September 29th, 2009
06:17 PM ET
13 years ago

Rockefeller 'disappointed' Obama didn't push harder for public option

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Jay Rockefeller told CNN on Monday that he's "disappointed" that President Obama wasn't more forceful in pushing the Senate to include a public option in its health care bill."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Jay Rockefeller told CNN on Tuesday that he's "disappointed" that President Obama wasn't more forceful in pushing the Senate to include a public option in its health care bill.

"A little bit, a little bit I'm disappointed," the West Virginia Democrat told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I know he's strongly for it, and I know his tactic has been to let the Congress do his work and then he'll come in when the crunch really counts. What I'm saying is that the crunch is really beginning to count now, and I think he's - I know he's for it, and said so publicly, and campaigned on it, so I think it's important that he come in at this point strongly."

The Senate Finance Committee rejected amendments on Monday, proposed by Rockefeller and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, that called for a new government-run health insurance option.

But Rockefeller stopped short of saying that he wouldn't support a bill that failed to include the provision, and pointed out that proposals passed by the House and other Senate committees include a public insurance option.

"Let's wait on that. I care very strongly about it obviously," Rockefeller said. "...There's all kinds of things that happen between now and ...the point at which I'll either vote yes or no."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Why does Obama have to do everything? Why don't others in the Senate who really want a Public Option vocalize it? These politicos since the advent of Obama have become lazy and complacent. One person carrying the weight with no visible of support from his "support team". They've become like whining leeches. Parasitic in fact. What a hell of a job this President has. I do not envy him one iota.

    September 29, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  2. AntiRush

    It's time for the President to get involved and let congress know what needs to be in any bill that he signs. Healthcare premiums have doubled over the last 10 years. Enough is enough. In his speech to congress on health care, he said that a public option may be needed as a temporary measure while the co-op/exchange ideas are put into place. Once they are in place, he said that the public option might still be needed for a very small percentage (I've seen estimates of about 4% of those who are un-insured now). Why has that changed? Public option or not, the most important thing to me about the healthcare bill is that its provisions get worked on immediately. We can't have a bill passed that won't take effect for years. Even though the Republicans deny it, the healthcare program is broken, and needs to be fixed.

    September 29, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. Terry from GA

    The problem is not what the president has to say about the public option. The real problem is the "Blue Dog" democrats who are not listening to their constituents by supporting the public option.

    September 29, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. Robert

    As an originally argent supporter of Obama, I'll just say I'm with Rockefeller...

    Obama has only shown luke warm support for what he originally said was indispensible. Now there are reports the White House has assured the insurance lobby the final bill won't have the public option.

    That report had better be wrong. If it is true, Obama will not be re-elected. Mark my words on that... We on the left will not vote for him anymore than the right supported Bush I after violating his 'read my lips' pledge.

    September 29, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. victim of republican greed

    It is a shame that Mad Max made us wait 2 months for nothing.

    September 29, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  6. Susan

    Yeah, it's crunch time and Obama is out of the country. I'm disappointed too, because without a public option, this bill will do nothing to help those who need it.

    September 29, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  7. Padin

    Why is it that the overeducated, under worked rich elite of the New England States always claim they speak for the "common man". These morons have never worked a single day in their mostly worthless lives. They contribute absolutely nothing to America, they live off their ancestors money and believe they have something to say that any sane, rational human being wants to hear. I say to Rockefeller " If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were once our countrymen." Samuel Adams, Free American.

    September 29, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  8. Nea

    OH! dont try to blame this on President Obama i have seen him at work on the campaign trail time and time again and he even went in front of congress to try to get this done. And then what does congress do fuss and fight with each other about whats in it for them, so they can win the next election. From my calculation doesnt the Democrats have the majority so what there excuse. Its not about whats best for America anymore now is whats best for the party.

    September 29, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. Eric

    Sadly the rich put millions into defeating it while the regular folks get zero representation from those they elected.

    September 29, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  10. Dave

    People like Rockefeller are looney liberals with no sense of what people want and what is good for people. It looks like he is living on mars. Majority people of america do not want a public option ( I bet most of the liberals supporting it do not know what it means). If you want real choice and competition, public option should have to negotiate rates with doctors and hospitals, and not have medicare rates. People have to work for insurance, it is not welfare. These liberal lunatics should be defeated next elections.

    September 29, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  11. Cindy

    I'm disappointed too, but it can't be helped. Despite the Republican's juvinile tactics, Obama is their President too.

