January 20th, 2010
02:53 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama: Democrats will not 'jam' through health care reform

President Obama promised Wednesday that Democrats will not 'jam' a health care bill through Congress and will wait until Republican Scott Brown takes his seat in the Senate before moving ahead.
President Obama promised Wednesday that Democrats will not 'jam' a health care bill through Congress and will wait until Republican Scott Brown takes his seat in the Senate before moving ahead.

Washington (CNN) – President Obama promised Wednesday that Democrats will not "jam" a health care bill through Congress and will wait until Republican Scott Brown takes his seat in the Senate before moving ahead.

"Here's one thing I know and I just want to make sure that this is off the table: The Senate certainly shouldn't try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated," the president told ABC News. "The people in Massachusetts spoke. He's got to be part of that process."

Obama said the tide that swept Brown into office Tuesday reflected a broader discontent in the country about the troubled economy, but he said comprehensive health care reform should not be defeated as a result.

"Here's my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts, but the mood around the country: the same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office," Obama said. "People are angry and they are frustrated. Not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years, but what's happened over the last eight years."

In a candid assessment of his political standing one year after his inauguration, the president admitted that the White House needs to do "a better job" of connecting with the American people in its second year. According to a new CNN Poll of Polls released Wednesday, 51 percent of Americans approve of Obama's performance as president, while 42 percent say they disapprove of the job he's doing.

"If there's one thing that I regret this year, it is that we were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are and why we have to make sure those institutions are matching up with those values," Obama said.

The president also said he needs to do a better job explaining the rationale behind some of the policy decisions being made in Washington. Not communicating his reasoning behind those decisions, he said, was "a mistake."

"I think, you know, what [the American people] ended up seeing is this feeling of remoteness and detachment where there's these technocrats up here making decisions," he said. "Maybe some of them are good, maybe some of them aren't, but do they really get us and what we're going through?"

On the topic of health care, the president said "it is very important to look at the substance of this package and for the American people to understand that a lot of the fear mongering around this bill isn't true."

He said he believes Democrats and Republican can agree on certain elements in health care reform legislation, specifically lowering insurance costs.

"I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on," the president said.


Filed under: Health care • Massachusetts • President Obama • Scott Brown
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. Dodd Democrat...

    President Obama needs to wake up and get out of denial mode.

    Americans, whether they be Democrat, Independent or Republican DO NOT WANT this Health Care bill. Why does the White House continue on this road to denial......WE DON'T WANT this HEALTH CARE BILL!!!

    He along with the rest of the extreme liberals need to stop insinuating that Americans aren't intelligent enough to get the complexities of this Health Care Bill.

    Sorry....but the problem is WE DO UNDERSTAND what is involved in this bill.

    The Bill will mandate Insurance taxes and restrictions on SOME states while giving a FREE RIDE to those States where the Senators were BRIBED and given a DEAL UNDER THE TABLE>

    The Bill forces everyone to BUY Health Insurance from the Insurance companies .....making the insurance companies richer. While Americans are DENIED the ability to shop around between states for the best possible Insurance plan.

    The Bill includes a DEAL with the Pharmaceutical company that guarantees the Drug Companies that Congress will not reduce the cost of medication. Making them millions of dollars......While forcing Americans to continue to pay the outrageous costs of prescription drugs.

    The Bill gives Nebraska a FREE RIDE while the rest of the States have to foot the bill for a DIRTY DEAL between the President and the Nebraska Senator.

    This Bill gives Government Workers and Union Workers a break, while the poor and middle class who make less money will be required to pay.

    The list goes on and on.......so the problem isn't that we don't understand the bill......the problem is that WE DO UNDERSTAND THE BILL and guess what WE HATE IT!!!!!

    So Start over and give us REAL changes that deal with lowering the cost of our prescription drugs and the ability to shop across states for Insurance......otherwise we are going to see Democrats lose in record numbers this November.

    We are TIRED of the politics as usual......

    January 20, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. Eric in Atlanta

    After reading this article, you get the sense that Obama at least understands that Democrats would be wise not to try and jam through the current Senate healthcare reform bill. But Obama still does not get it the entirety of the general feeling on health care reform. Scott Brown gets it and hopefully when he gets down to DC he can convey what it means to go back to the drawing board and come up with a bipartisan reform bill that lowers costs and includes real tort reform. Time to come out from the closed door sessions and make this thing transparent and make sure it is clearly understood before taking any votes.

    January 20, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. Right Leaning Independent

    This is why Obama and the Dems will fail. He still believes that people are mad about the Bush years. No Obama, we are mad over your big spending liberal agenda! Keep drinking your own kool aid and watch what we do to the Dems in November!!! The silent majority has awakened and we are taking our country back!!!

    January 20, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. L for Legend

    Brown WILL do the same as all other politicians, line his coffers with special interest money and ride off into the sunset at the end of the day. He is no more trustworthy than anyone else. America is in deep trouble and he's unlikely to help.

    January 20, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. All the news that's fit to omit

    Hey, the coward in chief may have FINALLY got the message?

    I guess getting your head handed to you THREE TIMES you campaigned for someone will do that.

    C-SPAN with ALL SIDES involved and let's get something done Barry, or wil you listen to the lefty losers of your crumbling party?

