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. J.P.

    I hear he's going to "talk specifics" tonight.

    I say, hells bells... with approximately 20% of his one-term presidency already behind him, why start now?

    September 9, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Franky

    You know, just because I'm good don't mean I'm a jerk, or am I? Na'h, I'm playing.

    You know, this speech is arguably his biggest speech for his administration, I believe so. If he fails, he fails or if he succeeds, he succeeds. But I don't know, he does need to hit a grand slam, to put it in terms. And for the record, whoever doesn't watch this speech, is NOT an American...oh yeah, I can say that, redemption is best served as a jerk! Thank you!

    U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!

    September 9, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. Rich (Charleston, SC)

    What the democrats just don't understand is that a MAJORITY of the american people do NOT want a public plan, do NOT want an increased deficet of $1 trillion (or even $880 million), do NOT want higher taxes, and do NOT want the government control of a healthcare system that basiclly the people like. Yes, there should be changes to get some cost control, and we should help those who cann't afford health-care and want it (understand, that equals only about 13 million people, NOT 50 million which include illegals and those who choose not to have insurance), but another government program that we cann't afford (i.e., Medicare, Medicade, Social Security, Post Office, etc) is NOT the answer. And if the democrats shove such a program down the throats of the people, they will not be in power long.

    September 9, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. Predicta

    More likely Obama is going to eliminate the public option in order to get a bill passed. If he insists on one, no heath care reform bill will pass, period. It's called political survival and his entire presidency will be riding on it.

    September 9, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  5. Wish I could salute this President

    Big guy?

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

    He is having, has had, and will be having his say. Unfortunately we have to listen to his say..."Let me be clear on this..."We will pass Health Legislation this year" "The time to Act is Now"... "America's future depends on this"

    Say anything you want President Obama...
    Speak, state, declare, utter, pronounce, recite, repeat, indicate, show,
    communicate, it is your gift after all.

    Unfortunately it is the gift that keeps on saying, and saying and saying

    September 9, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. Bj

    The American people are on their own side, not either political party. All the polls show that the majority of Americans are happy with their own insurance plans, and while they believe that health care reform is important, they don't want their health insurance messed with. Can't the liberals understand this?

    September 9, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. haren

    When a red state Republican reaches age 65 let us deny them medicare to save money, as they don't want to associate with a govt. run program.

    September 9, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Obama needs this bill a lot more than America does. Without it he's a lame duck with 3 years to go.

    September 9, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Ben, Seattle

    Here he goes again! It's what "I want" and "I need." American's have voiced their opinion and it appears that most also want health care reform, just not what he wants to shove down our throats. The guy is like a rookie quarterback who gets to be in the starting line-up and the big bruisers in the defensive line tell him "welcome to the big leagues" as they walk away from burying him. LaBamba is not a leader. He's a guy who dreams big but when he awakes to reality, he realizes it is all just a dream.

    September 9, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. Mark

    You know it will just be a "hopes and dreams" speech. Obama is leaving out details on the cost and who will pay!

    September 9, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. Susan

    I hope it's not too little too late. Obama gave the Republicans fear-mongers a huge head start, and Bush proved that once you scare people, they are easily manipulated.

    September 9, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. Mike in MN

    By all means Obama should make it perfectly clear what he wants in health care reform in his speech. Would be nice to finally know, though I do think I already do know what he wants. I won't be one bit surprised if it is and always has been the HR3200 bill in the House. But we will see.
    But in the end, once bills are presented in the House and Senate ready to be voted on, the American voters are going to demand that there is ample time for the American people to fully understand and vet them before they are voted on and passed into lay.
    No more rushing bills before voters have a chance to understand them and express their views on them. Congress works for us not the other way around.

    September 9, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Stacy Flores

    How can CNN blame President Bush for Weiner's comments?Hmm Erica Hill can. watch tonight for a closer look.

    September 9, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. Scott L

    And so ends the meteoric rise of Barack Obama.

    His Presidency basically ends with this speech. Whoever said this topic would be his Waterloo was absolutely right.

    September 9, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. haren

    Actually this 'wake up' guy is still sleeping.
    May be he will wake up when he reaches age 65 and has to accept Medicare A GOVT. RUN PROGRAM because health insurance co. will deny him coverage. BECAUSE HE IS OLD.

    September 9, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. Bob in Pa

    Sybil is a good analogy. Because everything in this bill has multiple facets. And if it can be interpreted differently by many in different lights, it can also be easily abused by too many. Imagine what a talented Lawyer could do with this. Throw it out with the days garbage and start over.

    It needs to be written so that an 18 year old can read and understand it and a politician can't twist it into another shade of gray.

    September 9, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  17. Jason

    The "blue dogs" are Democrats. They need to step up and act like it. If they don't, I hope they lose their seats in 2010. Not only will they have lost their jobs, but they will have failed the American people because all they cared about was reelection. At this point they are no better then Republicans.

    September 9, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  18. RealityKing

    Leadership is whats missing from the White House..

    September 9, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. IndyVoter

    Uh, I think Mr. Weiner needs to go back to Government 101, if he ever took it. The 'Sybill' syndrome we are seeing is a direct effect of the bi-cameral, bi-partisan representative Congress that we have! If you want to blame someone, blame the Founders. The House says and does one thing, and the Senate another. Constitutionally, the President isn't even suppose to be this entangled in the process, he is only to give periodic suggestions as necessary and to brief the Congress on the state of the Union. He is NOT supposed to draft whole legislation. Now he's being criticized for not doing what's not his job to do? He practically has to do it because Congress won't get off of its campaign finance padded, special interest kissed butts!

    September 9, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. j

    I say enough is enough. Spell it out, forget the Repubs and get it done. Their job is to stall, disrupt, and delay then accuse the Democrats of not being effective. Be effective and ram it thru ( public option). ------ Has any pea brained Republican given serious thought to what this country would look like if we never had social security, medicare, or any of the other "socialistic" programs we have ??? Better yet, if they feel that strong, refuse to participate and reture your check and refuse medicare. --Those that did, I would respect.

    September 9, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  21. Oh Good Health Care Bill # 26

    Health Care under the Obama plan:

    We'll take out your kidney and that will cure you
    No maybe we'll take out the liver and that will do it
    No, let's take out one lung.
    No, maybe if we amputate a leg?
    Amputate an arm?
    Okay, we will remove the heart ................ oops, never mind

    That will be $45,900 please. Shall we take it right out of your social security checks?

    September 9, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. Traj

    I have a list of how much each peson has received from insurance companies.. I post how much this one has gotten in just a second...

    September 9, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  23. Mike in MN

    I don't think the CNN headline of another article is corret that states Obama gets a boost from the AMA.
    In the letter from the AMA there is no mention of a public option. And everyone wants congress to come to an agreement in the reform.
    The letter also asks for two things the Republicans are asking for but Dems are not talking about. The letter asks for insurance market reforms that expand choice. Sure sounds like the Republcan suggestion to tear donw state barriers and allow insurance market competition to expand across state lines. And the letter asks for tort reform, something not supported by Obama or the Dems.

    September 9, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  24. Titus Miles

    We need more good congressman like weiner who actually care about the people. Good guys like him are a rare sight these days

    September 9, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  25. Back off elephants

    Obama should be able to set things straight. Time to hear him speak.

    September 9, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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