he's done all that was necessary to work in a bipartisan way with the GOP. Time to move on and just get reform done.

    FYI. I work every day and thought I had decent insurance up until 5 minutes ago when a referral clerk at my HMO informed me that the authorization for a cat scan (requested by the nuerologist for possible blockage in some arteries in my head) is "PENDING WITH THE REVIEW BOARD FOR UP TO 15 DAYS, BECAUSE CAT SCANS ARE VERY EXPENSIVE PROCEDURES." Her exact words...

    So if I happen to have a STROKE in the meantime, that won't be expensive??? Guess not, since there's a 50-50 chance I won't make it. So who's in charge of my health care exactly??? Sure doesn't sound like me or my doctors, now does it???

    Good grief people, please wake up...

    September 9, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. kevin

    its not going to bring any focus. this obama has proven himself to be anything but a true statesman. i just wish he could be impeached

    September 9, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  8. Fan of Common Sense

    The reason it is difficult for the democrats to deilver one unified proposal or coherent message is because the whole party is ruled by competing special interest that are looking out only for themselves. The democratic party isn't schizophrenic.......just extremely corrupt and self-serving. Intelligent people (aka non-democrats) realize this.

    September 9, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  9. Farrell in Houston

    There's a lot of Sybils running around out there and most of them are too incompetent to understand anything about healthcare vs. insurance companies.

    September 9, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  10. Teresa

    I love President Obama and voted for him. I sincerely hope with baited breath that he gives some crystal clear details and not a vague outline of what this plan will entail so that the nay sayers will STHU. For real. I am so tired of Sarah Palin, Alex Costianos (sp) (CNN) and all the rest opening their big mouths. With the exception of Sarah Palin, why didn't the rest of them run for President since they seem to have all the answers. Sickening. I'll be glad when it's all over, one way or the other. I tune out when I even see mention of it on the news. It is my hope that it will pass with the public option.

    September 9, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. What's next on the socialist agenda?

    So the lying coward in chief has only been lying to us in the first 100 speeches he has given on this, or does his lack of snicker, snicker "leadership" show when he left it up to someone else to write the bill?

    Sounds like he votes "present" as usual.

    His speech will be uh, uh, uh the bestist speech ever and uh, uh Chrissy and Keith will get chills up their uh, uh, uh legs and the NYT's will call it a turning point and fuzzie bunnies will come out of his....

    2010 can't get here fast enough.

    September 9, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. bob in LA

    It's not the "Sybil Affect" they have to worry about- it's the out and out lies and misinformation given by people like Sarah Palin ( see article just prior to this one).
    No one has to agree withthte reality of the proposed bill, but make you decision based on the facts – READ a COPY of the bill! It's long, at times confusing so maybe look up the sections people "quote" incorrectly.

    September 9, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. Lynne

    And if the President would have come out at first with a plan the same "critics" would have said he should have let the Congress do it and allow for a debate.

    There is no way anyone can win in America today with pompouys pundits and editorial writers who think they should be the President, socalled journalists who think their job is to be stars and formulate opinion through anonymous sources, half truths and a lack of investigative reporting and elected officials who have made getting reelected their sole purpose in life.

    September 9, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Gary Jaussaud

    Gary's comment:

    I fully support President Obama, and I know this country needs change in health care, now the question is what is going to happen?

    I am afraid "NOTHING", big business has dug in and they already have most everyone to the right in their pocket, so nothing will happen.

    The Republican pary has made up its mind already, so no matter what
    President Obama says before Congress tonight it will all be for not.

    There is too much money at stake between the insurance companies
    and others for "Big Business Right Wing Republicans" to pay any attention to the President or anything he has to say. Its already over.

    The average American Tax payer gets it in the end again.

    September 9, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Matt

    I really wish she would stop spreading this kind of mis-information and I really wish CNN and other news organizations would stop giving her the platform from which to say these things.

    September 9, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  16. Rhiannon

    It must be....they got Cronkite.

