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Obama and McCain duel over health care in radio addresses

By Scott Wilson
President Obama and his rival for the presidency last year, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), squared off over health care Saturday in partisan weekly radio addresses with a potential Senate vote on the bill just days away.

Obama highlighted the legislation's consumer protections, designed to prevent insurance companies from dropping sick patients or denying coverage to those with existing ailments. He cited the so-called Patient's Bill of Rights that last failed in Congress roughly a decade ago, despite having support from some prominent Democrats and Republicans, including McCain.

"It fell victim - again and again - to the same special interest lobbying that has blocked passage of health insurance reform for so many decades," Obama said. "But today, we are being given another chance to make it a reality."

Delivering the Republican radio address, McCain criticized the Senate bill for raising taxes to pay for the roughly $1 trillion program, which would extend health insurance to some 30 million Americans, and for failing in his view to cut long-term health care costs.

The bill would tax high-end insurance plans that some policy experts say now encourage people to overuse the fee-for-service system.

McCain also said Congress's Democratic leadership has not included Republican lawmakers in the process to a sufficient degree. He said "never in my experience has one party attempted to increase the government's influence in one-sixth of the American economy over the nearly unanimous opposition of the other party."

"The hour is late, but there's still time to stop Congress from making this terrible mistake," McCain said, urging listeners to call their Senators and Representatives.

Obama called on Republican senators, who are considering a number of ways to delay final consideration of the legislation, to allow a vote. Some of the uncertainty, though, is the result of dissension within his own party as Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) works to secure the 60 votes needed to avert a filibuster.

Obama said, "for the first time there is a clear majority in the Senate that's willing to stand up to the insurance lobby and embrace lasting health insurance reforms that have eluded us for generations."

"The question is whether the minority that opposes these reforms will continue to use parliamentary maneuvers to try and stop the Senate from voting on them," he said. "Whatever their position on health insurance reform, Senators ought to allow an up or down vote. Let's bring this long and vigorous debate to an end."

By Scott Wilson  |  December 19, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Barack Obama , John McCain  
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Next: Axelrod defends merits of Senate health bill


This only reinforces why I voted against McCain in the election. He has been using my taxes to pay for his health care for all of his adult life. He has no idea of what is going on in the real world. Just one example of why there should be an age limit that Congressmen should step aside.

Posted by: racam | December 21, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Obama is a jerk-off !

Posted by: dashriprock | December 20, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

McCain's position, (and his party's) is, if the minority refuses to support a Democratic bill, no matter HOW big the Democratic majority, no matter how big the majority of Americans is that support it, then because the minority doesn't want the hill, it can't be passed.

How you square that with "Majority Rules" is beyond me, but forty republicans in the Senate believe it to be true.

When they lose a net twelve seats next election 28 Republicans in the Senate will still believe it to be true that if republicans don't want a democratic bill it can't become law.

"You lost, get over it." apparently only works one way.

Posted by: ceflynline | December 19, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse


What good is health care reform when unconstitutionally targeted Americans are silently tortured with secret microwave/laser weaponry?


• Regional Homeland Security- administered fusion centers use a nationwide microwave/laser radiation "directed energy" weapons system employing cell towers and satellites to silently torture, impair, subjugate unconstitutionally "targeted" Americans and their families -- an American genocide hiding in plain sight.
OR (if links are corrupted / disabled): RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 19, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

I wish McCain would just give up and retire.

He cannot remember what day it is. He Lost..thank goodness he is not POTUS with Palin a heartbeat away.

We are fortunate to have President Obama and his lovely family in the White House.

Posted by: BarbarainPalmSprings | December 19, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

I wish McCain would just give up and retire.

He cannot remember what day it is. He Lost..thank goodness he is not POTUS with Palin a heartbeat away.

We are fortunate to have President Obama and his lovely family in the White House.

Posted by: BarbarainPalmSprings | December 19, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Let me start by saying I never thought I"d see the day That The Washington Post would print what I read written by this Chase guy the other day it really made me sick ;what has happened has the post switched places with The Washington Times?

Posted by: denhobbs | December 19, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

In 2008, the "Obama for America Campaign" collected contributions totaling more than $654 MIL. Out of that total, insurers donated @ $2MIL. For those who make the argument that obama is "bought by the insurance industry"; the argument seems misguided. Insurers donated less than three-tenths of one percent of Obama's campaign take. In fact, the Obama campaign collected more money from "unemployed Americans" than he did from insurance company employees OR Wall street employees.

