September 2nd, 2009
04:26 PM ET
12 years ago

Borger: Obama's only choice is to speak out

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="Gloria Borger says the president has to lead the way out of the confusing health care debate."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a way, the president really has no other choice but to finally speak - and speak conclusively about what he wants in a health care reform bill.

After all, 67 percent of Americans told CBS pollsters over the weekend that the health care debate is "confusing." Only 31 percent thought they had a "clear understanding" of the issues involved. What's worse, the uncertainty cut across party lines. For once, in this polarized time, Democrats and Republicans agree on something: They're perplexed by this health care debate.

And so the White House has allowed that it's time for the president to weigh in, perhaps from the Oval Office or maybe in an address to Congress. No matter how he does it, this much is clear: better late than never.

It hasn't been an easy summer. And maybe, when this is all over, administration aides will look back at their initial strategy with some chagrin. You'll recall the plan was to allow Congress to legislate first, in order to avoid the mistakes of then-first lady Hillary Clinton 16 years ago. She presented a health care reform plan to Congress which then became a big, fat target. The bill died, and she was excoriated.

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Filed under: Health care
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. chris

    GOP Thought process... WAR in Iraq, "Pro-Life", Pro-Guns (aka Pro-Homicide since they think "Pro-Choice means Pro-Abortion), Medicare, social security but NOOO healthcare for fellow citizens (like struggling college grads or people that help them buy crap at Best Buy)

    GOP = Pathetically selfish

    September 2, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  2. who cares

    why nobody addresses the fact that we can not afford this bill. How but that. It took from 1970s to 2008 to get a 5 trillion deficit, it has taken this government 8 months to rack a 3 trillion deficit.
    I agree it is good to have coverage for all, but wishing and reality are two different things..

    We are broke people, broke!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 2, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  3. jj12345

    Here is a problem that many dont even consider. This so called Government option will be an issue. Much like Medicaid, the government will set prices they will pay for coverage. Part of the issue is that because of this the doctors have to charge more to the patients that have private insurance which of course drives policy prices up.

    Will doctors be forced to accept this government option? If not, have fun trying to find a doctor willing to take it.

    September 2, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  4. Four and The Door

    For all of you who think this Public Option is just peachy, listen closely to his speech. See if you can get an honest to goodness answer to what is covered, how much this is going to cost American taxpayers and how it will be paid for. In any serious discussion these questions have to be answered first.

    September 2, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    He can comment all he wants,does not change the fact that those of us work for what we have and do the right thing will be supporting those who don;t.The free handouts have to stop

    September 2, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. chris

    GOP Thought process... WAR in Iraq, "Pro-Life", Pro-Guns (aka Pro-Homicide since they think "Pro-Choice means Pro-Abortion), Medicare, social security but NOOO healthcare options for fellow citizens (like struggling college grads or people that own their own businesses and have 0 leverage with insurance companies)

    Pathetically selfish GOP

    September 2, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  7. Peter

    President Obama needs not to speak out about the health care!, the Republicans are pushing him so that they can go out and twist his words to suit their evil agenda!. The party of No and their tea baggers need to shut-up! oops they can`t least the insurance companies stop paying for the tea bags!

    September 2, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  8. Mark

    Too late Obama. The majority of Americans don't want anything to do with your socialist health plan. Thank God we wised up....

    September 2, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. Harsha

    Mr. President,

    You are an eloquent speaker. Please make sure to provide as much specifics as possible. People always listen, but, they need more specifics and for that knowledge they look to their leaders

    Knowledge is power

    You will do great and our prayers are with you

    Thank you

    September 2, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. Gene

    The president has always been clear about the proposals. The very same questions that people have about the bill have been answered a multitude of times... people just don't bother paying attention, then they complain that they don't know what's going on.

    Maybe people are frustrated because they realize that an actual effort needs to be made and they can't just learn about the details through osmosis.

    And Carol is 100% right too.. it wouldn't be so confusing if you didn't have all these nuts throwing out outright lies to scare people constantly.. both from politicians like Palin, newscasters like well, everyone from Fox News, and those always dependable and reputable anonymous emailers.

