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. Joshua


    We need a President who can get things done. Healthcare for all!

    September 7, 2009 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  2. center left

    Mr. President let it loose!!!! We got your back!!!!!!

    September 7, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  3. Glenda Brettschneider

    Dear Mr. President: There are only 2 selections to choose from that would benefit the People of this country. Seniors are very frightened with the status quo and also about some of the proposals we have heard during this discussion periodi. PLEASE Mr. President, keep your word and select in its entirety the one noted below:
    1. Insure all citizens under the same policies afforded
    the President, Congress, and other government employees,
    whether elected or hired..

    For those who believe the current system is still fair to all participants, let them suscribe to the existing plans at their own discrestion, IF THEY CAN AFFORD IT.

    September 7, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  4. tom fox

    TR ... Harry truman ... Bobby Kennedy ... heck even LBJ ... – Quit running for President – You are the President. Get the Banks under your control, remember the electorate – we believe (ed) in you. 30 year Navy Vet with two sons serving – Betrayal is in the senses (census). Beware my Brother – who do you serve ....? The people or the panderers that run the country? You are are hope for audacity ... more auducity my friend, or game over for our country. Time to be great ... bargain and demand cheapest drugs, reign in the military. and most of all my esteemed Chicago professor – do not be enamored with the Lincoln Bedroom – you are losing us – Get some saxk and stand up! – Cub Fan, LCDR, USN Ret. (With all my sons in the military) – It is time to be great, not driven by fate – Be something – the campaign is over and you are losing us by the millions daily.

    September 7, 2009 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  5. marty

    It seems that one of the main pillars of this plan is for the government option to provide competition. If that is such a big problem, why not just open the state borders and allow all health insurers to compete equally? Wouldn't that solve the problem of competition?

    September 7, 2009 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  6. A.Darton

    I will be watching Wednesday night, just like Tuesday my kids and I will be watching at school or at home.

    September 7, 2009 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  7. Gerda Edwards

    Perhaps as a former Constitutional Professor, the President should ponder the meaning and purpose of separation of powers. It is as appropriate for Congress or SCOTUS to be forceful with Pres Obama as it is for him to be forceful to them - which is not appropriate at all.

    September 7, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  8. The Who

    The plan should sell itself, I always say if a salesman is trying to rush you and not give you the answers you want about his product ,then beware, its probably a rip off. This is one of those cases.
    I have looked at many portions of this bill and it is vague and non-specific, it is open to interpretation, if passed it would be a blank check with no oversight..
    Why hard sell the public? because this is a blantant attempt to consolidate power and for the gov (liberals) to own even more control of our lives.

    September 7, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  9. Florence

    It’s about time. Enough is enough. They lost, we won. We voted for Obama and he has to do what we want. He was elected by the majority of people. And the majority want public option and he should not appease the Republicans and take that option off the table. President Obama is a very fair and reasonable man. He really tried hard to extend his hand across the aisle but unfortunately you can’t reason with fools. There comes a time when you just have to tell them what you are going to do and do it. Obama is the President and he should use his power to put these arrogant back in their place especially that Michael "puppet" Steel. I hate to say it but I will say it anyway. “It’s our turn now”; we put up with them for eight years and see where it got us into. May be a day will come when they'll get their turn again, which I hope that days never comes. At the mean time they should either take it or leave it. Go Obama. Show some muscle.

    September 7, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  10. terry, va

    I got your force what you said or crawl away like every other politician. We can't count on any politician to do what they say.

    September 7, 2009 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  11. Rick

    Yeah if not for organized labor, this clown would have never made office. My question is, If I am in Congress and the people from my district tell me to tell Congress and the President to "Go pound Sand" why should I listen to him? I love the part where he says "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. Yeah this coming from the same Joker that said Unemployment will never reach 8 percent. It did and passed it up. When is the media going to call him out? CNN I don't think has the guts to do it, because it is such a wishy washy organization. CNN The most slanted news organization.

