January 31st, 2010
11:19 AM ET
8 years ago

Health care reform bill 'inside the 5-yard line,' Gibbs says

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs discussed the administration's push for health care reform Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs discussed the administration's push for health care reform Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.

Washington (CNN) – White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that Democrats are within striking distance of passing a health care reform bill notwithstanding Democrats’ loss of their filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate.

“We’re still inside the five-yard line,” Gibbs said Sunday on State of the Union when asked to assess Democrats’ progress on health care reform, the domestic agenda item that was President Obama’s top priority last year along with getting the struggling economy back on track.

Gibbs was reacting to an earlier assessment on the same subject provided by another top Obama aide before Sen.-elect Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, pulled off an upset win earlier this month in a special election to replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts.

“We’re way deep in the red zone,” White House senior adviser David Axelrod told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King late last year on State of the Union. “We’re right on the one-yard line,” Axelrod added.

Despite the setback in Massachusetts, Gibbs said Sunday that a bill could still be passed.

“We’re one vote in the House of Representatives from making health care reform a reality,” the White House press secretary said, positing a scenario where the House passed the version of the bill already passed by the Senate which President Obama would then sign into law.

Gibbs suggested Sunday that Brown’s upset win was a message from voters in a historically Democratic state that they wanted more bipartisanship in Washington.

“I think, once again, the American people are far ahead of where Washington is,” Gibbs told King. “I think we can get something done for the American people if we sit down and listen to each other, if we share ideas and we work together on the priorities of the American people.”

Gibbs was noncommittal when asked by King whether the president preferred having the House pass the single large bill already passed by the Senate or he was considering several smaller bills on issues where there might be bipartisan agreement.

“I don’t think we know yet the answer on the process of this,” said Gibbs.

Filed under: Congress • Health care • Robert Gibbs • State of the Union
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. Charles W. Skinner

    That's some fast spin, Gibbs.

    Contrary to the dreams of the liberal commentators (both on this site and in the media, the House is NOT going to pass the Senate Bill.

    To build on the metaphor, the election of Scott Brown was a Sack for the President, and now it's more like 4th and 15 to get to the goal line, and the Republican Minority has the best goal-line defense in the league.

    The Conservative and Blue-Dog Democrats will not vote for the Senate Bill. They're more afraid of their voters than they are of the President, and the Representatives are not willing to fall on their swords for him. Conservative voters overwhelmingly oppose the health care reform bill, and they will likely be a power block in the next election. Independent voters also disfavor the health care reform bill as currently drafted (approximately 2 to 1 according to the aggregate of most recent polling as of 1/21/09). Only Democrat voters outright support it, and their support is wavering.

    The President might be able to kick a field goal and get part of it, but without the entire package, the parts that are passed will be revoked the minute a Republican majority is once again seated in Congress.

    Conservatism is on the rise.

    January 31, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. Sam Sixpack

    These crooks are still drooling over that 1/2 trillion they planned to steal from your grandmother's Medicare. The only reason for you to still support this bill is because you’ve been duped and are one of the dwindling minority who still haven’t figured it out or you’re one of the crooks who will get to keep the stolen money.

    January 31, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Arine Ward

    Hmmm...who did and where did they conduct this poll...and to what market of people? As it appears to me, that I wasn't included...so was this some back room polling...that has set the pace that the Majority of American's doesn't want it.....

    Pass the damn bill, and get it done!!! Universal Healthcare for ALL people! The Middle Class, has supported and carried the weight of America for too long...Its time for change NOW!!! Yes We Can!!!

    January 31, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. james

    Many of the anti healthcare reform comments reek of paranoia. DO people actually believe some of the outlandish things they post here? For example: "What a bunch of crooks. Obama and Pelosi want to pass a bill that most people don't want. There are better bills, but Obama, hypocritically, doesn't want to see any other bills that can fix the problem. If this bill passes, then the democrats can only hope that the corrupt system that they are trying to put in place (increased government employment and thus, the voting block) works."

    Healthcare reform is not a Bolshevik plot. Our president and the supporters of the bill merely want to make access to healthcare universal. I know, we do live in an extremely consumerist society, but let's try to make the maintenance of good health a right rather than a product to be purchased.

    January 31, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. davis

    Pass the legislation! Americans need it. For those who like the status quo, I am sorry. I have great health insurance, but I have long waits at the doctors–no fast passes, I still have to fight the insurance company for things that I know I am covered for, if we get insurance like what the congress has, we will be in better shape. All I want is what congress has. Those who see this has some socialist take over are crazy and are the ones drinking from the Limbaugh kool-aid. The republicans only want this to fail to undermine the president to fail NOT because they care for the American public.

