August 24th, 2009
09:26 AM ET
12 years ago

Congresswoman says some senators 'Neanderthals'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Waters is urging the president to keep the public option plan."]

(CNN) –– As President Obama begins his vacation in Martha's Vineyard this week, the fiery debate over health care reform continues to rage.

The latest member of congress to wade into the issue is California Rep. Maxine Waters, a liberal Democrat who at a town hall over the weekend implored the president not to drop the public option plan and said his efforts at bipartisanship are futile.

Watch: Obama pressured on Public Option

"Yes, we know that you are a nice man, that you want to work with the opposite side of the aisle. But there comes a time when you need to drop that and move forward," she said. "We're saying to you, Mr. President, 'Be tough. Use everything that you've got. Do what you have to do. And we have your back.' "

The longtime congresswoman, whose district includes much of Los Angeles, also described some senators who are opposed to the health care reform bill as "Neanderthals."

Earlier: Lieberman warns Obama not to do too much

"Not only are we going to do everything we can to organize and put pressure on the senators - some of whom are Neanderthals - we're going to say to the president, 'We want you to use every weapon in your basket in order to get those senators to do what they should be doing,' " she said.

The comments were met with strong applause in the forum held at L.A. Southwest College, a community college that that abuts several impoverished neighborhoods.

Filed under: Health care • Popular Posts
soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. Kevin in Ohio

    More name calling by the liberal hate monger Maxine Waters. I think she would be pretty offended if someone called HER a Neanderthal...........

    August 24, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  2. Bill

    I strongly agree! Long after the politicians stop being politicians (retire) the American people will stil be around. It is therefore important that the preident represent THE PEOPLE.... Not the politicans! The people want health care and insurance reforms. Give it to us Mr. President!

    We love you, always!

    August 24, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. Ryan Indy

    Wow coming from one of the biggest Race baiters and hypocrites in the congress. This woman always said President Bush never listened to the other side and was to partisian but I guess when the shoe is on the other foot it does not matter. This woman is a pathetic small person that does not care about the people who she represents only her own selfish goals. This is exactly the people we dont need in the congress and hopefully come next november she will be looking for a job. HYPOCRITE.......

    August 24, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  4. David

    What would an elitest know about neanderthals?

    August 24, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. Rick from Murfreesboro, TN

    Many of them are not that evolved!

    August 24, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. Mike R

    Madam, you are right that trying to reach across the aisle with this bill is nigh-impossible, but name calling will get you nowhere. When you bash a senator, their constituents tend to take it personally.

    August 24, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  7. Joe


    Just because someone does not have the same point of view as you no need to through slurs at them "Neanderthals." I suppose if they did the same back to you you would not like it.

    August 24, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. No class

    There is no doubt why avg Americans are acting so infantile about this issue when our paid representatives use such obnoxious language.

    August 24, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. Scott Alexander

    This is EXACTLY the type of things the Demmocrats need to do. Stop being spineless and fire back at the morons who are spreading the lies to the "somehow uninformed" who think health care is perfectly fine. The WH and the Democrats need to put out a plan that includes the public option and have Congress vote on that bill.

    If it doesn't pass, then it'll be on record through the annuls of history of whom was in favor of protecting their precious pocketbooks rather than America's greatest commodity – it's people (and not just the greedy rich at that).

    August 24, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. Joyce from South Carolina

    I hope that she and all of the people in Congress who have the best interest of average americans in their hearts will stand their ground on the public option. We desperately need the public option. The insurance companies have exploited Americans for way too long.

    It is time to do the right thing!!!!

    August 24, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  11. Kimo

    Let's not insult neanderthals, nor conservatives shall we. Dissent should not result in name calling. This example of arrogant liberal behavior cheapens the valid arguments for needed health care reform. If the public option is valid, the option should stand on it's own feet; if not, then other options will (and should) remain on the table.