    September 2, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. Hawaii gal

    Good, please speak out Mr. President. I am listening. I think I want reform, but it does need to be laid out in a clearer fashion, especially because the GOP has been telling out right lies and using scare tactics, that many Americans need to hear the truth from the smart guy we, the majority of Americans, elected to the White House. Put the false claims to rest, once and for all, and then lets move ahead.

    September 2, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  12. big papa

    Hey Gloria...

    ...I beg to differ...

    ...the President has a mandate...

    ...majorities in the House and Senate...

    ...and "RECONCILIATION"... ALL of you confederate, inbred racist conservatives can...


    September 2, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  13. Tom

    OK.. let's review:

    The USA ranks in the high 20's of all nations in life expectancy. (Jordan and Israel are higher according to most listings.)

    Of the top 30 nations for life expectancy, 27 of them have some sort of national healthcare plan for their citizens.

    EVERY SINGLE industrialized nation has a national healthcare program of some sort EXCEPT the United States.

    Why is it we can't get this done? Why has everyone else figured this out but us? Healthcare reform should be a matter of national PRIDE. But the GOP and GOP-controlled media (yes…that means you Rush and FOX) oppose it ONLY because it is not a GOP plan.

    Let's get it done!

    September 2, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  14. Penn Voter

    Keeping the voters only partialy informed is a routine tactic of federal politicians. If federal bills had to survie the "sunshine" practices that most state and local bills require, they would never gain the support of the voters. That being said, with this subject its not a problem with the voter understanding what is in the bill or what is being said, its the content itself and a lack of trust in those delivering the message. Our politicians have not been able to do anything other than play the blame game since the late 80's and the voter is sick and tired of this mess. With this latest administration, we are learning that "Change" means that is all we will have left of our paychecks if we keep heading in their direction. Their plans including spending our way out of debt ? How stupid is that. Okay we all hated Bush and the GOP and voted against them and selected this president by default. But now we are waking up and we have found that we have put ourselves in a worst situation.

    We don't want your health bill, we don't want your spend and tax strategy, we don't want you to continue to sell our nation to the highest bidder, we don't want our soldiers in a war that can only be won a month at a time.

    Keep your big government out of our state, local and personal affairs.

    September 2, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  15. ac

    Obama is an effective teacher, so I hope he has not waited too long to address what has become s swamp of lobbyist lies and fearmongering by their spokespeople including the quitter, Palin. In America, we pay more and get less for health care than in almost every other Western nation. The ONLY group that stands to lose if the US offers a competing health care policy is the insurance industry, and it doesn't do anything except siphon money from all parties. The US is ALREADY in the insurance business, but nobody whose FDIC insured account was refunded has been complaining. The US does emergency insurance all the time for people in disasters, and that's expensive, but that's where health care is headed. Most bankruptcies and foreclosures among middle-class families have health expenses as their source. Obama needs to tell it like it is.

    September 2, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  16. Danny J

    Obama's only choice is to speak out? Really? No kidding?
    It doesn't take an expert analyst to state the obvious... and it surprises me how scant our President is on the details of one of the biggest financial challenges our country has faced.

    And I love how people STILL think this is a bipartisan thing... it's not. Not when DEMOCRATS are split on the issue. If anything, there is bipartisan support AGAINST the current healthcare overhaul direction. To say this is Dems vs Repubs is a flat out lie.

    Let's get some bipartisan support, and let's get some details. Then maybe the majority of Americans will support something.

    September 2, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  17. annie against biased news

    obama can't take control of something he has never read!

    September 2, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  18. m smith

    I hope speaking out helps. People need to know the truth about health care. But the wing nuts will not change I only hope most normal people will look at the problem and listen to the president and make good dicissions based on facts not by listening to the town hall screamers. Never saw so many idiots in one place. The hate groups have been out in force this past week.

    September 2, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. Hammerer

    The best choice is to get out!

    September 2, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  20. Willy Brown

    Barry admit you are in over your little head and resign, go back to Chicago.

    September 2, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
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