Posted by: TruthHurts2 | December 19, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

You people are be had...AGAIN.

Good cop-Bad cop. Don't think McCain is not in support of 30 million new MANDATED customers for his $2 million owner.

All of these guys, Obama included are own by BIG business(insurance, pharma, health). Just look at who contributes to these guys.

The Insurance industry over the past 3 years gave:

McCain $2+ million
McCain $2+ million (presidential campaign)
Obama $2 million (presidential campaign)
Hillary Clinton $1.1 million (presidential campaign)
Chris Dodd $1 million
Baucus $450,000.00
McConnell $450,000.00
Lieberman $4000,000.00
Nelson $360,000 ......

The list goes on and on. These people are not working for the average Amercain, they are bought and paid for by BIG BUSINESS.

Posted by: OneFreeMan | December 19, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

McCain has no credibility. He grandstands in the Senate bemoaning procedures that he has used in the past. I am so thankful that the msm has begun to engage in investigative reporting again. I want to know about the CSPAN blackout of a McCain tactic some years ago that McCain stated had never been done in the Senate before. Indeed, McCain did it. The guy has no conscience. We know from the campaign that he does not remember from one day to the next what he says.

As a former military member, I resent the continued use of McCain's service and sacrifice as an excuse for his behavior. McCain has benefitted way too much from his POW days. The same Republican Party that lifts up McCain tried to tear down John Kerry's war hero status. Anyone who served in Vietnam, regardless of how long, did more than either Bush or Cheney. Speaking of Cheney, . . . well I have decided to be nice and not say anything.

Posted by: EarlC | December 19, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

First off John McCain was beat by the stupidity of those of you who voted for a man who has no credintials except voting "present" 130 times he hasn't shown his birth certificate and he apoligizes to the people who hate this country. The Unite States of America doesn't owe anyone an apology. If this health care bill is so good how come the congress has opted out of it? YOu people need to stop and think. you following a guy that will have an asterisk by his name who has not even run a lemonade stand. I'm a life long Democrat and a 26 year veteran and the Democrats have not been thd party of the working class for along time and I am highly disappointed in them. None of you can name one time the government has gotten involved in anything that has made a profit. So before you start spouting political BS do some homework.

Posted by: paulydel | December 19, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

John McCain is a sore loser. Since he can and will never be the president of the United States, he will not provide any iota of support to whoever occupies that office - unless it is self serving of course. Remember when he lost to GW in GOP primaries a decade ago, he was the opponent of that illegal administration - until he saw that he could be opportunistic in winning GW's support as GOP's flagbearer in 2008.

He has no principle. He is a fake. All those years he claimed to be a maverick, he was not one. But the deceit has now come to fore. OK, when was the last time anybody refers to him as a maverick? He never cared for the American people. He changes with the moment. In 2000, he almost hoowinked the progressives into thinking he was the best thing since Teddy Rooselvelt in the Republican Party. But then by 2007 and 2008, he started to parley with those same ultra conservatives he once called "agents of intolerance" in order to get their support for GOP nomination. He sure did. But the country was not ready for his kind of politics in 2008 and they voted for his rival in Barack Obama. Moreso, when any sane person could not fathom his decisions on Sarah Palin as a running mate and others.

The only thing John McCain cares for is his selfish and inordinate ambition to be the president of the United States. Like his Arizona counterpart, Barry Goldwater, he is likely going to end up in retirement disillusioned!

Posted by: midas20874 | December 19, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

orionexpress spewed:
"Hey all of you putrid, greedy, thieving, lying Repiglicans , I have some Cheese to go with your whine."

Probably cheese from a government handout.

Posted by: Billw3 | December 19, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

laSerenissima2003 spewed:
"John McCain has no business, no business whatsoever, speaking out against a bill to provide healthcare to Americans. McCain has had his healthcare on the taxpayer's dime for his entire adult life!"

McCain has paid to America with sacrifice and risk of his life that you likely will never understand. You should have to pay equally, then you wouldn't be blowing off at the mouth.

Posted by: Billw3 | December 19, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey all of you putrid, greedy, thieving, lying Repiglicans , I have some Cheese to go with your whine.