    September 9, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  17. Elizabeth

    Why is it every time I click on a Political ticket story line on the home page with a reference to a Republican, the first article to appear happens to be about a Democrat? I have to page down to find the article I am interested in. Since this happens 100% of the time, I find it a bit suspicious.

    September 9, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  18. justasking

    Remember when Bush put caps on jury awards in medical malpractice suits against obstetricians/gynecologists? Why did he stop there? Why did he not include neurosurgeons/neurologists, orthopedists, and other medical specialists, even for our regular family physicians and internist physicians (also nurses and other health professionals that require medical malpractice insurance)? It would seem to me that lowering the medical malpractice jury awards would ultimately lower medical malpractice premiums for the health care professionals, which would lower physicians’ hospital, clinic fees, etc. which would then eventually lower health insurance premiums by inciting quality competition between the health insurers for the general public which would provider better coverage/service for everyone, and saving us tax payers the Trillion or Two Dollars that our government wants to spend reforming health care their way.

    September 9, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  19. Dale

    Death Panels are as real as Iraqi nukes.

    September 9, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. Frank - Toronto

    Certain groups of the American public, seem prepared to believe (what it seems to a majority of Canadians as BS from the right) that there are no advantages to be derived by patients from a Public Health-care system.

    Many members of Congress (mostly Republicans) do not seem to be affected or moved by certain indisputable facts that: 1) America spends on Health-care approximately 17% of GDP. 2) This % of GDP is more than any other OECD country government (in Canada 10% of GDP), without securing the best health-care results for U.S.citizens; According to the W.H.O. the U.S. spends 23% more per capita on Health-care than Canada does.

    Knowledgeable Americans understand that Private Insurance Companies (for Profit first and Patients last) are all about minimizing the payment of health claims by these companies and that Insurance executives are primarily interested in their bonuses and their careers. Insurance Companies are less interested in the need for an efficient, patient-oriented health-care system because that would challenge their profit targets.

    September 9, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. BJC

    We don't want Obama's Ration Care Plan. Period!

    September 9, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. wal

    The service that Seniors and Veterans are getting from Medicare and Va is good , that means government can run health care and the focus should be on bending the curve of health care cost;
    I love my post office and i would not replace it by UPS
    I love what the police are doing
    I love my university
    All the above are government runs entities.

    If you judge by the quality of the service they are wonderful.
    If the judgment is based on the profit they generate you may say they are not well run. But public service is not a profit-oriented goal. The quality of service is the goal
    9 in 10 Medicare recipients like it. Everyone will miss the post office if we privatize.
    The government can levy the tax to make up the different of and that is true for the army and it is true for the health care.

    September 9, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  23. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    It would also help if he stopped that boombastic rhetoric of hollering and scolding The People and his opponents, and started making the case for a solution which will pass both houses of Congress. He may be smarter than most of us, but I have yet to hear the Big Ask in a humble tenor for some realistic baby steps. His Grand Plan simply isn't working, and his political capital has expired quickly. I will listen but I expect him to fail.

    September 9, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. g

    employer coverage covers very little read the fine print

    September 9, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. Jamie

    Regarding the Obama's speech to a special joint-session of congress today ( Wednesday 9/9/09).

    As a citizen I need to hear very specific information about the purposed Health Care bill.

    1. I need to hear what specific "tools and mechanisms" will be inserted into this health bill to "screen-out" illegal immigrants. Not just "claims" that they will not be covered, because I don't believe that.

    2. I need to hear specific information on Tort Reform that either will, or will not be inserted into this health bill.

    3. I need to hear specifics on how the health bill will not "force" anyone into a public plan now....or in 5 – 10 years from now, no matter how many changes they choose to make in their private insurance plans or change jobs.

    4. I want to hear specific's on how ObamaCare will NOT be taxing anyone's private health insurance, in order to pay for anyone else's coverage.

    September 9, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
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