    September 7, 2009 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  12. Kettle2

    We need healthcare reform with an option...there is no other way.
    Soon boomers will be retiring...this situation is going to get a lot worse least we will have a head start on the crisis that will be coming our way. I know I was one w/o Insurance and my family paid for my insurance until I turned 65. If it were not for them, I would not have had any insurance because I could not affort the Corbra. Had to retire early to care for my husband.

    September 7, 2009 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  13. Clark W Griswold

    Well, it's about darn time Barack. Time to whip people into shape. You can start by whipping the Blue Dog, Democrats into shape.

    Time to get tough!!!

    September 7, 2009 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  14. Patrick

    He is such a good President. Thank God for Barack Obama. The republicans don't care about helping ordinary Americans. They take their millions from the insurance companies and fight for the status quo, leaving 47 million Americans uninsured. Because they stop health reform, Americans die. That proves the republicans are anti-American.

    September 7, 2009 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  15. Digital Subway

    Whenever any president wants to bring a big change, everyone comes together and tries to oppose that and make it harder and almost impossible.

    These kinds of acts have happened in the past too. I hope he is successful in revamping the health policy of the United States.

    September 7, 2009 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  16. kate

    Barack Obama should have been a preacher. Here comes another "sermon". I'll be at my church of choice on Wednesday night.

    September 7, 2009 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  17. Beverly in NC

    AMEN – Go President Obama! The time for debate is over. It;s obvious the Republican will never do anything that actually helps the American people. They cannot be trusted for they have been paid millions and millions of dollars by the insurance industry to tell outrageous lies and try to kill healthcare reform.
    Now is the time to act and finally bring real reform WITH the public option into law. It should called the Ted Kennedy Healthcare Act of 2009.
    We the People are behind you President Obama! Go for it. It's time to ignore the Party of NO and the Party who only works for corporations and hates the average American people. Republicans are never going to do anytihng positive for us. We need to push them aside and keep moving forward.
    Healthcare reform NOW!

    September 7, 2009 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  18. Bill

    I'm sure they're all frightened. Of course he'll go on an "apology tour" of the houses afterwards, in case he offended anyone. Jimmy Carter II.

    September 7, 2009 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  19. Davin Flatmo

    I agree with Obama 100% on this issue of getting things moving. I'm disappointed that false rumors temporarily derailed the PR for the public option, but in either case, it's time for everyone to stop sitting on their hands. Progress in health care is still being held back by people whose only concern is protecting the insurance company profit margin, and America's uninsured deserve better than that.

    September 7, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  20. Mir

    Go President!!! Stop the Bull being thrown around in the Congress and the Senate. No health care without Public Healthcare option.

    September 7, 2009 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  21. Jon

    A public health option goes against everything the founding fathers ever wanted the federal government to be involved in. Isn't the federal government involved in each and every Americans life enough already? Seriously, this is not what these United States should be undertaking. I do belive in reforming the health insurance industry and making it easier for all Americans to get health insurance. But we the people of these United Sates should not be owners of a health insurance company any more than we should own 80% of AIG and 30% of Citi Group, not to mention GM. Any hardcore liberal who does not see the serious potential problems a public option program larger than any other program run by our federal government is a mindless blind fool. If any of you see my point, contact your congressman/woman and senator, tell them to vote "NO".

    September 7, 2009 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  22. Joe in Hoboken, NJ

    Nobody's listening, Mr. President. The campaign is over, okay. And we're tired of hearing you.

    September 7, 2009 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  23. NYC Willie

    Ha Ha. Get Forceful? We thought we were electing Franklin Roosevelt. What we got was Jimmie Carter.

    September 8, 2009 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  24. Kirk

    Just wait until Americans who have health insurance really have to use it. Their day will come when they wake up and realize that their so called insurance really doesn't cover much. They will have to rely on their life's savings to cover what they thought insurance would. Until then, it's like leading the lambs to slaughter.

    September 8, 2009 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  25. Nathan

    Its about time.

    September 8, 2009 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
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