September 13th, 2009
01:00 PM ET
12 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. michael bulger

    what david does not understand is taht he will cost pres obama the election by not listing to the people. and following the left only

    he is wrong and time will show it

    September 13, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  2. katiec

    Of course they are wrong but that does not matter to them.
    They have let theirselves be victimnized by the republicans and
    big business. They do not care about the facts, they do not care
    about health care reform, only about the slander, hate, fear
    mongering they can spread.
    The are not capable of thinking for theirselves, as, if they were they
    would not be traveling down the road of trying to destroy our
    country. Of course we are permitted free speech, but the
    majority are fed of with their abuse of truth, honor and iintegrity.

    September 13, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. Rob

    He is right... the protestors are fools. Where were they when Bush and Cheney were giving us much to protest about? REAL issues to protest about?

    September 13, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. Sea.gem

    The president has made nothing clear...his speech to congress was riddled with mistatements and obvious ommissions (these were reported on by Yahoo and other independent organizations during the 'fact checks'). he also continues ot call others liars (just uses different words)...and his attempts at bipartisanship?..non-existent...saying "agree with me or face the consequences"...then ramming a bill thorugh Congress is not is a political scam.

    September 13, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. Peter

    The tea baggers are trouble makers you can't please any group driven by hate and racial divisions? just ask yourself why are most tea baggers republicans? this is agroup driven by hate instigated by people such as becks, rush and hannity!. Its not because this group dont want reforms in healthcare, they want it more than anyone else but remember they have nicknamed the reforms obama care! there goes the hidden agenda!

    September 13, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. T'SAH from Virginia

    I keep hearing – TENS of THOUSANDS were present at rally – let's first get the numbers STRAIGHT!! To me it did not seem to be 100,000 – not in the least bit – it did not seem like 90,000.

    On another note: I agree with Axelrod when he says "We ought to focus on what it's about and not on distortions of it," ... Most of the outcries coming from the crowd were based on DISTORTION!! I could not believe it!! It seemed as if most interviewed still did not GET IT!!

    On a THIRD NOTE: When is OUR bus arriving to DC so that we can have OUR event to show we are behind the President and Health Care Reform – with the PUBLIC OPTION!!! I bet our signs would show more respect for the President and our crowd would REALLY be TENS OF THOUSANDS or MORE!!!

    September 13, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. Tom in CA

    The members of the TEA Party only have anarchy as a solution!

    September 13, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Bridgette

    What type of heartless person could have a problem with people getting health care. I just don't understand that and I guess I never will. I will believe this protest is not about having a black President when I see the racisist signs go away. You should be able to have a debate and not have to resort to that. Then maybe the majority of the country will believe in what you have to say.

    September 13, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. No Hillary = No Obama

    Yeah, thousands are wrong and only the Obama administration is right! Give me a break. It is unfortunate for Obama that he can't socially manipulate this group of Americans

    September 13, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Remember the old axiom: "If you tell the same lie long enough and loud enough, eventually people will believe it." – Germany, 1940

    September 13, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. eolufemi

    The gentlemen versus the savages...who wins?

    September 13, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. JJ

    Obama lied again. He said nobody else has an alternative plan. Not True. Many conservatives and Republicans have alternative plans, many that involve tort reform. Something that incorporates 1/6th of the economy–in this case Health Care, along with abortion, illegal aliens, elderly Logun's Run death panels, and privacy issues for all Americans should not be rushed through our most liberal Congress, a government which is acting more Orwellian everyday and has the possibility of becoming tyrannical, which is why the Press should be watchdogs instead of lapdogs for Obama. Besides Obama's lies, I don't like siding with anybody who is supported by thuggish ACORN, Bill (immoral) Maher, and occult new age channelers channeling the same spirit (Kuthumi–yes..Kuthumi supports Obama & his socialist policies) that Madame Blavatsky channeled in the 1800s which helped create the Nazi Third Reich of Germany and Lucifer Publishing now called Lucis Trust.

    September 13, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. howie

    I am a republican who supports health reform however I do NOT support a public option

    September 13, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. Post always rejected by CNN

    If the republican infomercial channel Fox News didn't find Health Care to latch on to, so they can defame and slur and obstruct Obama and the Democrats from getting anything done in DC, they would have found something else.

