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. Realist

    Sure, Prez. You don't seem to realize, despite plenty of evidence, that the other side is not interested in negotiating. You seem to be stuck on what you learned in negotiation classes that have nothing to do with dealing with psychopaths.

    January 20, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. George

    Oh, and one more thing... we're supposed to believe you won't "jam through" health care like we were supposed to believe you about the health care debate being on C-SPAN... yeah, RIIIIIGHT!!!

    January 20, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. Alice

    The crybaby is still blaming Bush. Typical......guess he didn't see Fox last night (that was the only station I could find that carried this very important historical political upset throughout the evening)

    Barry, it was also a vote against YOUR INSANE spending and dopey health care bill, YOUR closed -door negotiations with the criminals who helped elect you, YOUR sweetheart deals, and YOUR arrogance and unwillingness to listen to anyone's views but your own and Pelosi's and your czars. Bush was never mentioned by the VOTERS. YOU and your apologists are the only ones STILL blaming Bush!

    GROW UP – it's TIME!!!!!!!! And PLEASE stop the whining – we are sick to death of it!!!!!!! First, it was racism this and racism that and Bush. Obviously, even YOU have realized that the cry-wolf whining of RACISM no longer means anything due to its unfair overuse – it's not even an insult anymore – it's just a joke now only used by idiots like "Tingle Leg" Matthews and Has-Been Olbermann and the dopes who are still drunk on your kool-aid!

    Put away your golf clubs and your basketball, stop the bowing and scraping before our enemies, quit the traveling and partying and the Letterman appearances and PLEASE get to work! Your free ride is over!

    And PLEASE stop the ENDLESS WHINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 20, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Shmeckell

    I don’t think anyone is upset at the last 8 years; the first six of those years where probably some of the largest gains the economy has ever seen. It is these last three years when everyone realized how many people had mortgages that they could not afford, then we realized AIG did not have any money to back the foreclosures. You just keep pointing the finger at the last administration and the right will point the finger at the left and the American People will never realize that it was government in general.

    January 20, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. Chad from Tampa

    Why didn't he say that all along??? Oh yeah, cause the most liberal state in the country voted a conservative to power.

    January 20, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Dale

    I am glad we have a president that reacts calmly and considers carefully his options before acting. This is such an improvement from his "shoot from the hip" predessessors who don't know contemplating from dithering.

    The main reason I voted for Obama: Because he won't do anything impulsive and he won't start any new wars unnecessarily. If McCain were elected, we would have three or four new wars by now.

    January 20, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. Brian from NJ

    Will he EVER stop pointing fingers? Last night was not about the last 8 years or Bush... it was about liberals not listening to Independents and trying to shove their agenda down our throats.

    And Obama's "assessment" is so far off it is laughable... he still thinks we believe his crap and that the problem was in the way he explained it. What he needs to do is shut up and do his job... and he does NOT have to be on TV EVERYDAY... it is not that we don't get it! We just don't like it.

    The bottom line from last night is that we Independents will vote out any party that ignores us. The GOP did and paid a huge price. The Dems are now ignoring us and the exact same fate awaits them... if Obama does not want to move to the center willingly, we will force him there... like I saw in another post:

    DO YOU HEAR US NOW!

    January 20, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. Another Day

    A as life long GOPer and critic of Obama, I have to applaud the way he is handling the situtation. This is the first time I have seen him act in the partisan manner in which he campaigned on. Kudos Obama and Congrats Sen Brown.

    January 20, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. Dave

    Last 8 years? So Obama is complaining about his own first year as President?

    January 20, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. Mike1952

    News Flash!!!!! Wingnut blames Bush for suspected global warming, global poverty, psoriasis, headache, sore feet, and dandruff.

    This nut needs to realize the people of Mass. voted against his policies not the guy that's been out of office over a year. That happened in November 2008. Pathetic!!

    January 20, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  11. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    Is about jobs, not Health Care so I don't want it, I don't want it all. The only thing in people's minds is jobs, nothing else. And I don't think is fair to elaborate ones situation to anothers, because in essence, if the outcome is the same, then what is the difference?

    Health Care is gonna derail the Democrats and quite true, no one wants it. No one wants Health Care, just too many variables involve and too little linguistics as well. Is gonna flunk them like never before and it has already.

    January 20, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. Ron

    Welcome to the Massachusetts Wake Up Call. FINALLY this administration appears to give a tiny rats behind what the PEOPLE want and expect from our leaders!! What made this administration think that the American people wouldn't care what they did!!

    January 20, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  13. Ralph

    Excellent job Mr. President/. This is why we elected you. Compromise might not get us the best of what we hope for, but it can be a good start. I just hope the Republicans can embrace compromise rather than just stick to being the "party of no".

    January 20, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Billy J..Texas..

