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. Sondra

    When Mr. President does it become about the now...present...not the last eight years...move on...make the changes that are going to help Americans now and stop the blame game! Lets also remember that the last 4 years of the Bush admin was controlled by the Dems...

    January 20, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. Nick , California

    Honesty is so refreshing.. I'm glad to have a President who can tell the truth!!! Any body who uses the word socialism as a bad word needs to pull their kids out of the public a.k.a. "socialist" school system and pay for private school.. when there house catches on fire they can run to the hardware store and buy their own fire hose.. and when they get robbed to not call the police but hunt down the burglar themselves!!!

    January 20, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. workingmom40

    Thank you President Obama.

    If the GOP can't co-operate with the Dems then throw the ball right back into their court and make 'em earn their salary. Don't give up on healthcare, but let it be the GOP bill just as much as it is the Dems.

    You are doing such a great job as a diplomatic and bipartisan leader. Don't give up, stay fired up, we are behind you!

    January 20, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Son of Spock

    Blame, blame blame.

    In the military we were taught to accept responsibility for successes as well as failures.

    As Commander in Chief, Obama must learn this trait.

    January 20, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  5. Angus McDugan

    Where is the news about Obama taking care of the fraud in the current health care system that he has already acknowledged? He said there is massive corruption and waste in the system but he is doing nothing about it. What if the health care takeover fails? If there is corruption then there needs to be investigation and retribution.

    WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE???????

    January 20, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. Lelia

    iTS CALLED FALLING ON YOUR SWORD! THANK GOD FOR SCOTT BROWN, OTHERWISE, MR. OBAMA AND ALL THE THUGS IN CONGRESS WOULD STILL BE PLUGGING ALONG TRYING TO PAY BACK ALL THE SPECIAL INTERESTS THAT GOT THEM ELECTED AT ANY COST, AND TREATING US – THE PEOPLE FOR WHOM THEY ALL WORK, LIKE WE ARE A BUNCH OF DIM-WITTED IDIOTS WHO ARE TOO DUMB TO REALIZE HOW THEY HAVE ZERO REGARD FOR WHAT WE, AS A PEOPLE, NEED FROM OUR GOVERNMENT. AND, INSTEAD OF HAVING THE AUDICITY OF HOPE, YOU HAVE HAD THE AUDICITY TO CALL US TEABAGGER'S, HILLBILLIES, AND VARIOUS OTHER DISRESPECTFUL NAMES. WELL, I GUESS NOW YOU HAVE AWAKENED AND SMELLED THE COFFEE. INVIGORATING AROMA, ISN'T IT?

    January 20, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. John Baines

    "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."

    Yes, the People's Republic of Massachusetts just elected a Republican to fill Ted Kennedy's seat as a Bush protest. Exactly right. Nothing to do with health care, cap-and-tax, turning counterterrorism into a "Law and Order" episode, etc. It's all because of Bush.

    January 20, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. PK

    Obama: "We were so busy just getting stuff done."

    Such as......

    January 20, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. Debra in Atlanta

    I belive Obama is racist! His is making blacks look incompetent.

    January 20, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. Dean in Florida

    Obama hasn't kept a promise yet...watch out.

    January 20, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. Shmeckell

    Obama you pipe down, it has been a long time since the American people got to tar and feather a politician and I was wanting to see Pelosi or Reid live on TV getting tarred and feathered. Now you keep out of this we are so close just another couple weeks of them pressing forward is all it will take; I thought you wanted to unify the country, let them keep going like they are and republicans and democrat will come together; I think the only debate would be hot tar or cold tar, probably cold tar I don’t think the far left would allow hot tar, oh well that works too.

    January 20, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Good try, Obama!

    In response to why Brown was elected.....

    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."

    Good try. Keep blaming the Bush administration.

    I'm a Democrat (and MA too!), but the frustration has little to nothing to do with the Bush administration.

    We want the integrity of the governmental process back! This past year has been a trail of broken promises.

    January 20, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  13. John

    It's hard to connect with "the American people" when the door you are behind is closed, Mr. President......

    you listed a few..... but keep going..... there's plenty more that you also need to do next year.....

    get it straight or get out.....

    January 20, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. Mississippi Mrs.

    "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."

    You guys still don't get it. Your ego can't handle the truth.

    BUT know this, the same thing that swept BROWN into office will SWEEP you and your dreamers OUT!

    January 20, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. glb

    He still doesn't get it.

    January 20, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. JES

    I am surprised that Obama is saying wait for Brown to be seated. No that's not the reason the same thing that got Brown elected will get the tax and spend DEM's out of office including Obama in 2010.

    January 20, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  17. Robin

    OBAMA CAN HEAR US NOW!

    January 20, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. Bob in Pa

    That analogy is truely amazing; too bad his understanding of the word "Change" conflicted with those that voted him in.

    January 20, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. Jim

    I respect enormously Pres. Obama's poise, intelligence and leadership!

    He does not overreact to the loss of a Senate seat. He admits mistakes. He is in touch with the American people. He has clear goals. He understands nuances and issues. He distinguishes substance from noise. He takes charge in a crisis (such as Haiti). Like F.D. Roosevelt and A. Lincoln, he is leads our divided, discouraged but resourceful nation in terribly difficult times.

    January 20, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. susie

    Obama changed his mind!

    January 20, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. Librarian

    One thing is certain : Republicans are the party of no and democrats should show leadership, party unity and discipline. No more compromise please.

    January 20, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. reggie

    nice talk. now lets fight for the chages we need to be made. People are angry about where we are as a nation. i get that. But the issue is not where we ARE, but where we're GOING. so where will that be, America? Toward a brighter future for everyone, or back to the failed policies that got out of this mess? When someone runs the car into a ditch, dont let them drive again.

    January 20, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. CBass

    Mr. President get out there and explain the truth of the bill and don't let anyone else whether media or political party define it for you. Just get it done already!

    January 20, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. Matt

    "...we were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises..."

    Is that what he considers his special trip to Copenhagen?

    January 20, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. George

    Here we go again... it's not me or my policies they don't like, it's somebody else they don't like.

    NO Mr. President, it is YOU and YOUR SOCIALIST POLICIES we don't like.

    And enough with the "last eight years" crap already. There's PLENTY of "blame" to go around on both sides of the aisle.

    Again, pointing fingers is the only effective tool you have cause your policies don't work in the real world.

    January 20, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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