    Your call and WE ARE PAYING ATTENTION, we of the sleeping giant group called independents.

    Voted for Brown and for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my state.

    January 20, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. Bill

    I have not seen such a weak President in my long lifetime. I remember when leaders had backbone and stuck to their vision. You can bet if a Republican was in office he wouldn't care squat for what the Democrats thought at this point. And that's why Obama's numbers are dropping, he has lost his base and turned away from progressive liberal thinking, not that he ever did much of that anyway.

    January 20, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. MattMan

    Why stop now? You've already spat on every bit of The Constitution!

    January 20, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Mike Nelson

    Obama: We do not want government health care.Are you stupid or is it you do not want to listen to us stupid people who pay your salary. You work for us, the taxpayer, not a bunch of worthless lazy deadbeats waiting for their check and a free meal. Democrats – watch out for the broom in 2010. I'm tired of giving my money to people who will not even look for a job. Cut out the free meals and watch people go to work when they get hungry.
    .

    January 20, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. John

    President Obama has responded to this bad turn of events with his characteristic maturity and good judgment.

    January 20, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Pat

    There goe's Obama blaming GW again. Perhaps he is to blame for part of the problem (though the democrats controlled congress the last two years of his office). Also, the deals behind close doors and leaving out one party, that has always happened. The problem is, with such an important issue such as health care and everything else, it really requires bipartisanship. That is what the american people are tired of, the lack of cooperation. The democrats are to blame for this loss in Mass..because their refusal to step up to the plate and legislate from the middle.

    January 20, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Buck Wheat

    Please pull your head out of the sand Mr. Obama!

    January 20, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. mavcal

    This health care bill is nothing more than Obama wanting to be crowned – it's all about Obama, not the people and that's way they are trying to jam it through – to make him something special. They deserve this loss to Brown -

    January 20, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Greg, MN

    Perhaps the arrogant one will decide to give Americans what he promised campaigning! An open, bipartisan process, transparent on CSPAN, no public option, and one that actually reduces health care costs not just attacks current insurance plans.

    But I doubt it. The backroom deals, especially Union exemptions, and the Husker Hustle have left his own #1 priority likely DOA.

    January 20, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Kevin Denver Colorado

    Keep taking the high road Mr. President.

    January 20, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. All the news that's fit to omit

    By the way Barry, you won coward, BUSH IS GONE, do you really think Brown would have won that seat in say 2008-2009 or are you as stupid as I think you are?

    People are MAD at you for your YEAR and the Democrats owning the House and Senate since 2006.

    A small sliver would and SHOULD include the Bush years, but THIS IS 90 percent ON YOU.

    January 20, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. Debby

    Your wrong Obama people are disgusted with your back room tactics and lies.

    January 20, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. Ron DeWitt

    The democrats didn't lose anything. The sick people did. I was very proud last week when us Americans supported Haiti. But why cant we support our people in need. No one on cnn has said anything to support the sick people who cant afford insurance and pray they make it from day to day.

    January 20, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. Brian in California

    The responsiblity of BOTH parties is to come to the middle and not just sit on their parties' laurels, basing votes on ideology rather than what is good for the country. Stop opposing for the sake of opposing or for shortterm political gain. Do what is need for the country, end of story.

    January 20, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  19. Patrick

    Obama's had huge problems, but his biggest problem is the extent to which people are willing to go to get him to fail. We are seeing the GOP follow Rush's initial, knee-jerk, childish reaction to not getting his way being implemented through a society of reactionary troglodytes that believe that America should return to the fifties socially and the twenties economically.

    January 20, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. J. Rochester, NY

    Republican's would have!

    January 20, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. deb0155

    It's time for the Democrats to stop the "blame game." Bush has been out of office for 1 year – this is Obama's deal. The reason why Scott Brown won was because people are fed up with the arrogance of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid. Obama lied to the American people – there is no transparency! There is just more of the same – the same Washington politics that do more harm for this country than good.

    It's time for the Obama administration to point the fingers at themselves!

    January 20, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. Ken Parker

    I just do not understand why the emocrats including the President do not get it! Perhaps the people are mad President Obama continues to blame Bush. There is not one sane person in this country that does not know that Obama inherited a problem, but please lets move on I am tired of the whining!! Wheere is the transparany you promised? If health care was the right thing to do one year ago, you still have the votes don't blame anyone but the Democrats if you can't pass it!

    January 20, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. dave b of northern VA

    I was republican, went independent...and voted for obama, hoped he would govern as he promised, but let Pelosi and Reid do their thing.....

    dems....you wont get my vote again... cant trust ANY of you....

    not one republican supported your efforts....that should tell you how far left you went

    not looking so smart now... the tide turns back....always does... just going to gain speed now..

    January 20, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    President Obama and his administration are smart so Republicans need to be very careful about their "victories". There victories could cause them their doomsday, there is much work to be done and I don't hear anything about solutions for the American people. You can vote all day against something until Americans start realizing you have nothing. Wakeup America and start asking these Republicans what their plans are and stop listening to what their plans aren't. We already know what Republicans are against, but what's the plan.

    January 20, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  25. dave b of northern VA

    "I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on," the president said.

    would you have made this statement if brown lost? NOPE....

    January 20, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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