January 20th, 2010
02:53 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama: Democrats will not 'jam' through health care reform

President Obama promised Wednesday that Democrats will not 'jam' a health care bill through Congress and will wait until Republican Scott Brown takes his seat in the Senate before moving ahead.

President Obama promised Wednesday that Democrats will not 'jam' a health care bill through Congress and will wait until Republican Scott Brown takes his seat in the Senate before moving ahead.

Washington (CNN) - President Obama promised Wednesday that Democrats will not "jam" a health care bill through Congress and will wait until Republican Scott Brown takes his seat in the Senate before moving ahead.

"Here's one thing I know and I just want to make sure that this is off the table: The Senate certainly shouldn't try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated," the president told ABC News. "The people in Massachusetts spoke. He's got to be part of that process."

Obama said the tide that swept Brown into office Tuesday reflected a broader discontent in the country about the troubled economy, but he said comprehensive health care reform should not be defeated as a result.

"Here's my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts, but the mood around the country: the same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office," Obama said. "People are angry and they are frustrated. Not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years, but what's happened over the last eight years."

In a candid assessment of his political standing one year after his inauguration, the president admitted that the White House needs to do "a better job" of connecting with the American people in its second year. According to a new CNN Poll of Polls released Wednesday, 51 percent of Americans approve of Obama's performance as president, while 42 percent say they disapprove of the job he's doing.

"If there's one thing that I regret this year, it is that we were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are and why we have to make sure those institutions are matching up with those values," Obama said.

The president also said he needs to do a better job explaining the rationale behind some of the policy decisions being made in Washington. Not communicating his reasoning behind those decisions, he said, was "a mistake."

"I think, you know, what [the American people] ended up seeing is this feeling of remoteness and detachment where there's these technocrats up here making decisions," he said. "Maybe some of them are good, maybe some of them aren't, but do they really get us and what we're going through?"

On the topic of health care, the president said "it is very important to look at the substance of this package and for the American people to understand that a lot of the fear mongering around this bill isn't true."

He said he believes Democrats and Republican can agree on certain elements in health care reform legislation, specifically lowering insurance costs.

"I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on," the president said.

Filed under: Health care • Massachusetts • President Obama • Scott Brown
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. sonny chapman

    The guy can take a punch.

    January 20, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. Julia - Native American from Idaho

    Okay Pres, it's time to get tought, you have been a nice guy, but a reality check is due. Tryin' to get the right wing conservative nuts to respect you is not going to happen. These guys are bigots from birth, and nothing will change them. Please do what is right and use reconcillation to pass a real health care , Public Option, for all the People that voted for you.

    January 20, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. yeah

    thats obama's biggest problem and thats why is is failing as prez. he SHOULD "jam" through healthcare, him pelosi and reid should have remmed universal healthcare straight down the GOP's throat, because thats how you get things done in washington and thats what gop has done to dems a thousand time, this holyer than thou attitude of obama's doenst work, he thinks people will vote for dems if they turn the other cheek, sorry obama, thats not the way of the world, the strong survive and the weak perish. and the dems are weak, thats why they cant hold on to power, never could and never will

    January 20, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. Eric Tedford - chittenango, NY

    Obama promised?!? Since when does that matter to Him? What's one more promise broken?

    January 20, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. REG in AZ

    The Mass. voters, while hoping to prompt some positive action, actually sent mixed messages: one being, that they are really dissatisfied with the Democrats current focus on their own priorities; and two, that they encourage the Republicans to continue obnoxiously faulting and irresponsibly blocking/obstructing everything. What that could accomplish simply remains to be seen. The Republicans have clearly shown that they are stubbornly and totally unified with their concentration being totally on their own political interests: as they deceptively say anything to appeal to people’s fears, biases and prejudices intending just to manipulate public opinion; as they concentrate on satisfying only Special Interests and the influential, powerful and wealthy few who strongly support them; and as they take the majority for granted offering them only apathy, the costs and an abundance of subterfuge to rationalize. We already know where that takes us as we are literally there and ‘more of the same’ just isn’t a satisfactory answer. I guess we can just hope one side or the other will change their ways and become honestly and conscientiously truly concerned for the people. Good luck!

    January 20, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. Let's be Hasty

    Well, looks like the great and mighty Obamanation realized that his lack of transparency and rushing everything into a emergency that must be fixed 'right now' as well as the incredibly one-sided politics that his party has done may be comming back to haunt him. Where is the promise of Change?

    January 20, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. d1120

    Obama – only 3 more years....enjoy it.

    January 20, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    And Obama fumbles the ball on the goal line.

    Score one for the Nutsi party as the right-wing extremist fundamentalists get what they think they want: a continuation the old system of health care they can't afford.

    January 20, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. Still Supporting President Obama

    It wouldn't bother me if the Dems did jam healthcare through. Just as the Bush administration jammed Iraq down our throats. I'm so tired of the Dems not standing up to these thugs and doing what they were put there to do–SERVE THE PEOPLE.

    The Rethugs can win the White House back if they want to–their friends, big business will make sure of it. If the Dems don't take advantage of this opportunity, someone else will.