    September 29, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  12. bawana

    me too,,,the dems need to support obama on this now

    September 29, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  13. Amanda

    65% of Americans support the public option. Why are democrats always, always shooting themselves in the foot ? We need the public option, this is the only reform worthwhile, the rest is pure distraction.

    September 29, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. Jon-In-CA

    Hey Rockefeller .... how do the wheels of the Obama-bus taste??

    You are the expendable tool. Obama gets you to do the dirty work to push for a "Public Option".... and when public opinion turns – YOU'RE left holding the bag.


    September 29, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  15. Enough

    This is a victory for the American Citizens. More than 50% of Americans were against of the Public Option, it would have been a disaster for our health care. Time for our elected officials to get serious about health care and work on reforming the insurance industry, making health care affordable and available for all who want it, to purchase it. Allow insurance companies to go across state lines and work on reducing malpractice lawsuits that have no merit. Government needs to stay out of the health care business.

    September 29, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  16. Fed Up

    We the MAJORITY of Americans are happy with the failure of the public option. It is NOT the reform we want. Get serious and fix the system, not screw it up more. Every Legal citizen needs the right to buy an affordable health care plan, but they don't have the right for FREE tax payer provided health care. It is NOT up to the government to take care of YOU!

    September 29, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    I'm more than a little bit disappointed with President Obama's lack of leadership on pushing the public option. I think our President is a decent, hardworking man – who's having a hard time coming to grips with just how dishonest, manipulative and downright wrong his Republican opponents are.

    It's always hard to fathom something that you in a never years would dream of doing. In this case, Obama is having a hard time with the fact that the Republicans care about regaining power more than anything – and that they don’t care if they take down our country in the process.

    President Obama needs to remember one of his rallying cries from the campaign: Fired up and Ready to Go!

    That's what the American people are in regard to health care reform: Fired up and ready for you to lead us, Mr. President! We will follow you!

    We want health care reform with a public option NOW!

    September 29, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  18. annie against biased news

    Too bad – the rest of us are disappointed that any of these idiots are pushing for government rationed health care or are forced to purchase health care if we chose not to have it.

    September 29, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  19. Ted:Canada

    public option gone!

    I Guess on behalf of thousands of Canadian and international companies I could thank you for making sure that most of your companies can't compete with our factories – with rising health care costs for your employers and the high US dollar many Amercians will be out of fact this month alone we exapnded our consumer spending while yours declined – plus our jobs are on the rise – yours are struggling to hold on!!!

    check out the expansion of the auto industry Canada in the last two monthsa

    you have nobody to blame but usual

    To the million of Americans who will be denied helath care when they need it the most our heart goes out do you – the very best to you.

    September 29, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  20. Amazing

    Gotta give Obama credit for knowing Public Option didn't stand a chance and backing away from a losing venture. Now if he would only get a clue on the economy and unemployment!

    September 29, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. Larry

    You are not the only one that is disappointed that there is no public option Mr Rockefeller

    There are a lot of deserving Americans that feel the same way

    Amazing how Senators and Congressman feel that their own publicly funded health insurance is good enough for themselves, but apparently feel that they are somehow better than we regular Americans

    Simply Amazing ... the selfishness of it all

    September 29, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  22. Obozo the Great

    Obozo is a weanie – lucky for us.

    September 29, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  23. Lisa

    Dear Senator Reid and Pelosi, please shove this healthcare plan with the public down the republicans throats. We have suffered for 8 years behind a lying, conniving, backstabbing losers. The republicans are just like enron...stealing money from the people. They stole people for the war in Iraq that was based on a lie. It's time to shove the public option through Obama promised us!!

    September 29, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  24. annie s

    This is the single biggest disappointment I have with the President, who overall is doing an excellent job. He needed to take control of this argument from day one, and he needed to insist on a public option – it was part of his campaign objectives and the main reason he got my vote. This is a very sad day, because it looks like the private insurers have won. To all the coward Democrats and lying Republicans who caused this, I hope to hell your constituents kick you to the curb when their premiums continue to skyrocket and when their health care continues to be rationed and denied by the greedy insurers. What came out of the Senate today is NOT reform. It's a gift to the insurance lobby.

    September 29, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  25. CNN =

    Obama doesn't push hard for anything. He outsources everything and stands on the sidelines and votes "present" so he can fool his Democrat follower fools that he didn't have anything to do with it. He is not a leader, he is following what the leaders of the House and Senate tell him.

    September 29, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
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