January 20th, 2010
02:53 PM ET
5 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. slp

    Yeah, and we all know how well President Obama can keep a promise! If democrats think Americans are mad now, just wait and see how mad they will be if they delay seating Senator Brown so they can ram this healthcare nightmare through. There will be an all out revolution. The American people will take to the streets! These guys are either very stubborn or very stupid. Haven't made up my mind which it is yet.

    January 20, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. faithful democrat/jacksonville

    This is what I love about "our" President, he's a man of patience and humility. He makes no excuse or give any reason to hurry with the health care reform bill because he knows what will be...will be and what's suppose to happen...will happen. And I do have confident and trust that the health care bill will pass. If electing Brown's because of his attitude to stop this bill from passing; then the win wasn't exactly a win...it's a personal agenda against Obama's administration. But that's okay, what goes around comes back in folds. I still approve of President Obama's decision making and his willingness to give Brown time to settle in with his GOP family. It's alot to like/love about "our" President.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    January 20, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. Capt. Snarky

    They're angry because our government it out of control – first with the Republicans, now with the Democrats. They need to relearn that they are repsonsible to the people, not the other way around.

    January 20, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. Rick CT

    Still trying to blame the last guy. This is beyond old.

    No, you were not so busy trying to get stuff done that you forgot how to communicate. You were just so busy trying to get stuff done as opposed to getting stuff right. Moreover, you lost control of health care from the very beginning when you turned it over to Congress. That's being a poor chief executive.

    Let's hope you'll now make good on your campaign promises with your last statement in this post. Take charge. Work sincerely with both parties. Do it in the open. And don't give the types of bribes to get it done that would land the rest of us in jail if we tried similar tactics in our lives.

    January 20, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. New Age Independent

    While I don't care for most of Obama's policies, he's not a complete fool. To push their current version of Health Care reform without Brown would amount to political suicide, and he knows it. Perhaps now that Democrats are forced to address the real issues, we can arrive at a meaningful healthcare reform bill.

    January 20, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. Stop Blaming Bush

    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

    Are you kidding me, he still wants to blame Bush. Grow up Mr. President. How can America move foward if the President does not show the simple concept of personal responsibility...

    January 20, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. RemainCalm

    The Democratic Party in the Senate should act to end rules allowing filibusters. Filibusters are an absurd distortion of the representative process of governemnt.

    January 20, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. Kevin in Ohio

    Obama, this is NOT ABOUT BUSH!!!!!!!! You continue to blame Bush. Until you accept responsibility, you will fail. What it IS about is theat the American people are sick and tired of your taxing, spending, bribes, and closed door dealings. The American people know that your Health plan will not solve the underlying problems... it will only add cost and increase government's role. GET OVER IT!

    January 20, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. Jerry

    At what point do we all laugh in Obama's face for sying it was Bush's fault. The Dem controlled congress is in its fourth year.

    January 20, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. lou

    Spoken like a true leader....

    January 20, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. Russ

    Sorry, boss, but what frustrates Americans is that you've turned into a whimp as President. You promised change, including a public option in health care reform. So far you've buckled to every little whim of the Republican naysayers. Either stand up to them and get this bill passed with a public option in it or resign your post. You look more like Sarah Palin every day.

    January 20, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. Jon In Madison

    Well, look at that. Obama lost his super-majority and now he wants to talk to Republicans. Sounds like bi-partisanship only when he has to. Impeach him for trying to spread communist fundamentals on our free nation. Impeach him for trying to take away the rights of the American people. Impeach him for bankruptin our future generations. I know Bush did a lot to screw our economy, but it was fixable. If we continue spending this stumulus money, there will be no going back.

    January 20, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. jhochu

    The White House is Democrat, the Congress is Democrat. In England, in Canada, in Australia, they would call it a majority government which can legislate for the people. In the US, it has become a Government of the Chickens, for the Chickens, by the Chickens, in other words, a Democracy in denial.

    January 20, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. in AK

    come on obama!! I challenge yo to live up to your promises! you said you'd be transparent! “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," bs!! brown campaigned against higher taxes, against health care reform, cap and trade, how can obama say that the same thing that swept him in office swept brown in office! bs!

    January 20, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. seebofubar

    What a wake up call, don't ya think Obumbles?

    January 20, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. Mark

    Is this guy clueless or what, still playing the fear mongering game, he is behind one of the worse attempts at getting a bill through congress and just can't seem to understand why the American people are already tired of his crap.

    January 20, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. Joe Nations

    Okay, now we know for sure the democrats have something nasty up their sleeves. They didn't just fall in love with republicans last night, you know.

    January 20, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Curt Newport

    Aha! There it is! It's STILL Bush's fault, right Mister Prez? When are you going to be as tired of that line as the rest of the nation is?

    January 20, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Will not "jam" it through? Nice talk after you see you CANNOT "jam" it through any more.

    You mean Obama might have to actually reach across the aisle like he promised? Regardless of the blame and how the RNC behaves, Obama knew this was a false promise he was making. That is called a lie.

    January 20, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  20. Sam

    Mr. Obama can play these games for now because I understand that it's politically the viable option, but if he caves any more to a party run by Limbaugh and Palin, he can forget my vote in 2012. I didn't vote for him to compromise with morons, I voted for change.

    January 20, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. a health economist

    Of course they won't. The Democrats could have all of Congress and all of the Senate and they still couldn't come to an agreement. They don't have the heard mentality that the Republicans do.

    January 20, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. Jeff

    Keep up the good work Mr. President

    January 20, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  23. Just Me

    Actually quite a few of them are angry with Obama. Of course most of those are people that didn't vote for him in the first place and even if fixed this recession, got health reform that everyone was happy with and cured cancer they probably still wouldn't like him. But seriously it has alot to do with him too and he'll be better off when he realizes and admits that. I voted for the guy, but I'm far from being 100% happy with him. I'm not as disallusioned as some others, but he does need to make some concessions.

    January 20, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. virginia nielsen

    The only little difference is that we elected prez Obama with a victory of more them 7,000,000 votes... the brainless Adonis won a seat in the Senate with less then 100,000 votes and only 2,000,000 voted in a state of 10,000,000 people, and now this guy can destroy a progressive work of months !!! What a shame !!!

    January 20, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. mcair

    There is no lack of understanding by America of Mr. Obama's intent. To see clearly his intent, do not listen to what he says....he is a charmer when he speaks. Look carefully at his actions and the truth is clear. He is ruthless in the pursuit of a large central government socialist solution to government's problems. He believes it with all his heart and soul. As Americans open their eyes to his agenda they are free to decide with clarity what path they want to follow going forward......it is becoming abundantly clear that the President's view of America is not shared by the majority of Americans.

    January 20, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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