Posted by: orionexpress | December 19, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey all of you putrid, greedy, thieving, lying Repiglicans , I have some Cheese to go with your whine.

Posted by: orionexpress | December 19, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I don't blame McCain for wanting to put this problem off a bit longer. Congress has only been debating this issue for fifty years, or more, so why get serious about it now? Besides that, Senator McCain already has a pretty good insurance plan.

Posted by: twgloege | December 19, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Obama and McCain are on the same team...This is the biggest scam being pulled on the American people since The Pipeline in Afghanistan War. The insurance companies will be handed an additional 30 million new customers to make Billions $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

We have the best government money can buy.


Posted by: OneFreeMan | December 19, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats in Congress spent the majority of 2009 trying to get Republican agreement to bipartisal health insurance reform. The Republicans bogged down the process for months and extracted concession after concession, only in the end -- as appears likely -- to unanimously vote against the resulting weakened and compromised "reform" bill anyway!

The fact is, that in the contemporary polarized American political situation, the GOP aim has always been to deny Pres. Obama and his party any possible victory. That being the case, Senator Max Baucus's insane courtship of Republican senators was always a waste of time, something that unquestionably did more harm than good.

But it's so sad now to see Republican senators so committed to Big Lie tactics -- from that world-class hypocrite St. John McCain of Scottsdale on down -- as to argue that they were "shut out" of negotiations!

Posted by: PrussianBlue1 | December 19, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

jgisler (10:57am) asks: Which party provided the leadership for ...Civil Rights?

well, jbo - it was the republican party! starting with abe lincoln going all the way up to the voting rights act, which was fillibustered by al gore's dad, and long time senate majority leader and democrat grand stateseman (and KKK grand dragon) byrd of WV. yep.
Posted by: jgisler | December 19, 2009 10:57 AM

Posted by: regentrifydc | December 19, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

been reading alot regarding this health care issue and found this Great site that covers daily stories about Pres. Obama , his admin,the health care of course and many others...

Posted by: obwatch | December 19, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Wealth breeds travel or so I am told. Would I fly with Commodore Crash-n-Burn, not hardly. Maybe Massa McCain has a fear that this Health Care Reform will fail ? Although, there is comfort in the familiar. The status quo feels secure especially when it comes to future campaign contributions, I wonder. Gosh, my wrists feel sore typing even with advanced ergonomics, hmmmm, could it be.... Oh never mind, that would be superstitious behavior. Long Live the King, God save the King, yadda, yadda, yadda...

Posted by: truthhurts | December 19, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

McCain yelped big time last night, prissy faced holler, about a senator who objected to Lieberman's talking well over his time limit. "Never heard of such a thing", he
intoned piously. "Has never happenedin the Senat in all my years here."

Bad enough that we found he'd done the same thing ssome years earlier. BUT it also turns out the tape of that minute of objecting, now in storage, is erased. BUT
the transcript shows it clearly.

WHO CARES if some loud mouth yacking senator yacks on...but the erasing of tapes and the pure, ugly hypocracy is
pure McCain. The character of a slug.

Posted by: whistling | December 19, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I read some comments on this posts and noticed that so many commentators don't know about the essence this Healcare reform bill. Just know this; this bill is to protect general American people from unregulated health insurance compaies, control spiralling healthcare costs and employers to be finacially competitive to other countries industry. It is like medicare to give peace of mind to retirees from old ages.

Posted by: jwkim1 | December 19, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

One of the many things I love about Obama is that he has a way of making the racists surface and showing their true COLORS.They deny their comments and pet names for the President as patriotic and in defense of liberty. PHONIES! They are as racist as their mentors Rush and Glenn and Jim Crow and on and on.You can no longer hide and no matter how hard you try or what you do "The times they have changed". Don't stand in the in the doorway don't block up the hall.Get out of the way...THE COLOR BLIND HAVE TAKEN OVER!

Posted by: misewicz | December 19, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Republicans have learned nothing from their electoral losses. As the Tea Baggers drive more and more moderates away, I too am looking forward to 2010 and even more so to 2012.

The dwindling ranks of Republican voters have become purely reactionary, as if nostalgia could save them. You wingers just keep chanting no taxes for the rich, no taxes for the rich, no taxes for the rich as you disappear over the political horizon.