    Look at how from the very day President Clinton was elected they started their campaign to GET HIM. Clinton didn't help the matter by being a womanizer. But they spent 80 million dollars try to remove him from office. They are a common bunch of people. It seems all the crooks, sleeze, and hate spewers head for the republican party, because republicans embrace that type of action.

    No matter which Democrat is elected to anything they start a campaign against them. They don't care if they spew lies, hate as long as the dumb bunch of ratdung like the nutso in the TB parties follow them. And they know they will follow. Because again the type of people who gather in the republican party are all followers, none can think for themselves, if they could they would realize that the republican politicans are only using them for their own benefit. They have such hate for Democrats because the people REALLY VOTED for them, that the Democrats did not have to re-program the electronic ballot boxes so they could win. They got away with it for eight years but it finally came to a halt. Now they just have to figure out how to steal the votes again. Because they know darn well this country is fed up with them. The bunch of cattle left would follow as long as Fox brainwashes them. They don't have the sense to think for themselves.

    September 13, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. S M R

    The protesting is SIMPLY RIDICULOUS just like the GREED of Corporate America that Bankrolls their effort.

    September 13, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. Steve, New York City

    Do the "doubters" realize that the majority of personal bankruptcies in this country, are a result of hard-working people who get sick, and cannot pay for medical bills?

    Cut the scare-tactics/tea party nonsense – the only entities who are winning "this debate" so far, are the Washington lobbyists who are raking in millions, thanks in part to elements of the public who seem to lack the ability to think in an independent manner.

    September 13, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. Deuce

    Cafferty said that five days ago. But nothing will change. There is no Change. All Obama talked about was Change. Now you know what he meant. Your Lobbyist are taking all that Change...

    September 13, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. Republican Truth

    Don't think so. The protesters and their comments are absolutely correct. As a matter of fact I have not seen too much truth come out of the dem parties mouths. Obama hasn't exactly been honest either.

    September 13, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. Hugo

    Obama has made it very very clear that he is a an expert at political morphology, just watch the old campaign clips. More flip flops than a house of pancakes, more smoke and mirrors than a carnival. Wonder Boy has lost his appeal to many Americans and will continue to do so as his house of cards begins to crumble... Lawyers cannot help themselves but to manipulate the meaning of the English language, and there is nothing more dangerous than a lawyer politician pushing legislation that is not thoroughly examined and edited to close the loopholes. Every word has a specific meaning that will be twisted to distort from the true menaing and intent or to veil it in a shroud of uncertainty. If you don't believe me, just ask Bill Clinton what the meaning of is, is... and to those that think teabagger's are just a bunch of white racists, black is not the color that all true Americans fear, it is RED!

    September 13, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. phoenix86

    Let's see, Obama says he will spend $800 billion on healthcare without raising a dime of the deficit or raise people's taxes.

    This is beyond misinformation. Representative Charlie Wilson was absolutely right.

    September 13, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. Melanie

    I believe there are more rational people that are in full support of a public option. They just have better manners and are not in opposition to our current administration. Their demonstrations are not a circus and therefore, do not get as nuch media attention. Rational thought is never as interesting as nutty behavior, propaganda and lies. The media covers what they think will attract more viewers.

    September 13, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  22. Glen

    I like the idea of trying to make civility interesting. I've never though of tea parties as intresting events untii those recently promoted by Fox et al. Maybe this will lead to some raucous civility demonstrations organized by hardcore thoughtful types.

    September 13, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  23. Alan

    Isn't if funny how polititians embrace polls when they agree with them and reject them when they disagree.

    In this case, the polls clearly show that the American people does not want this "reform" shoved down our throats.

    September 13, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  24. JRay

    If, as leaders of both parties and the President contend, there is 80% agreement on health care/insurance reforms, why don't Democrats and Republicans agree to write, pass, and sign, a law implementing the provisions of that 80%? Continue to work on the other 20% while regularly testing the new law's effectiveness. Or is this "80%" another mystical statistic unsubstantiated by facts?

    September 13, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. Burns NH

    This administration has engineered the biggest crisis in civilized
    history. We started with an economic situation and now have near
    chaos all across the board. This is a classic example of using a
    situation to promote disorder amongst our populace and forcing
    us into fear of loosing our way of life. I believe there are other motives
    yet to be made apparent.

    September 13, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
1 2 3