    January 31, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. tainopower

    Health care reform bill 'inside the 5-yard line,' Gibbs says? ??? gibbs is right 5-yard line of the other side of the field. obama still needs to run the ball for another 95 yards and is 4 and 10 whit 10 seconds left on the board is 4th quater and they are down on the score board by 10 points.

    January 31, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. John from LA

    Gibbs-Stop with your Football analogies-Americans don't want this-Go back to the table and work with the "other side" to really pass a bipartisan bill on Healthcare!!!

    January 31, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. FM

    Time for the Repubs to swallow the bitter pill (health care reform bill) get passed though they do not like it. We Dems did not and still do not like war either, but it is going on and we are accepting it against our wish!

    January 31, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. annie against biased news

    The demon-crats and this so-called president are right on target!
    To destroy our great country! That what they set out to do and they are right on target to do it.

    January 31, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. spyrakyat

    Obama seen not able to compete earlier president

    January 31, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. D.

    But... it's more like.... fourth down and they missed!

    January 31, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. Lance

    Less than three in ten people support passing this bill. If the Democrats force through legislation opposed by 70% of the population using something like reconciliation, it is will be a suicide act for their party and the end of the Obama "agenda." The Democrats will lose (and rightly so) so badly in the fall that Obama will get to spend the last two years of his miserable single term presidency unable to accomplish anything more than complaining.
    I appreciate the passion here, but please please stop trying to force your exremist opionions on a nation that has heard, and rejected, what you have to say.

    January 31, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. peggy

    I'm convinced that a true health care bill will not be passed. The money available from the special interest groups to demonize, brain wash, and lie to defeat this bill is overwhelming. The american people will not win the battle against the insurance companies. It's too bad, but our government is "bought and paid for" by the special interests.

    January 31, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |

    Americans have OVERWHELMINGLY and consistently rejected Obamacare (even in Massachusetts!).

    Obama may feel like he is on the 5-yard line, but it is HIS OWN 5-yard line and he is either throwing a last second Favre-like interception, or is running backwards out of his end zone. Obama's continued arrogance will lose congress for the Dems in 2010 and the presidency in 2012.

    January 31, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. Paul from Phoenix

    Time for a turnover. DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE!

    January 31, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. dittoheads using many names

    Its time to take it in for a touchdown.If you believe the three or four paid "street teamers" on this blog that use a number of names to make you think they have all the answers,your sadly mistaken.They put out their rightwing lies and hope they are believed.At least one is on here 24/7 spouting their hate for the President.

    January 31, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. Mike in NYC

    The usage of sports-politics analogies reached the saturation point ages ago.

    January 31, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. Willy Brown

    Today Health care tomorrow jobs on Tuesday the economy. This administration has proved it can not lead but is good on blaming others for being dysfunctional.

    January 31, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. John in WV

    For anyone who fears health care reform will steal Grandma's medicare, I suggest you do a little research and see just how much of Grandma's medicare payments went to keeping medicare solvent during the last administration.

    January 31, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Goal line defense!

    January 31, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. Big Joe

    I've never seen an administration so far out of touch with the American people. 56% of the people want you to start over and can Obamacare. But, yet you're going to ignore them and try to do it anyway.

    Obama said the same thing about the privatization of 6% of social security. He said the people did not so President Bush should back off of it. Bush did. Now, the same thing has happened to Obamacare and what does Obama say? We'll keep going forward with it.

    January 31, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    PRESIDENT Obama was elected by a MAJORITY OF ALL AMERICANS, based on what he wanted to do as President.
    Since he has BECOME president, his views and intentions have remained the same.
    Special Interests have waged a MASSIVE campaign to alter the perception and will of "We The People." When you take each separate section of the bill and survey the citizens, 70% want each part. When you ask about "Obama Care," you get rejection. That only means that the Corporate Machine has been successful in characterizing the contents and merits of the bill.
    The "Right Wing Corporatocracy" EXPECTS, that because they have waged a partly successful propaganda campaign that Democrats should give up.
    NO! Don't give up... GET IT DONE. At the very least, get it started, give us SOME of the hope and change we voted for.

    January 31, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. Death Assurance Companies

    The less people with healthcare the more cash we can steal.

    January 31, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    On Health Care Reform, Massachusetts said:
    "I got mine (and it's going to cost me), I don't want to have to help pay for yours."
    That seems to be the model, even with some Liberals – I got mine...

    It's a SAD State of Affairs.

    January 31, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. Alan

    This is sad really. Can't they understand that the American people have spoken loud and clear and WE DO NOT WANT THIS BILL!!!!

    January 31, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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