The great majority of Americans are working hard to build a country with a sustainable economic future. Universal Health Care is a crucial element of that future. Healthy kids, healthy workers, healthy elders, what are you saying, we can't afford that?

Republicans better get a clue, they are becoming irrelevant.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 19, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Healthcare reform? The first step will happen. Get over it. After that, other steps will follow until it's good for all Americans, even for today's critics.

Which party provided the leadership for Social Security? Medicare? Medicaid? Minimum wage? Child labor laws? Pension protection? Civil Rights?

Healthcare reform is the next big one.

Posted by: jgisler | December 19, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

laSerenissima2003 - perhaps you should engage your brain before you type.

John McCain was a dependent of an active duty military officer, and as such, his EMPLOYER (the US government) included dependent care as part of its benefits package. Then he was on active duty in the military, and again, healthcare for active duty personnel is part of the benefits package. Now he is a US Sentator, and again, healthcare is part of an EMPLOYER benefits package. I would also remind you that John McCain is a prisoner of war for a number of years. If ANYONE has earned free healthcare for life, it is people like him. But, in any event, he received the healthcare as part of an agreed upon employer benefits package. If you do not like that package, tell your elected officials to chagne the law, do not begrudge him for it. Or - you can try to join the military and EARN the package yourself.

Opinions are like anatomical parts - everyone has one...unfortunately, many do not use them wisely.

Posted by: usna1974 | December 19, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

laSerenissima2003 said "John McCain has no business, no business whatsoever, speaking out against a bill to provide healthcare to Americans. McCain has had his healthcare on the taxpayer's dime for his entire adult life!"

I guess you are refering to the 20+ years he served his country, was shot down in his plane and almost killed, and lost most of the use of his one hand and leg. I think he deserves health care paid on "my" dime! What has Obama served? Two years as a senator in a low income area of Chicago? What else? Nothing!

Based on you sign on name I sure I can guess what you stand for and your agenda is for America!

Posted by: Peacekeeper0725 | December 19, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Okay, McCain - then you lead the charge to level the playing field between Congress and the American taxpayer.

Do away with the 75% subsidy that we, the taxpayers, pay for YOUR health insurance as a member of Congress. Pay your own way, as we have to do.

Old enough for Medicare? Then do so. Too young? Hunt for and pay for your own health insurance. Have a pre-existing condition? Tough - no insurance or out-of-sight premiums.

Posted by: Utahreb | December 19, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

If voters had known on election day what they know now, Professor Oboobma would be back in Chi-town teaching night school and palling around with washed-up terrorists, we'd have a hero in the White House we could be proud of, and our country would not be on the road to tyranny and financial ruin.

Posted by: thebump | December 19, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

No one knows what is in this Bill that is being forced down our throats! What is the hurry?? Senators, are being strong armed and are listening to the "party" over the people. Senators, you work for us and even Acorn votes won't save your seats!! Real Change is coming in 2010! No Incumbents!

Posted by: CayC | December 19, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

It is the bad reform. It is supposed to enrich health insurance companies and to multiply the number of parasites on American health care. That is why all polls show that much less than 50% of American citizens approve this reform. And there is the obvious bipartisan effort to stop this reform. Liberal under Dean and republicans under McCain seem to be united on it. The very rare unity one might say. But the reform is, certainly, wrong for American statehood, and USA citizens, and that is the cause of such unity.

Posted by: aepelbaum | December 19, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

John McCain has no business, no business whatsoever, speaking out against a bill to provide healthcare to Americans. McCain has had his healthcare on the taxpayer's dime for his entire adult life!

Posted by: laSerenissima2003 | December 19, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

BHO is so predictable. Any time he speaks on healthcare reform, it's as if someone pulls a string and you hear the same missive, over and over -- "special interests, insurance lobby, blah, blah, blah." I may not be as brilliant as our accomplishment-laden President, but I doubt he sees the contradiction in his own statements/actions -- there are plenty of special interests and lobbying groups who want healthcare reform...GovCo style. Let's see...AARP, SEIU, AFL-CIO, People for the American Way, NARAL (or whatever their new, PC brand is)...quite a rogues gallery. But, no...don't assume they are pushing their's just the other guys. Wake up folks.

Posted by: boomer131 | December 19, 2009 6:41 AM | Report abuse

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