September 13th, 2009
01:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama adviser: Protesters wrong about health-care reform

(CNN) - President Barack Obama's top political adviser had a blunt message Sunday for protesters who took part in a Tea Party rally the day before in Washington: "They're wrong" on health care.

"The president made it very, very clear that he wants to build on the system that we have," rather than create a vast new system, David Axelrod told CBS' "Face the Nation."

Axelrod said the reform would bring changes that benefit those with health coverage and those who can't afford it or lose it.

"We ought to focus on what it's about and not on distortions of it," Axelrod said of the president's plan.

Tens of thousands of people gathered outside Congress on Saturday to protest against health-care proposals favored by Obama that they fear will further increase government spending and expand government to the detriment of the economy and personal freedoms.

The protesters railed against what they called a planned government takeover of health care and other costly programs, such as the $787 billion economic stimulus program.

Many carried posters comparing the government to Nazi Germany or depicting Obama as an African witch doctor.

Axelrod said he does not believe the demonstration was "indicative of the nation's mood." He added, "One of the great things about our country is people can express themselves even if they're not representative of the majority."

The program also showed a clip of an interview with Obama that will be broadcast Sunday night on "60 Minutes." In it, the president mentioned a "coarsening" of political dialogue in the United States illustrated by a Republican congressman shouting "you lie" during Obama's speech to Congress last week and the angry claims of the Tea Party protests.

"I will also say that in the era of 24-hour cable news cycles that the loudest, shrillest voices get the most attention," Obama said in the clip. "… One of the things that I'm trying to figure out is, you know, how can we make sure that civility is interesting."

Saturday's march leading to the Capitol stretched for blocks on the final day of the Tea Party Express' cross-country bus tour, which began August 28 in Sacramento, California.

The tour included rallies in about 30 cities. An official crowd estimate for Saturday's protest was not available, but reporters at the scene described the crowd as in the tens of thousands.

The Tea Party movement gained momentum this year, with protests against Obama and the Democrats' economic stimulus plans held across the country. Now, the focus of group - whose name stands for Taxed Enough Already - is on health-care reform.

The Tea Party Express tour was funded by Our Country Deserves Better, a conservative political action committee. However, the Tea Party Express calls itself nonpartisan.

Members from conservative groups such as Freedom Works, run by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, participated in Saturday's rally.

Democratic leaders accuse some conservative groups and commentators, along with opponents of reform in the health insurance and medical industries, of spreading misinformation about health-care legislation to generate public opposition.

soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. stan

    Can the democrats see how the gop is running scared on this because the gop knows they cant afford to get the latino cummunity even more upset then they have done already,the gop knows they cant keep talking about illegal immigration because its a no win situation for the gop,thats why you see all these republicans like cantor in grahm is getting on tv in telling people lets move on,if joe wilson would have protested about abortion rather then immigration the gop leaders would be all over the networks keeping this going,but the gop knows they cant keep this going,in the democrats are so stupid not to see how scared the gop gets when immigration is being talked about in the media,they gets horrified,they dont want to talk about it or even mention illegal immigration,can the democrats see this,are they blind,the gop dont want this fight at all,the gop is praying obama dont try in pass immigration reform before the midterms because the gop knows its going to be a diaster because they cant control the right-wing of their party,in they knows the lationos will not vote for them period in that will be a diaster.

    September 13, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  2. Navy Jack

    Our nation is desperate to enact this health insurance reform legislation ... paid for by eliminating "waste fraud and abuse in Medicare"... BUT NOT UNTIL 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Open your mind and ask WHY?

    September 13, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. jeff

    I think Axelrod is arrogant if he continues to say that any American that disagrees with him and the president are WRONG.
    The country is devided in 3 parties.
    I think that the dems and the rep are the parties that get into power but it is the Ind that put each party into power.
    It is time Axelrod and the president listen not to their party or the rep but the Ind

    September 13, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. MADinAZ

    So, after all the hype by FOX News, about 60,000-70,000 showed up in Washington D.C.; meanwhile, President Obama pulled in 15,000-18,000 in Minneapolis with no hype at all.

    September 13, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. warren in Houston

    No one is explaining how we are going to pay for this legislation. We are broke as a Nation. Just where is the money going to come from?

    September 13, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  6. BobC

    I love Republican logic. It was fine for them to take a budget surplus and turn it into a record deficit. There were no "tea parties" when all of that was going on. Now that there's a Democrat in office, the federal deficit is suddenly a problem, and Obama is the one to blame. Your sudden care for future generations is very heartwarming, but where were you for the last 8 years? Stop being so self-righteous, you hypocrites, and start offering some alternatives. You're 8 years too late to start pointing any fingers.

    September 13, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  7. Our grat Country

    Why, oh why, do many of you think all of the protesters are racists and hate-mongers?? YOU are listening to the media lying to you about that. Have you even listened to protestors' side? Have you researched both sides? Have you looked at Britain's and Canada's universal health care plan? It's not working for them, so why do you think it will work for us? MANY of the protesters don't want the government controlling more and more of our many industries. Yes, there is no mention of death panels in the bill but what will happen down the road when we don't have enough money to cover everyone? Than what? Who will get the shaft? This isn't rocket science, people.

    September 13, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  8. FL

    Why reform health care when jobs are needed to pay for the reform. we all can't have a free lunch. the last time I checked our founding fathers never intended for the government to hand feed the citizens. this county was founded because they were tired of government interfering and taxes.

    September 13, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  9. Legna

    Let's c !!!!! We have a Democratic Strategist telling the conserative Democrats,Independents,and Republicans that they are wrong on healthcare .....I am amazed anyone would listen to this blubbering idiot after all, he has been spot on with all his other strategies.

    September 13, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
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