Jarrett to NABJ: White House bracing for health care decision
June 23rd, 2012
07:59 PM ET
2 years ago

Jarrett to NABJ: White House bracing for health care decision

New Orleans (CNN) - As the Supreme Court prepares to make a historic ruling on the fate of President Barack Obama's health care law, his top adviser shifted attention on the rest of the White House's legislative agenda rather than the potential dismantling of its signature piece of legislation.

Valerie Jarrett, Obama's senior adviser and close family friend, told a group of black journalists Saturday that the administration is prepared for the court's decision – which could come as early as Monday – then went on to attack Republicans in Congress for what she called a strategy of "no."

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"The Affordable Care Act is a very important piece of legislation that we spent a great deal of time crafting," Jarrett told CNN, but, pointing to legislation on fair pay for women, tax cuts for working families and college tax breaks, added, "he had a lot more going on than the Affordable Care Act."

Still, she admitted that the administration was out-maneuvered by Republicans in the months following the law's passage, as the other side turned up the drumbeat to repeal what they called "Obamacare."

"The opponents of it out-organized – in terms of the 'death panels' - and distorted what we were doing early on."

She then lashed out at what she called the "obstructionist" GOP members in Congress.

"It's been very disappointing that the Republicans in Congress put politics ahead of the economy," she said. "Their strategy has been to say 'no,' even to the detriment of the American people."

She added: "I think, given how obstructionist the Republicans in Congress were, the president accomplished an enormous amount."

Jarrett, in New Orleans to address the annual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists, spoke for about an hour on a wide range of issues, from health care and immigration to gay marriage and the state of political discourse in the country. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, campaign advisers and GOP representatives were also invited to speak at the event, but declined repeated requests, according to event organizers.

Jarrett reflected on her lowest personal moment working at the White House.

"The lowest low I can tell you was the debt-ceiling debacle (of 2011). It was the time that really crystallized to me that the Republicans were willing to just run the car right off the cliff."

On the president's recent announcement of his support for gay marriage, Jarrett pushed back against criticism that the timing of the decision was less about the issue and more about pure politics.

"He made the decision when he was comfortable making the decision. It was a very personal decision. He couldn't accelerate that process any faster than he did. This was not something he was doing for politically opportunistic reasons," she said.

On Obama's clearly frustrated reaction to being interrupted by a conservative reporter during his White House remarks on immigration, Jarret said, "He's human."

"Does he get frustrated from time to time? Of course he does. He's human. Does he let that frustration linger? He can't afford to. He's president of the United States. He's got to get back to work."

On the current level of political discourse in the country, she pointed to the conversations happening on the internet.

"There is a coarseness to the dialogue, generally," she said. "Look no further than the comments section online to see how coarse our dialogue is getting towards one another."

Jarrett, who is widely seen as Obama's closest adviser and who has known the first couple for more than 20 years – she was even the first to 'vet' Obama when he and Michelle first started dating – said she has no desire to run for elected office, even though she considered a Senate seat after Obama's election in 2008.

"I don't have that appetite, I really don't," she said. "It doesn't get any better than what I'm doing now. Being in the White House is just the most extraordinary experience of my life. It's a good note to end my public service."


Filed under: 2012 • Louisiana • President Obama • Valerie Jarrett
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    and we will be soooooo happy when it ends lady!

    June 23, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  2. Chicago101

    "I don't have that appetite, I really don't," she said. "It doesn't get any better than what I'm doing now"..

    sure - Cushy job, no accountability and don't have to produce a THING

    June 23, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  3. Meki60

    I hope its a blowoff for Obama, but the whole administration has been so corrupt that it probably has gotten to the Supreme Court as well.

    June 23, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  4. wisconsin101

    Is this a pro Obama article or what? Get a clue Jarrett, both parties blow. The senate will not even take up debate on over 30 legislation bills passed by the house – so tell me again who are the obstructionist or party of no. You surly have to count the dems in that list as well as the gop but right now I would have to say the dems are winning in the no tally.

    June 23, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  5. John Kaufman, Oceanside, CA

    The US Supreme court is a bunch of old fools who can't make a decision when they have all the facts before them. There is a a saying from Henry Ford, If one who is a leader, (justice) who has all the facts can't come to a decison shortly thereafter, they are not really a leader and more than likely can follow through with implimenting any decision. This leads to the type of people we are dealing here, they are industrious and yet stupid. How sad America!

    June 23, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  6. amarjeet

    Human assets are the greatest wealth, always multiplying in quality & quantity to provide for generations. Honorable judges have the highest integrity & honesty of judicial decisions as well legal interpretations of law. Every American once insured or supported by state shall create best of healthcare systems. All visitors are desired to carry their health insurance legally for visiting America. How citizens can be kept out of the law enforcement. Large healthcare infrastructures & insurance companies have millions of employees which cannot keep out of jobs as there are very limited federal employees. It is hoped by all American, women & kids that healthcare laws shall be upheld with minor changes considered necessary for objecting states which are superfluous with political motive of election year for President. Neighborhood people have to healthy to prevent & maintain health like neighborhood fire becomes danger to all without distinction. It is hoped by all democratic minded people that healthcare law shall be upheld by honorable judges of Supreme Court of America.

