July 24th, 2010
02:57 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama, Pelosi urge progressive activists to keep working

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/24/art.pelosi.netroots.jpg caption="Nancy Pelosi spoke at Netroots Nation on Saturday."]Las Vegas (CNN) - President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday thanked progressive activists for their help in pushing through some of the Democrats' policy initiatives, but acknowledged more work needs to be done.

In a videotaped message played at the Netroots Nation conference, President Obama said some progress has been made to help the American economy, but "change has not come fast enough for too many Americans. I know that. It hasn't come fast enough for me either. I know it hasn't come fast enough for many of you who fought so hard during the election."

But he asked some of those who were his most loyal supporters during the 2008 election to take a moment and consider his administration's accomplishments. To help do that, the video included snippets of news broadcasts which reported on such developments as the passing of the stimulus bill and the health care overhaul, a new arms treaty with Russia, a new hate crimes prevention act and reforms in the student loan system.

"In ways large and small we have begun to deliver on the change you fought so hard for, and we are not done," the President said, citing commitments to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, end the ‘don't ask, don't tell’ military policy and the commitment to stop combat mission in Iraq by the end of August.

Some of the thousands of the activists who gathered at this four-day convention are disappointed the administration has not made more progress on some of the activists’ key priorities, such as a public option provision in the health care bill or an attempt to break up the nation's biggest banks.

"The people at this conference, including myself, spent most of our days in 2008 waking up everyday and thinking, what can I do to elect Barack Obama as President. And we want him to succeed as President. But we want him to succeed passing the progressive agenda he campaigned on. He said he would stand up to big powerful interests for little guys. And unfortunately, he has shown a real refusal to fight on issue after issue. He chose to cut deals with insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, as well as Wall Street, as opposed to really taking them on in a big profound way," Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told CNN earlier in the week.

To try to quell some of that type of frustration, Obama told the gathering "we are not done" and said "What I am asking you is to keep making your voices heard, to keep holding me accountable, to keep up the fight."

For her part Pelosi, who received a standing ovation, credited those attending the convention with helping to build enough support to get the health care reform bill through Congress.

"We could not have opened the door without you," she said.

Asked about a bill to end discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation, Pelosi said it is a priority and hopes it and the ‘don't ask, don't tell’ reforms are passed this year.

"Let us get the drum beat going," she urged the activists. "Your impatience is justified. Let us make it productive."

Acknowledging the economy will be a key issue in this year's midterm elections, Pelosi singled out the obstructionist tactics of Senate Republicans as the reason the Democratically controlled Congress has not done more to pass jobs legislation. Just this week Congress voted to extend unemployment insurance, but provisions for creating summer jobs and others were dropped after Republicans opposed them because they would run up the deficit.

"We are making progress," she said "More needs to be done."

In light of the Senate deciding to take up a scaled-down energy bill that does not try to curb greenhouse gas emissions, Pelosi said action on the issue must be a priority.

Last year the House approved such a measure, and if the Senate fails to act, House Democrats will be left politically exposed and open to criticism with no legislative victory to show for their efforts.

"We must act upon this...time is running out," she said. "This is not an issue the Senate can walk away from."

For the coming midterm election, she asked the assembled activists for their help and to think about the risks if Republicans do re-take control on Congress. "One hundred days from tomorrow will be the election," she said. "On that day we want to have no regrets."

Filed under: 2010 • Nancy Pelosi • Netroots Nation • President Obama
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Charlie in Maine

    Yes sir you can count on me. By the way, If Tennesee and Texas suceed from the union maybe we should reconsider that fence idea.

    Remember just because Lincoln is your hero that doesn't mean you have to do everything he would (let them go)

    July 24, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. one voice

    We also need our Independent (I) Brothers and Sisters to support the only party that has momentum and the know how to bring OUR great Country back from the FAILED POLICIES of the GOP. LETS STAND TOGETHER.

    July 24, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  3. ib

    I agree but the work that needs to be done is to change the make-up of the house so that this woman has to ride her broom off in the sunset. Oh what a Nov. it would be if Pelosi was to lose the speaker post.

    July 24, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. NancyLV

    yeah lets get them there people who believe in the constitution to forget about it that's old news and get this progression movin away from all that stuff lets take away their freedoms ie healthcare give them what they really want, what the governement wants yeah, yeah that's the ticket that is what we will do.

    NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! there are those of us who will never forget the constitution and our founding fathers.

    July 24, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. Robert

    You refer to liberals as "progressives." Why is that? Or are they different? If they are different, then what is the difference?