    August 24, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Yes, ms waters, encourage obama to disregard what the American people want.. After all, it's about you liberals forcing your demands on others. That's okay ms waters, what you see now is the usually silent majority speaking out, something you're obviously not used to seeing. You liberals always talk about bipartisanship but only when you think you have the advantage. I'm sure ms waters, that most of your constituents are used to the government taking care of them but I guess there are more people who like to run their own lives than you realize. You liberals need to stop playing God and let me make my own choices with my own money and not steal it from me to take care of your lazy drones.

    August 24, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  13. steve b

    Congresswoman Waters is always good for a laugh.
    I live out here is So Cal.
    For the life of me how does she keep getting re-elected?

    August 24, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  14. Peoples Voice

    We need more of her and Barney Frank types taking control of this issue. We have given the Repugs every chance possible to work with us. They flat out refuse to do so.

    They are more interested in their party than this country. They are the biggest threat this country has ever faced. We overwhelmingly voted them out of power in order to get something good done for the citizens of the USA.

    Do not let them lie their way into stopping us.

    August 24, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  15. R in Maine

    Do whatever is necessary to get started. Take care of our people. The process will never reverse, so get started.

    August 24, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. Geesh!!!

    I'm a liberal Democrat, but even from my perspective Obama and his Congressional supporters are approaching this *ALL WRONG*!

    The blatant elitist attitude of "We're in charge, now do as we say!" serves no one. The desire to pass such a huge plan of enormous financial proportions in breakneck time is both arrogant and dangerous.

    No even the Clinton administration dared try to press for approval so quickly (an dI strongly supported the Clinton proposal).

    Take a breath, Democrats, and stop thinking that everyone except yourselves are idiots. Sometimes he who thinks others are idiots, is himself the biggest idiot of all. 🙂

    August 24, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  17. jake

    out with the old, in with the new I say. the comment was a big pejorative but we get what shes saying.. GOP are backwards thinking, conservative older types who dislike change and want things to stay "how they always were" .. ie profiting big industry and screwing the little guy.

    I agree with Maxine, it's time for Obama to get tough and lead if all the GOP wants to do is kill everything the Democratic Party proposes.. we elected the Democrats, now we want them to push THEIR agenda.. Bush and the GOP had their turn and look what they accomplished.

    August 24, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  18. Charles

    Thanks, Maxine! Your typical foot-in-mouth comments means I have to put up with my Rep friends' comments about you and Obama all day long. Way to move the health care debate away from the mudslinging everyone supposedly despises. Thanks, again!

    August 24, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  19. JS007

    She's right, and I'm glad someone has the spine to say it. You've got a bunch of ignorant, cynical, bought out old men who give themselves excellent health insurance from the government purse and then deny it to the neediest among us. Some of these guys even voted against S-CHIP (health insurance for POOR KIDS). They pander to Christianity by trying to take away human rights from gays while picking up guys at airport bathrooms. Then there's the war mongering and the racism on top of it all. I could not say it any better than she has.

    August 24, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  20. No Incumbents 2010

    Rep. Waters should be lauded for her honesty which is all the more striking when compared to the lies about "death panels" and "pulling the plug on grandma".

    August 24, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  21. Rob

    President Obama, Should not back down on the public option. If he does it will be as if he did nothing. No costs will be saved, no improvements will be extended. It is time for change America write your senators and congress persons and tell them we need comprehensive health care change that INCLUDES a PUBLIC OPTION!!! it is the only competition that will drive down costs.

    August 24, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  22. Ian

    Yeah ... this is helpful ... exactly what we need. More pointless rhetoric that leads us to a more divisive political landscape than we already have.

    August 24, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  23. Terry

    Oh Maxine:

    Your biggest problem are your fellow Democrats. Your party owns this debacle. Nice try though!

    August 24, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  24. gae

    About time we heard from a Dem with a spine. Obama won. We voted for change. We voted for national health care. Lets have it. Get your party in line and you don't need a single Neanderthal vote.

    August 24, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  25. Bubba

    Nonsense, Neanderthals were peaceful and nonviolent. She should have said they were baboons or weasels instead of resorting to racial epithets. I am shocked; there was never a Neanderthal as vicious as a Senator.

    August 24, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
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