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. joe m.

    These ignorant people are going to protest anything Obama does. They are just upset that a white man is not sitting in the white house. I will bet that all these racists did not vote for him in the election. You can tell by all the angry white faces. Obama's rallies are more diversified, a much better reflection of humanity.

    September 13, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. Ryan, Council Bluffs

    Mr. Axelrod the facts are the bills keep getting rewritten and tinkered with as the plans get exposed for what are in them. "Death Panels" or govermental panels to review health care cost Vs. value of contribution of the life saved were part of original bills. Government ran health care that company's could purchase vs. private insurance were part of original bills. Maybe Union voters will not be excited to know that under that proposal the top shelf health care they negotiated would be traded in for the public health care option. Unions will be used to balance the cost of insuring the high risk uninsured because of the "pool" idea.

    September 13, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. Pragmatic

    Remember, Dick Armey said in an interview that the widespread protests over health-care reform could not happen unless people were "truly scared." "If you are going to go ugly, go ugly early."

    He's done that. Its truly ugly out there. The GOP now can not tell the difference between their lies about "death panels" and what is true – and they really don't care – DeMint brags about using health care to bring President Obama down .... doesn't sound much like the GOP cares about people or solving the problem ... did do anything in the last administration and don't want anything accomplished in this one!

    September 13, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. The Republicans are DIVIDING our great country!

    These critics were instrumental in allowing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression happen yet now... they want us to believe that they have all the answers. The GOP is a joke!

    September 13, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. Terry, TX

    Alexrod.....sounds like he is getting a little nervous....
    What the orchestrating of the student speech one day..then orchestrating the speech to the Joint Session Congress the next day blasting dissenters and threaten to call them out...then orchestrating the Saturday townhall were he sounded like a petulant child on the campaign trail....not at all presidential. If they aren't nervous why did he have a rare Sat townhall....getting out DC dodge....while people who don't agree with him gather. Bad form.

    September 13, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. Connie, Indiana

    For people who are so afraid of health care reform, you scream that the government wants to tax us more etc etc etc, the reform is wrong etc etc etc, are you the same ones who complain about the high cost of premiums, high cost of medicine, yet you stand there and don't want any kind of reform that might help you.....This country and what it stands for is gone, it is now a country that is run by big time $$$$ and people who enjoy lying scaring the hell out of people, with death panels etc etc etc...and gullible people who choose to believe this stuff... I pray these people who don't want a responsible health reform, are not someday at a point when they need some help, and then they will be screaming for help.. and it may not be there..

    September 13, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Irene

    It's time to stand up to the GOP lying machine and their militia. They represent everything wrong with the USA. The biggest lie is that Bush won two elections. So shut up and go home you GOP fools. We're so tired of your bull!

    September 13, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. Connie, Indiana

    common sense has gone by the wayside, a good majority of these baggers want their answers handed to them so as they do not have to look and learn.....This country has gone to hell and a hand basket and these tea baggers are clapping their collective hands together and bring down the President is to bring down this country..and this is what they want...don't let anybody say different. and for what!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 13, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Tony from Michigan

    Teabaggers, where were you the last 8 years? Tea Party= Extremist's

    September 13, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Hammerer

    Everyone is out of step with reality except the Obama group- right.

    September 13, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. Joe

    Well, we know Obama will never say "No New Taxes...."

    September 13, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. charlie

    Civility is a rare commodity in the politics of today, unless someone has died. You can't keep a 24/7 news cycle working with people bing nice to one another. You also can't have compromise when each side draws lines in the sand they will not cross. Conservatives would have us believe that the end of American civilization is near. Liberals would have us believe that conservatives want people to be turned away from hospital emergency rooms. I know that my health insurance has doubled and covers less than it did 10 years ago. I don't care if it is tort reform or insurance refrom that is needed, but more and more people have no health care. Change is needed.

    September 13, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. Nea

    It dont matter these so called tea party supporters are health insurance lobbyists, Blue cross and Blue sheilds, Cigna, and other insurance groups as well as Big Drug companies CEOs and other big time opponents of Health Care Refrom dont be fooled. And other that get Medicare and Medicaid that is brainwash by them not knowing they already have Government run Healthcare. AND THEY WILL NEVER SUPPORT THIS PRESIDENT ANYWAY!

    September 13, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. Adalbert

    These tea-party protesters are too ignorant to know that this HC reform is for their own benefit.