    July 24, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. David

    This so called "progressive" activism is so much not anymore about progress but about agendas that are out of fashion, distortions and other politically correct nonsense: they need poor and suffering people to advance what they want, and thus will make sure there are poor and suffering people around! The rest is nonsense.

    July 24, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. Moke

    Instead of being mad at the president, we should be mad at the GOP. They are the ones making is difficult for this president. We need to give this president credit for what has be accomplished so far. Now is not the time to abandon him, because we will go backwards again. Change in people is not easy to come by, especially in the face of stiff opposition and special interests money. Let us not forget where we were when he took office. We cannot not afford to continue to fall behind in this global environment. It is not the same playing field anymore and the old idealogies does not work. If we do not band together to further the progressive agenda and what have accomplished so far, the world will pass us by. We will go definately go backwards.

    July 24, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. But Obama, where are the jobs?

    We know that all you care about is your SOCIALIST agenda, but we need jobs, and you are doing NOTHING about it.

    July 24, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  9. hypocricnnation

    Don't You Just Love Society Today, The "I Want My Cake And Eat It Too!" Crowd. The Media And Its "All's Fair In Love And War!" Disingenuous Antics! That Coupled With Politicians "The Truth Is What I Say It Is, And Not What You Think It Is!"

    July 24, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. Discernment

    TRANSLATION: Please Progressives, , , don't leave us before November 2010 midterm elections.

    July 24, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. Liberals are poison

    Net-Kook Convention headlines Nancy Pigloser. Fire up the crowd, get those 20% of the country that are liberals to go to the polls. It still won't be enough to stop the tsunami of Republicans and Independants that will flock to the polls and throw your loser butts into the streets. Pitchforks will await you at every corner, in every city, and in every town. You can stand in line with the rest of the welfare slugs
    waiting for your reparation check.

    July 24, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. Bill

    Is it just me, or has CNN dropped the word 'Liberal' in favor of 'Progressive' seemingly overnight?

    July 24, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. Jane

    Yep keep being activists and you will definately get all democrats voted out of office.

    July 24, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. jim germann

    cnn- didnt you see, where the democrats in tennessee are having a little spat. Mayor willie herenton is race baiting the public, in the democratic primary. Couldnt find the story,huh? doesnt fit into cnn's mantra, all race bait, all the time. So,we have 2 democrats, one is black,and one is white, and the race card is still used. I bet cnn wont put this in there ticker, on political "trending." Wanna bet? The overwhelming majority of all americans don't care what race,or ethnicity another person is. The enormous majority of americans aint buying,what your selling. You dont even realize how much, you are hurting your guy, Mr.Obama. People are appalled at the racial politics,and dont think feigning racism is american.

    July 24, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. Fed Up

    Yeap, just keep pushing it through Nancy. Hopefully, you will be just a rank and file member of the House in November.

    July 24, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  16. thor

    This is so disappointing.I can't believe how two people could want more to destroy our country than Obama and Pelosi.Throughout their careers noone has spunged more off the backs of taxpayers as much as these two individuals.Jetting across our country in order to promote their socialist vision of what America ought to be.Please wake up,voters and toss these two out of office before it's too late !!!

    July 24, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |

    What happened to amnesty? I guess that's dead in the water, too. Hate
    crimes bill? The last thing we needed is more Thought Police telling
    us what to say, think, read, etc. The Shirley Sherrod fiasco is a prime
    example of over-governing. So Barrack's against greenhouse gases?
    I'll remember this the next time he sends a government jet to fetch the
    family dog, lol. That's right, Nancy. Keep blaming the GOP for your
    unkept promises. In just 100 days we'll remember how you called old
    people un-American for criticizing your healtcare scheme. How you
    said, "we'll vote for the healthcare bill and then we'll see what's in it."
    I thought only dictators did stuff like that. We'll remember how you
    called the tea parties Nazis.

    Why is it that Democrats always want to blame the messenger when
    they hate the message? Demonize the Minuteman, demonize Sarah
    Palin, demonize the tea parties. When I joined the Reform Party in
    '93 I got demonized and trashed. Got called a Nazi back then. Guess
    who did this to us the most?...yep, the Donkey Party.

    July 24, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. Chipster

    You'd never know it from the media reports but the President has kept many of his promises, including his Open Government Initiative. Despite what his detractors claim, this Administration has made more information accessible to the public, including WH visitor records. National security interests may inhibit with efforts at openness in sensitive areas but this Administration has received high marks from several organizations that have pressed for more transparency.

    July 24, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |