September 7th, 2009
08:18 PM ET
12 years ago

Aides: President to be 'very forceful' in Wednesday address

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="In a speech on Labor Day, the president revived his trademark 'fired up, ready to go' motto from the 2008 campaign. Aides tell CNN the Wednesday address to Congress will also be fiery."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama plans to get much more assertive when he addresses a joint session of Congress Wednesday night at a critical stage in the health-care debate.

Top aides say his fiery Labor Day speech to an organized-labor crowd in Ohio was a preview of a more passionate case for reform that's coming later this week.

The top aides say the president is putting his own strong imprint on the speech to Congress. After advisers last week submitted various thoughts on what the speech should say, Obama spent much of the weekend at Camp David crafting the actual address, which currently is running about 37 minutes in draft form.

"He will be very forceful," one senior Obama aide said about the tone of the speech. "He will be making the case for action."

A second senior Obama aide said that while the president knows that a rousing organized labor crowd is a much different audience than a joint session of Congress - along with millions of Americans watching on television Wednesday night - Monday's speech set the stage for what will be a more aggressive case for reform than the public has seen thus far.

"He will make a strong case Wednesday night on what health-care reform means to Americans," the second aide said on Monday. "Today you began to see a preview of what you will see Wednesday night."

In Monday's speech, the president got fired up as he told a supportive crowd in Cincinnati that the country could no longer wait for reform after a vigorous debate that has lasted several months.

"The debate has been good, and that's important because we've got to get this right," Obama said to applause. "But every debate at some point comes to an end. At some point, it's time to decide. At some point, it's time to act. Ohio, it's time to act and get this thing done."

Top aides acknowledge the obvious: Obama has to come up big on Wednesday night to save the reform effort, with one senior aide saying "he's at his best" in a pressure situation like this.

But the top aides are also insistent that the media has focused far too much attention on angry town-hall events in recent weeks, and the Obama inner circle believes they are much closer to scoring a legislative touchdown than pundits are giving them credit for. "We're on the 10-yard line," said one senior aide.

Top aides also continue to say the president will be more specific on Wednesday night than he has been previously about what he wants included in the reform bill, though they're still cagey on what he will tell Congress about major provisions such as the public option.

Aides say the president believes the option of government-run health care is a "valuable tool" but refuse to speculate on whether he would be willing to drop the option in order to score a legislative deal.

In his Monday speech, the president once again voiced support for a public option but mentioned it only briefly in one sentence - and did not offer a passionate defense for it.

"I continue to believe that a public option within that basket of insurance choices will help improve quality and bring down costs," he said before quickly moving on to other aspects of reform.

Filed under: Congress • Extra • Health care • President Obama
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Dale, plymouth MI

    Stop the lawyers first, then we talk about healthcare. This proposal only means the lawyers will be suing me instead of some company. Taxpayers will be paying the lawsuits

    September 7, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |

    We the people need to be very forceful with President Obama to stop his
    insane spending and social programs including health care reform. Yes, we need health care reform but that does not mean government involvement.

    I voted for President Obama, I cannot support this new level of deficit spending and programs that will add to it. What happened to the party in eight years? President Clinton had deficit spending under control, why won't Obama?

    September 7, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  3. Moderate Republican

    It's about time we had some positive leadership.

    September 7, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  4. Virgie Curtis

    We should not cave in to the Republicans,and there fear mongering,they did not intend to vote for the reform from the very start. The Democrats need to get a back bone,and stand up for what is right. President Obama was elected,by a majority, because of the health care reform we were promised,if it is watered we have lost.

    September 7, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  5. JT from Missouri

    I hope he tells all of those senators, who are not doing there job, to wise up and start acting like adults. He should also warn them if they try to vote to block health-care reform, the voters will take care of them in a very "special" way in 2010 or 2012. Healthcare is a right deserved to everyone democrat or republican. "Treat others the way you want to be treated." That's all I have to say. Have a good night.

    September 7, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  6. liberal in Madison, WI

    About time Obama gets tough with the repubs, they have proved they will not meet in the middle after Obama has given them many chances. All they have shown is fear and hate tatics.

    September 7, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  7. Keith in Austin

    Here comes the flowery rhetoric and teleprompter-guided lies. Stand strong America! Don't be hoodwinked by the coming promises and half truths. State-run healthcare is the HOLY GRAIL of socialism! Sever the ugly head of the snake before it poison's our national freedom even more!

