Obama Promises Clarity on Health Care
By Garance Franke-Ruta
Not content to leave the pre-spinning of his health-care speech tonight to aides, President Obama appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday morning to set up some expectations for the evening's remarks.
In the interview, taped Tuesday night, Obama said he intends to offer "a lot of clarity about what I think is the best way to move forward" and "a much more detailed plan" than the "core principles that I've already laid out previously."
But he also raised the specter of GOP opposition regardless of what he lays out. "I think there are some in the Republican Party who made a strategic decision that we can duplicate what happened in 1993, '94," Obama said, referring to how Republicans won back Congress after helping thwart President Clinton's health-care reform efforts. "I think that folks are dusting off that old playbook."
"There is still just this unyielding partisanship," he said. "In some ways, I think it's gotten worse" since taking office.
Obama said there were lines in the sand -- "principles that, if they're not embodied in the bill, I will not sign it" -- but declined to say when pressed that a public option was one of them. "If it's adding one dime to the deficit, if it's not fully paid for, then I will not be supportive," he said.
And the president once again blasted critics for filling up "the airwaves with a lot of nonsense -- everything from ... death panels to false notions that this was designed to provide health insurance to illegal immigrants." But he also acknowledged that he had "probably left too much ambiguity out there" about what a plan should contain.
"None of the bills that worked their way through Congress ever envisioned" the notion "of a government takeover of health care," he said.
The Republican National Committee this morning blasted out a pre-buttal of the remarks, noting that tonight will represent Obama's 28th event on health care since Feb. 4.
"The only things new about Obama's speech pushing government-run health care are the date and venue," the RNC said in a statement.
Posted at 11:48 AM ET on Sep 9, 2009
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