    September 13, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. Marie -Silver Spring Md

    I went to the Capital today to a pre-rally for health care reform and someone who attened the hate rally the tea baggers had yesterday said they only attened as an observer was appalled with ond fler he saw which was later thrown in the trash after the he decided to take it out and bring it today just to demonstrate just how much hate these people represent.The sign said: Bury Obamacare with Kennedy and then he said they covered the flyer with dirt.These people aren't patriots they are hatetriots.The rally I attended today had alot of people that told stories and were angry and frustated but they were dignified.October 18th we will be there again for the major rally for health form and we will be asking every person that attended today to invite 10 people to come for support of this reform and yes our voices will be heard as it was today with people from Nevada,California,Texas,Utah.So tea baggers,Glen Beck,Sean Hannity,Rush Limbaugh,Lou Dobbs,Congress Wilson and the rest in Congress who oppose I will let you know in advance we will be there FIRED UP AND READY TO GO

    September 13, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. J

    President Obama is a very nice man, He is the type of a person who is willing to try his very best to keep peace and working to better solution for all the problems we have today.

    I believe that he is not a push over.
    This man has a nerve of steel, and tougher than many people think.
    He is strong enough to handle things throwing his way.

    It is not very often to find someone with all these quality all in one person.

    Give the man a chance to do his job! and I am sure that America would be able to get back on their feet in no time.

    September 13, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. They call me "Tater Salad"

    If you really look at it, these Junior High dropout protesters seem to be wrong about a lot of things not just Health Care!

    September 13, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. Larry

    When is someone going to call out the true racists? Any psychologist worthy of his salt will tell you that these liberals that want to blame everything on someone else's racism are actually projecting their own bigoted views on someone else. They are the ones that can't conceive of the idea of a white person disagreeing with a black person's policies without it being race driven. This constant use of the race card by these liberal bigots has got to stop. All they're doing is dividing our country. Disagree with one another in the arena of ideas but please stop with the race baiting. You are distroying the progress we've made in race relations over the years. Remember MLK?

    September 13, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. ding dong

    Reform begins with Public Option

    or its not reform.

    (move the shells around any way you want, even off the table)

    Hopefully Snowe Knows

    Reform Begins with The Public Option

    Millions of Americans know it....will keep whispering and voting.

    September 13, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. IS IT 2012 YET ??

    The Tea Partyers can smell at rat here. Who do Obama and the Democrats think they are fooling? The Democrats want a foot in the door, and a foreseeable path to a massive new federal bureacracy, just like the Social Security Administration. I hope the Republican Congress of 2010 can undo some of the great damage being done by the Democrat Congress now.

    September 13, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. Dave

    Axelrod is a Democratic political operative whose goal is to get his candidate elected or re-elected as the case may be. He doesn't care what policies they pursue,only how to spin them to get votes.

    (Well maybe there's a little greed in there as his former agency picks up advertising business while the controversy lasts so they can pay his severance pay; $2 million as I recall.)

    He'd demonize his own mother if she were part of the rally.

    September 13, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. WethePeople2009

    Please keep Don Lemon’s, from CNN, dialogue going.

    Many can see that “The Tea Party Express” is a cover for those that do not accept the first African American as the 44th President of The United States of America!

    If these individuals are afraid of the deficit and the direction the Country is taking why were they silent for 8 years while President Bush swallowed President Clinton’s surplus and buried the nation in trillions of dollars in debt?

    September 13, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Nancy - Houston

    I think we can point toward the insurance industry for these riotous gatherings. It has been happening since FDR's administration. It appears some people have too much time on their hands. I just know, if the two parties use their heads and want to, they can come up with a good plan to improve the insurance problems for all American citizens.

    September 13, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. Vincent Petrosino

    These conservatives need to READ. Not just listen to the media. READ the bills, they are on line. They are available upon request. "Christian "and " conservative" have now become opposites in meaning. Conservatives are now synonymous with self gratifying, selfish hypocrites who cloak their racism under misguided and disrespectful protests. Wake up ! We are a nation that is diverse, White people. You cannot have it your way again. And think of the younger generations coming behind you who must find a way to make the world better than what we are leaving them.

    September 13, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. Ted Tartaglia

    The Tea Partyers are a bunch of undereducated gullible individuals who have been stirred up by Repub party operatives like Dick Armey. These people haven't a clue what the issues are they just blindly follow the misinformation they are being fed. Did you notice the number of Repub whacko congressmen spurring the Tea Partyers on at their Washington rally? These same congressmen deny having anything to do with the Tea Partys. What a bunch of bald-faced liars!

    September 13, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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