WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two out of three Americans who watched President Barack Obama's health care reform speech Wednesday night favor his health care plans - a 14-point gain among speech-watchers, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll of people who tuned into Obama's address Wednesday night to a joint session of Congress.
Sixty-seven percent of people questioned in the survey say the support Obama's health care reform proposals that the president outlined in his address, with 29 percent opposed. Those figures are almost identical to a poll conducted immediately after Bill Clinton's health care speech before Congress in September, 1993.
The audience for the speech appears to be more Democratic than the U.S. population as a whole. Because of this, the results may favor Obama simply because more Democrats than Republicans tune into the speech. The poll surveyed the opinions of people who watched Wednesday night's speech, and does not reflect the views of all Americans.
(Full results after the jump)
"If you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have," President Barack Obama said during his September 9 address to Congress.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN's Deirdre Walsh reports that Republican Rep. Joe Wilson called the White House Wednesday night to apologize for his outburst during President Obama's speech, and spoke with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
UPDATE: CNN's Ed Henry reports that a senior administration official says that in the phone call, Emanuel accepted the apology on behalf of the president and told the congressman: "We can disagree without being disagreeable. That was the point of the President's speech."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democrat hoping to unseat South Carolina congressman Joe Wilson in next year's midterm elections quickly seized on the Republican's shout of "You lie!" during President Obama's health care speech on Wednesday.
"Representative Wilson's behavior tonight exemplifies everything that is wrong in Washington," Democrat Rob Miller said in a statement provided to CNN. "Instead of engaging in childish name-calling and disrespecting our Commander-in-Chief, Joe Wilson should be working towards a bipartisan solution that makes quality, affordable health care available to each and every South Carolinian.
Miller added: "He owes both the President and the people of this district an apology for his embarrassing behavior during tonight's speech."
Wilson apologized to the president after the speech, calling his comments "inappropriate and regrettable."
Miller, a 13-year veteran of the Marine Corps, gave Wilson the toughest re-election challenge of his career last year in one of the country's most conservative congressional districts. Miller lost by eight points, and decided to challenge Wilson again next year.
President Barack Obama said in his September 9 address to a joint session of Congress that "those of us with health insurance are also paying a hidden and growing tax for those without it - about $1,000 per year that pays for somebody else's emergency room and charitable care."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - GOP Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina issued a statement Wednesday night apologizing for his outburst during President Obama's speech to Congress:
“This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President’s remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill. While I disagree with the President’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility.”
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/09/art.youlie.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Wilson the congressional heckler."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Republican House member shouted "you lie" during President Barack Obama's health-care speech to Congress on Wednesday, and members of both parties condemned the heckling.
When Obama denied that proposed health-care legislation would provide free health coverage for illegal immigrants, South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson shouted, "You lie!"
Obama paused and looked toward the Republican side of the chamber before
continuing his speech.
After the speech, Republican Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate defeated by Obama last year, called Wilson's outburst "totally disrespectful" and said he should apologize.
McCain said there was "no place for it in that setting or any other and he should apologize immediately."
Other Republicans also criticized Wilson, along with the expected Democratic condemnation.
"It was crude and disrespectful," said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, a top Senate Democrat. "I think the person who said it will pay a price."
Updated: 10:00 p.m.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany urged Congress to pass a health-care plan by "working together in a bipartisan way" in remarks delivered after President Barack Obama's address to a joint session of Congress Wednesday.
"Republicans are pleased that President Obama came to the Capitol tonight," the Louisiana lawmaker said as he delivered the Republican response.
"We agree much needs to be done to lower the cost of health care for all Americans. On that goal, Republicans are ready - and we've been ready - to work with the President for common-sense reforms that our nation can afford."
"Most Americans wanted to hear the president tell Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and the rest of Congress that it's time to start over on a common-sense, bipartisan plan focused on lowering the cost of health care while improving quality," he said.
Boustany, a cardiothoracic surgeon with more than 20 years of experience, slammed the president for leaving a much-diminished role for a public option on the table.
The White House has released the text of the letter from the late Sen. Ted Kennedy that President Obama referenced in his address to Congress:
May 12, 2009
Dear Mr. President,
I wanted to write a few final words to you to express my gratitude for your repeated personal kindnesses to me – and one last time, to salute your leadership in giving our country back its future and its truth.
On a personal level, you and Michelle reached out to Vicki, to our family and me in so many different ways. You helped to make these difficult months a happy time in my life.
You also made it a time of hope for me and for our country.
When I thought of all the years, all the battles, and all the memories of my long public life, I felt confident in these closing days that while I will not be there when it happens, you will be the President who at long last signs into law the health care reform that is the great unfinished business of our society. For me, this cause stretched across decades; it has been disappointed, but never finally defeated. It was the cause of my life. And in the past year, the prospect of victory sustained me-and the work of achieving it summoned my energy and determination.
There will be struggles – there always have been – and they are already underway again. But as we moved forward in these months, I learned that you will not yield to calls to retreat – that you will stay with the cause until it is won. I saw your conviction that the time is now and witnessed your unwavering commitment and understanding that health care is a decisive issue for our future prosperity. But you have also reminded all of us that it concerns more than material things; that what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.