    Tank this thing. It started off crippled. Let people suffer, apparently that is what the Jerry Springer crowd wants. Let everyone suffer until they finally admit they are pawns of K street lobbyists and Insurance special interests. The Republicans and the do nothing Democrats have sold us out again. Let the bill die, and get to work on the economy for now. I am truly sorry for the folks with pre-existing conditions or kids that are too sick to get on a plan. You should have voted more instead, of staying home and watching MSNBC or sitcom re-runs. And for those of you who DID vote, I am even sorrier. Life ain't fair, that's for sure.

    January 20, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. Four and The Door

    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."
    _____________________________________________________
    Leave it to Obama to blame Brown's victory in Massachusetts on Bush. Good leadership in action here.

    I can see it now. This morning Harry, Barry, Nancy and Joe got together and had a blamestorming session. Result: It's Bush's fault.

    January 20, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. A Kickin' Donkey

    Some things must be taken by force ... the Republicans seem to understand that. When have they ever acted honorably?

    And if Democrats are going to act honorably and the Republicans are not ... when are the democrats going hold the Republicans accountable?

    You have to kick the bully's A-word otherwise he never gets it.

    January 20, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. independent voter

    I think In Massachusetts approximately 47 were angered by the last 8 years, but 52% were more angered and disillusioned by the last year and the insane spending enacted with more proposed. Add in, finding out that Obama is just a more liberal version of the backroom and money under the table politicians disliked by independents.

    January 20, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. Pagan in VA

    I'm happy to hear the President's self-assesment. I think he's right on the money and the fact that he sees it gives me hope for the next three years.

    January 20, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. RCasson

    You're amazing Mr. President. MA slapped you in the face and you still maintain your dignity. Thank you for never stopping to the level of your vicious, racist opponents.

    God Bless You.

    January 20, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. EBC

    President Obama is absolutely right.

    The VERY save wave of angry independent voters who VOTED THE BUSH REPUBLICANS OUT are the very same ones who VOTED Scott Brown into office in Massachusetts. Everyone is struggling right now, the ECONOMY is struggling right now.

    Whenever the economy suffers, its the President who gets blamed. President Obama understands this reality BETTER than anyone else.

    However, this nothing that Americans expects President Obama to SOLVE everything within his FIRST YEAR, is absolutely IGNORANT.

    George W. Bush and his REPUBLICAN PARTY had 8 LONG YEARS of digging this country into a bottomless hole and now Americans EXPECT President Obama to solve everything in his FIRST YEAR!!!
    HOW STUPID IS THAT?

    How quickly Independent voters FORGET how the real world truly operates.

    I'd like to see just ONE of these independents voters handle the issues President Obama is facing on his plate right now. They must think President Obama can just "wink" his magical nose and everything is solved within the first year. Wha-laaa. I think voters have President Obama confused with "I Dream of a Jeanie". LOL.

    So once again all this hoopla over Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts is really pretty silly when you take into consideration how misguided and predictable Independent voters truly are based on the economy.

    This is NOTHING NEW and why its surprising to anyone especially the media networks and political pundits is mind boggling.

    Scott Brown won fair and square, but in the end, his REAL colors will quickly shine through and then Massachusetts Independent voters will rue the day they handed this fool the Democratic seat honored by Sen. Ted Kennedy.

    Once again, Independent voters were too petty and too selfish to do the right thing by giving President Obama FOUR years to make a change, like they gave George W. Bush EIGHT years.

    Massachusetts is definitely going to GET MORE than they EVER bargained for in Scott Brown. I hope Massachusetts is proud of themselves 3-6 months from now. Let's just see how happy they all will be once Brown has made his TRUE INTENTIONS known to the families of Massachusetts. Time will TRULY tell.

    They say... "be careful what you ask for...."

    January 20, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. USMC VET - Boston

    Well done. At lease you have the stones to admit your faults and shortcomings. Let's refocus on what the country needs.

    January 20, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. Gibbs

    Thats a classy president for you!

    January 20, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    The people spoke when they re-elected Teddy Kennedy as their senator.

    That will of the people should be honored; and the Senate should move ahead with all due speed to pass health care reform.

    January 20, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Greg Pottstown PA

    Looks like the President got the message that if they JAM this through it will be the doom of the dem party. Its just sad that he thinks that Brown got in because people are mad at bush. Its also interesting that after pushing republicans out of the debate on HC now that he needs them he and Reid are pushing for both sides to work together. The question on my mind is after the treatment the republicans got why should the republicans work with the dems just for Obama to take credit. Especially since the dems clearly did not have the best interests of the people in mind when they kept both the people and repubs out of the debate.

    January 20, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    I hope healthcare can reform can be salvaged it is desperately needed in this country! Go Mr President! Just let us know where your going please!

    January 20, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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