    I still say President Obama is doing a yeomans job, and I support him 100%. He is just beginning and the world will find out exactly what most thinking Americans see in him–he's a winner.

    January 20, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  10. Pete

    Let me see if I understand. The people of MA elected a republican to fill the seat vacated by Teddy K. because they were mad at Gearge W Bush.

    This dude is smok'in something!

    January 20, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  11. james Miller

    I`mm hand it to the Repubs., they don`t pull punches. They go for the kill. Demos need to quit playing nice and play by their rules. -- Go for the throat, at least people will respect you. Sometimes that`s better than winning a popularity contest.

    January 20, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  12. Obama 2.0

    You got it! I did not vote for a party when I voted you in. I voted in a prescripted way. The same thing with Brown The GOP was not voted in last night Brown was. No more general/party off the shelf crap. We want prescriptive candidates that will be specific solutions to specific problems.

    January 20, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. Steph

    Once again, President Obama has shown us what it looks like to have an adult in charge. The Democrats could play silly political games like the Republicans have done in the past (and continue to do), but they won't. They honor the people's decision, as stupid as I think that decision was.

    January 20, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. Obama Victim

    in other words....."I am a loser"

    January 20, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. chris

    So NOW we're supposed to believe him??? This a man who continually says what he thinks people want to hear, and then just does what he thinks should be done, with no regard whatsoever for what he previously said.

    January 20, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    I don't care how Obama gets the health care plan through, especially when you consider the utter deceit and foul play the former administration used to get "W" the power to go after whomever his handlers wanted handled.

    This is about helping people stay healthy which benefits everybody, not the unfettered access to the coffers that Halliburton received at the expense of the American people.

    January 20, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. JB - NYC

    So then Oblammo is saying that they will jam it through once he is seated.. I believe the Key words are "Jam It Through"..

    I guess you still aren't listening..
    You will hear us in NOV

    January 20, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. rob

    So President Obam actually blamed Bush for the loss of Kennedy's seat saying the people are angry because of the "Last eight years"?????????? not the last one or two.

    President Obama and the Dems are delusional.

    Nov. can't come fast enough.

    January 20, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  19. John from LA

    Stop blaming BUSH and the last eight years-You're a part of it as well BO-You voted for the TARP and now you've increased troop levels-both of these issues are costing US-the taxpayers-WAY TOO MUCH!!!!!

    January 20, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  20. Erick

    President Obama is right about last eight years under the Bush Adm. who messed up real bad. That is why he has been working so hard to clean up the mess. It makes a lot of sense.

    I want everyone to chant for the late Ted Kennedy's dream to keep its alive until Sen. Scott Brown will be eliminated from the midterm election on November 2010. Don't let late Ted Kennedy's dream to be destroyed.


    January 20, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. Monster Zero

    The quickest decision in President Obama's career to date as Commander in Chief, he'll be waiting a while and it won't be anything he was after!

    January 20, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  22. RichP the Pocono's

    I don't need an elected official to tell me my core values, when you loose your job it's not the time to buy a new house, new car, new TV and all that goes along with it. With the economy in the trash, unemployment over 15% and that number is closer when you count the ones who have run out of benefits and those hundreds of thousands of house framers, plumber, carpenters, sheet rockers, roofers, siding contractors that never had the coverage to begin with it's probably much higher.
    What I am NOT seeing are any attempts to stop the hemorrhaging of jobs overseas, in the past 18 years I have NOT seen any government moves to entice companies to stay here and do business, instead we have seen NAFTA, CAFTA and what other behind the scenes moves that the press either ignored or winked at.
    As far as the difference between republican or democrat, you are all cut from the same mold, like two NFL teams, out to play the game and win some kind of superbowl that does nothing for the fans but get them to waste money on tickets and fan gear.

    January 20, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  23. Jimmy James

    Need to do a better job speaking to the people? You are on TV all the time talking. You travel around the world "talking". How about you actually do something? Yesterday must be the "Change" he promised. It was just delayed a year. Everybody wants helathcare reform. Start with what you agree on and pass it. Then negotiate from there. You will get support of voters and then you can blame the republicans when they don't go along. The government can't solve all of our problems. Stop trying to. Solve things that can be done. You still have the support of Mass residents but they told you what they want. Stop talking and listen to them (us).

    January 20, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  24. Jeff

    Wow, he is talking like a President should, that scares me, what is he up to now!!!!!!

    January 20, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. Kevin in MA

    Obama's point is well taken about "do they really get us and what we're going through?" The Scott Brown victory was about more than health care. The people here in the Commonwealth want a job. They want a fair shot at living a good life. They don't want a hand out, just an even playing field. Over the last 30 years, jobs have been moved off shore and CEOs have given themselves huge salaries. Wall Street is passing out billions in bonuses while leaving the working stiff with nothing. We want to share in what America has to offer. If that means punishing companies that off shore jobs, taxing the snot out of overpaid executives, whatever it takes to give us all a fair shake. Just get it done. The Republican shouldn't take this as an endorsement of their policies or a "return to conservatism" but rather a question to both parts of the elected government, 'can you hear me now'?

    January 20, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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