    September 7, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  8. suzyku

    When President Obama has the "fire" in his belly and speaks from the heart, nobody, not even the nasty wingnuts can beat him!!!!

    September 7, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  9. Jim

    I think Americans want the President to be strong and lead. I hope he does have a strong speech and I hope that the Democrats in Congress wake up and realize that their fate is intertwined with the President's. They have to stick together.

    September 7, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  10. Barbara

    Go get 'em President Obama. Time to put an end to a summer of insanity at those disgusting town halls and those spineless politicians who did not stop those wacky people who interrupted and yelled such horrible things..Even a woman in a wheelchair could not speak. Even the head of the GOP made a sly and disgusting remark to a mother without Health Insurance. and trying to speak. Bottom line-ALL of our citizens deserve HealthCare-NOW! Time to bring civility to the table-work together-and get the job Done! I'm with you President Obama!

    September 7, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  11. Ernie in LA

    He is such a weak joke. He should have been "Very Forceful" to begin with.

    September 7, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  12. MLH

    Please, Mr. President, don't give up on the public option. Those of us who voted for you believed in your ideas for health care reform.

    September 7, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  13. proud dem in nc

    Stand strong, President Obama!! Don't let the party of hate bring you down. They are not fit to lick your boots. God Bless you!!

    September 7, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  14. abraxis

    It is about time. The village idiot, W, did more with less in congress. Do something for the country, O!

    September 7, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  15. John Illinois

    We the People need to get even more forceful with Obama and Congress and make them heed the will of the majority that says NO socialized, government run healthcare whatsoever. Reform the current system to lower the costs of healthcare and ban illegal alien criminals from getting any form of healthcare or government aid and services in this country. Then you will see costs go down. The socialized healthcare will raise the costs as has already been stated by the CBO and common sense aned simple math would tell you that is true.

    September 7, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  16. Marc

    Maybe he should go back to the drawing board and reconsider the whole health care issue, We and our future generations cannot afford it the way it is currently being presented.

    September 7, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  17. Brennan

    It's about time! Praise the Lord and pass the Ammunition!!!

    September 7, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  18. Herb Rosenbaum

    Fasten your seat-belts,folks ! The driver is about to show us the weight of his foot on the accelerator, I believe. He'll slow down somewhat when he'll hit the curves and when comes to rough pavement ahead, but he'll have a firm grip on the wheel and a solid plan for getting where he wants us to go.

    September 7, 2009 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There are some things that I would ask the president to include that haven't been talked about: ways to bring down the cost of becoming a medical professional, lower the cost of being a medical professional and having ways that get people and locations to agree to reduce costs based on other examples around the country.

    September 7, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  20. Wanda

    You tell them Mr. President. You have the majority of the people in this country behind you.

    September 7, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  21. Mark

    Forceful on the plan most Americans don't want nor can the country afford?

    September 7, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  22. Fed up with being bullied

    This is another politician who is going to force his will on the American people no matter what the cost. I would say president but the agenda scares me. If this was trully for the people and not for someone stuffing their pockets they would do more soul searching on what is actually the best for this country
    This country is free falling in the whole outside world is laughing.

    September 7, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  23. Mark My Words

    Obama, give it a rest already, most of us do not want to buy what your selling.

    September 7, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  24. Bob G.

    We need to resolve the Health Care issue. I am very disapointed in the Republicans. All they seem to be able to do is find fault with what the Democrates are doing. When are they going to step up and bring something to the table? If they think this is going to be effective in the long run, they will be sadly mistaken. They were not elected to sit on the sidelines and act like children. They need to get involved and come up with good ideas. Just for the record, I am not a Democrate, or a Republican. To me, what the Republicans are doing, or not doing, is far more "Un-American"

    September 7, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  25. John

    Well, it doesn't really matter. Good for him for being honest and whatnot, but congress listens to the people, not the president. If the majority of congresses citizens don't want the presidents plans, then it won't (or shouldn't happen).

    I still don't get why presidents these days are injecting their ideas and policies into our lives. It didn't use to be this way. They are the international reps, not policy makers. That is what congress is for. Why presidents these days demand congress do this and that is bewildering to me.

    September 7, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
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