    June 23, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  7. wisconsin101

    Is this a pro Obama article or what? Get a clue Jarrett, both parties are guilty. The senate will not even take up debate on over 30 legislation bills passed by the house – so tell me again who are the obstructionist or party of no. You surly have to count the dems in that list as well as the gop but right now I would have to say the dems are winning in the no tally.

    June 23, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  8. wisconsin101

    Get a clue Jarrett, both parties are guilty. The senate will not even take up debate on over 30 legislation bills passed by the house – so tell me again who are the obstructionist or party of no. You surly have to count the dems in that list as well as the gop but right now I would have to say the dems are winning in the no tally.

    June 23, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  9. Dan Dawson

    This president does not take responsibility for any of his failures, and his lack of leadership is at the core of why no progress is made. Bill Clinton was able to bring both parties together and accomplish things. So was George Bush. We can't continue like this.

    June 23, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  10. DG

    The Democrats should not fret when those 5 Republicons on the US Supreme Court strike down the "Affordable Care Act." The four Democrats on the US Supreme Court will vote to keep the "Affordable Care Act." So, it will be a 5-4 decision and, unfortunately, it will be struck down by a 5-4 decision. What a pity for the American people and middle class.

    June 23, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  11. Mike

    What a crock of an article this was. Justifying how Obama acts like a little kid when he doesn't get his way. Shameful. This reporter needs to grow up and realize what kind of "human" Obama really is.

    June 23, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  12. Peter Wolfe

    My prediction is that The Supreme Court will uphold the individual mandate, pre-screenings for women, requirements of keeping 26 year olds and younger on parents plans for college students and others and that the prohibition against disccrimination of pre-existing conditions of insurance companies will be upheld. They will shoot down the mandate unfunded on the states to increase medicaid unfortunately but that is politics in The Supreme Court. Be that as it may the Supreme Court still is the most corrupt even more so than Congress from recusals to lifelong stays on the bench that they often times inact legislation that keeps hanuss legislation lingering decades after its usefulness or reasoning e.g. Dredd Scott or Plessy vs Ferguson, or countless other things. Hopefully my prediction will be true just saying.

    June 23, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  13. Jeffersonian

    I'm a Democrat, and here's what I don't get – why didn't my party pass their healthcare bill, and, for that matter, the Dream Act on immigration, when they had a majority in both the House and Senate. We had a majority for TWO YEARS, and now we blame the Republicans for the failure to pass the Dream Act on immigration – or the downfall of health care. Maybe, just MAYBE, the Democrat "leadership" is to blame for these failures. Frankly, I don't like the way the "leaders" of my party have been heading with what the party stands for Sometimes you just have to admit you're wrong and work on getting it right.

    June 23, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  14. Al

    If living within the law as it's written on the Constitution of the United States of America which has worked for over 200 years then it should be good for today, and not be violated. I can live with the fact if the Supreme Court were to uphold the law of the land and make it known that the Law is not allowed to be broken, regardless of any and all attempts to break the law and violate the due process of everyone having a choice to have or not have insurance by personal choice.

    June 23, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  15. TonyK

    If it is overturned, let's wait for a year or so and hear what people say about skyrocketing healthcare costs. Let's also see what people say once it becomes clear that we are paying for other people's healthcare via emergency room costs, and the ways in which non-affordable healthcare and people's inability to afford it will keep driving up costs. But hey, let's just do vouchers!

    June 23, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  16. Steve- Illinois

    He made his decision on gay marriage when he was comfortable to make the decision? Right after Biden made it for him?
    Obama is desperately buying votes any way he can! Suddenly he's "evolved" on gay marriage, and immigration! Suddenly birth control should be "free"! Ray Charles could see throught this sham!

    June 24, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  17. fred 37ify

    We got us a Harvard educated lawyer whose signature piece of legislation is about to be dumped by the supreme court as unconstitutional ! Think maybe Barrack should have actually studied while he was at Harvard !

    June 24, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  18. David

    Obamacare is gonna go down...just like Obama.

    June 24, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  19. Another white lie

    Thia lady is way wako and should not be in any position of influence.

    June 24, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  20. Mark Glicker

    Kumbaya.........

    Is that the type of discourse that you would prefer, Valerie?

    June 24, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  21. Carmelo

    No on Obamacare. Most of us like the separation of church and state.

    June 24, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  22. Daniel P. Hanover

    These Marxists will defend their Obama-Leninist-Stalinist socialist policies to the bitter end.

    June 24, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  23. GeeRowP

    "Republicans were willing to just run the car right off the cliff." - Ain't that the truth. Hopefully will result in their downfall in Nov.

    June 24, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  24. Rasmussen rasmessep up again

    Its a win or win for Obama. if the reform is deemed constitution, great, the president is emboldened. If the law is stricken, great, it should give employers a boost toward more hiring.

    June 24, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  25. Jt_flyer

    So we're waiting to see how 5 republicans and 4 democrats to vote. Come on.

    June 24, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
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