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. agnes

    when are you going to stop reporting the stupidity from this woman's mouth. she needs to take care of her dysfunctional family and stop with the rumor mill.

    September 9, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. dick delson

    Sarah Palin cost John McCain the election.

    Why? Because she's a dummy. She knows all about foreign policy because she can see Russia from her back yard. Someone should tell her she can't.

    I live in LA and told a Republican friend of mine that I can see Bulgaria from my backyard.

    Sarah, raise your kids and SHUT UP.

    September 9, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. true daughter of the american revolution

    i'm waiting for Obama to get tough and grow a pair!
    i'd like him to tell all these republicans who seem invested in such a warped sense of reality what the program is.
    this is what we elected him for....
    we're waiting....

    September 9, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. Deloria

    I don't know what the answer is really.. but, i know what it isn't. Clinton says, look at Canada.. well..yes.. look at us.. we pay 66% of our wages into income tax to pay for our health care. ALL this covers is a visit to the dr. Drugs, crutches, home care..etc. you pay out the nose for it. we have the longest wait times IN THE WORLD... 2 years for cataract removal in some parts of the country. Much of canada is wilderness and rural communities will wait up to a year to see a specialist.. Unless you can afford the dr fees, flight and hotel, meals etc. to book a private appt. MRI's are wait listed into years, and private clinics have sprung up to meet the demand, it is 650. for an MRI. plus plane fare, hotel etc. Health care is NOT free in canada, and people die waiting. There are already "death panels" in canada. They don't call them that of course, but Dr's decide.. oh.. 67, smoker.. heart attack.. no specialist for him. I saw that happen. I think that sort of thing goes on in every hospital everywhere but its done quietly. So, look at Canada, this is a good example of what you don't want.

    September 9, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. Martha Davis

    These people who are using vicious retoric to scare uneducated, uninformed people about health care reform should be challenged. No intelligent person could believe anything people like Palin say.

    September 9, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Chip

    For once, I partially agree with this Weiner.

    September 9, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. Connie in Tennessee

    I don't know how people without insurance are going to be insured without a public option. I can't understand retired people being against it when they are on Medicare. Just phase everyone into a Medicare system and let them buy supplemental plans through an insurance co. Health care will continue to destroy this country if not fixed. No health care system can be free to everyone but everyone needs to have insurance.

    September 9, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Four and The Door

    This may be Obama's 'signature issue' but the economy is America's issue right now. To come out with such an obscenely expensive program at this very moment, it's very clear he is out of touch with what's going on in America outside of Washington.

    Guaranteed it would have been an easier discussion if he would be able to talk about some of that success he promised from the stimulus bill. But he can't.

    September 9, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. Jay Baum

    Obama's arrogance will not let him back down on health care or anything else. He believes he knows what is best for everyone else and their opinion does not matter. His contempt for the public is displayed in his refusal to release any of his past writings or documents to clear the air and shut up the "birthers". He wants us to trust his health care proposals but he does not respect the American people enough to let us know who the real Obama is ? Like the Wizard of OZ " DO NOT LOOK BEHIND THE CURTAIN !". Obama prove to the public that we can trust YOU ,not your teleprompter or your spin doctors and maybe more people will consider your ideas. Last but not least how can we trust any proposal you put forth that does not consider tort reform ? Obama we will not give you our trust you must earn it !

    September 9, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Daniel

    I wish Sarah Palin would go away

    September 9, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Florence

    I "bet you" that if we put this issue for public referendum, Obama will get the popular vote again. So those of you in Senate and Congress better watch it. We’ll vote you out if you don’t support OUR PRESIDENT.

    September 9, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. Terry from Texas

    Conservatives are certainly offensive enough. They make up crap, like death panels and converting our kids to socialism, knowing that those are lies. But, they are skillful at stirring up the emotions of the snake handlers and the dingbats of the far right. So, the country spends two weeks debating nothing. Then Conservatives forget about each lie when its power to stir people up wanes. They just invent a new one.

    Who is talking now about Obama giving our kids a socialist message? No one. Why did we spend two weeks arguing about it? Because Conservative leaders just want to throw a series of wrenches into the gearbox.

    September 9, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. bozo the obama

    weiner is not your typical liberal loony, he is the best loony.

    September 9, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. Fair is Fair

    "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."
    ____________________

    And there's no way you're getting the votes. Period.

    Sayonara, public option. It's been real, it's been nice... but it hasn't been real nice.

    September 9, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. me happy

    I think that most of us agree that healthcare reform is a must. Even people who have good health insurance (including me) are aware that we can’t continue with the status quo. The problem is that we don’t trust our government to make those changes, republicans and democrats alike.

    September 9, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. cat

    I think Obama will suceed as long as he is speaking in the tone and manner of voice for the 70% of Americans who do need this public option passed, it should be 100 % of Americans but unfortuntly they still have there eyes closed to what is really happening with these health insurance companies,

    September 9, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. Steve (the real one)

    Excellent analogy! Wish I would have thought of that myself. The notion that the GOP are the ONLY critics has been tragically exposed as a lie, once again!

    September 9, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. anthony

    Just more juvenile nonsense.

    September 9, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. jake3320

    "I want my country back" ... I want less government and bigger and more powerful corporations and I want bigger and better businesses. I want less taxes, no more state and federal/national parks. No more local fire and police departments, we will put the fires out ourselves, we will help our neighbors and carry more guns to police ourselves. We will care for ourselves and teach our own children. I want the corporations to have the power in this free capitalist country, they will treat the people with respect and provide good jobs and benefits for everyone that they want to, and if they don't the people will vote them out ........... OH crap, I forgot you can't vote them out of power. Hmmmmm... what to do...? what to do...? "I want my country back"

    September 9, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. Shawn - GA

    What a perfect way to describe this admin so far on all matters....

    A little bit out of their minds, and changing opinions as the winds blow.

    September 9, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. Chad

    This will be the defining speech of Obama's presidency. Unfortunately for him, this speech will also prove to be the defining reason he will not be re-elected for a second term.

    September 9, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. Hugo

    He pegged it right, Sybil! Looks like the Whitehouse must have issued another all liberal blogger alert!

    How many more days till we get to vote this clown out of office?

    September 9, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. Keep your Change, Nobody wants it

    I can see why his name is WEINER.

    September 9, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  24. haren

    Today I was listening to senator Hutchinson of Texas, she said that we Republican are very serious about health care reform.
    I have follow up question to her if they are really serious than how come republican never solved it when they were in power for 20 years in Reagan and Bush presidency.

    September 9, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  25. southerncousin

    There is only two things to count on with this moron in office, whatever he says will be a lie (kind of like no more taxes for those making under $250K per year) and that the state run media (CNN, MSNBC, NYT and the rest) will be falling all over themselves on how great the speech was. He is real good at giving speeches and saying what his people (dope smoking, non working, non taxpaying, Oprah watchers) want to hear.

    September 9, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
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