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Democrats vow to move forward with health reform

By John Amick and T. Rees Shapiro

ABC: THIS WEEK - Axelrod: Brown win was product of slow health care progress

White House senior politcal adviser David Axelrod countered critics that believe Scott Brown's win in the Massachusetts special election for Senate Tuesday was a blow to Democrats' efforts to reform health care by saying that polls show the opposite sentiment.

"I must tell you that, if you look at the polling in the Washington Post yesterday on the Massachusetts race, it's very clear, people don't want us to walk away from health care," Axelrod said. "They want us to address their concerns with the program, and they want Brown to come and work with us and not be obstructionist. That was very clear in the polling."

In asserting that the White House will not walk away from health-care reform, Axelrod said those who believe one Republican victory in Massachusetts means the death of reform are mistaken.

"The bill that the House and the Senate passed ... were patterned in many ways on the Massachusetts health care plan, which is a unique plan in that state," he said. "And 68 percent of the people who voted last week said they liked the Massachusetts plan. Senator Brown said he wouldn't change it."

He went on to insist that any politician that initially supported the bill but is now thinking of changing their view of reform should think twice.

"As a political matter, the foolish thing to do would be for anybody else who supported this to walk away from it, because what's happened is, this thing's been defined by ... insurance industry propaganda, the propaganda of the opponents, and an admittedly messy process leading up to it."

When asked if, following Obama's enthusiastic speech in Ohio Friday, the president ("Barack Obama 2.0, the populist crusader" in ABC's Terry Moran's words) is shifting to a more populist tone after the Massachusetts election, Axelrod vehemently countered, saying the president has not changed his sense of urgency.

"What he said in Ohio on Friday is completely consistent with what he's been saying for two years," Axelrod said. "We have to make this economy work for all Americans and not just for a fortunate few. We've got to make sure that work pays, that people who work hard and meet their responsibilities get ahead, and we have to insist on responsibility from our institutions, whether it's on Wall Street or in Washington."

CNN: STATE OF THE UNION - Axelrod: No regrets, but economy still needs work

In the face of a Republican win in the Massachusetts special Senate election and an increasingly urgent employment climate in America, President Obama's chief political adviser defended the White House strategy to combat a floundering economy by implementing a stimulus package and tackling health-care reform during Obama's first year in office.

"A year ago, I said to the president, 'A year from now, your numbers are going to be much different than they are right now because of the economic forecast that we were hearing,'" White House adviser David Axelrod said. "And we knew that, even as the economy started growing, it would take time for the jobs to follow. That's the nature -- nature of the economy."

Obama's State of the Union speech Wednesday will focus on further job creation, an issue the president understands is of paramount importance right now, Axelrod said.

"In this recession that began at the beginning of 2007, we've lost 7 million jobs," Axelrod said. "Now, the Recovery Act the president passed has created more than -- or saved more than 2 million jobs. But against 7 million ... it is cold comfort to those who still are looking."

Axelrod rejected any notions that the White House should ask for any resignations following the Brown victory in Massachusetts and other electoral and legislative setbacks in recent months. He said he expects the addition of David Plouffe, Obama's top campaign strategist in 2008, as an outside adviser to the White House to help Democrats as the 2010 election nears.

"David is value added, we love him and he has been off writing a book for a year," he said. "We are happy to have his talents back with us on a more regular basis."

An audio message claiming to be from Osama bin Laden was released Sunday in which bin Laden took credit for the failed attempt to blow up an airliner headed for Detroit on Christmas. Axelrod said that the sentiments of the message are hollow and all too familiar, if it was indeed from bin Laden.

"I can't confirm that, nor can we confirm the authenticity of the tape," Axelrod said. "The irony: In the name of Islam, he (bin Laden) has killed more Muslims than people from any other religion. He is a murderer. And we are going to continue to be on the offense against bin Laden, against al Qaeda, to protect the American people."

Axelrod also defended the Obama administration from critics, including senator-elect Scott Brown of Massachusetts, for trying terrorism suspects like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in federal court, which he said has long historical precedence and was formerly praised by Republicans when done by the Bush administration.

"That's why the 20th (9/11) bomber, Zacarias Moussaoui, was tried in a civilian court," Axelrod pointed out, saying detractors were simply playing politics. "The shoe bomber, Richard Reid, was tried in a civilian court. And understand that many of the people who are criticizing this now were celebrating this then. Rudy Giuliani called the Moussaoui conviction a "triumph of American justice."

Menendez: We did all we could in Mass.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, defended the committee's work in the Massachusetts special election that resulted in a Republican takeover of liberal icon Ted Kennedy's former Senate seat.

"Clearly we did everything we could in Massachusetts," Menendez said. "I think the big takeaway from Massachusetts, however, is that in fact there is enormous economic angst in the country, both people who have lost their jobs, have a family member who lost their jobs.... It is something that I expect the president to deal with in the State of the Union speech."

Menendez was less clear on his support of creating a bipartisan commission to assess deficit reduction, a move President Obama has supported. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) sees any such commission as an excuse to raise taxes, despite the presence of Republicans on the commission.

"He (Obama) ought to be putting pressure on the Congress to face these problems, and we ought to do something about it, rather than push it off again to another commission that never seems to work anyway," Hatch said.

On the landmark decision by the Supreme Court Thursday to repeal existing campaign financing restrictions on corporations and labor unions, Menendez called it a "dark day for democracy in our country."

"The last thing we need is big oil, big health insurance companies, big banks being able to spend unlimited amounts of money from their treasury to influence the result of elections," he said.

Hatch believes the decision is a win for free speech in America.

"Do these people have a right to participate in the political process? And the answer is yes," Hatch said. "I think the unions should. I think the corporations should, and the fact of the matter is, there are ways that we can curtail offensive action if we want to."

In response to Menendez's claim that Democrats will "stand with the average citizen" against the Court's decision, Hatch insisted it is Democrats who feast on the largesse of big business.

"The point I've been making is that the big business interests have been Democratic," Hatch said. "The big union interests are all Democratic. In all honesty, they don't have trouble raising money."

Menendez replied, "I don't think the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is Democratic."

FOX NEWS SUNDAY - Gibbs: Progress takes time

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that the economy turned out to be much worse than was first perceived when President Obama came into office, and he had to make unpopular decisions when bailing out banks and car manufacturers in order to stabilize the economy.

Gibbs said the election of Republican Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts was not a clear defeat for Democrats or the administration. "People are angry," Gibbs said.

But progress has steps, Gibbs said, and among the president's moves to promote economic growth was his recent bank plan to recoup invested money for taxpayers, and to ensure investment firms cannot own banks and profit from their control.

Gibbs said the FBI's decision to charge alleged Christmas day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab as a civilian in criminal court was the correct one.

Asked if he thought the 50 minutes of FBI interrogation the suspect endured under FBI custody before being given his Miranda warning was sufficient, Gibbs said yes and that "we got all we could get out him."

CBS: FACE THE NATION - McCain uninspired by counters to Supreme Court decision

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), co-crafter of landmark campaign finance legislation in his career, said he thought not much could be done to counter the Supreme Court's decision Thursday to lift long-held restrictions on corporate donations to political candidates.

"I think that there's going to be, over time, a backlash," McCain said. "Because, when you see the amounts of union and corporate money that's going to go into political campaigns -- but, in the short term, the Supreme Court has spoken. I respect their decision."

McCain said he expected the reversal to happen, and thinks the lack of political experience on the court affected some justices.

"I was not surprised at the Supreme Court decision," he said. "I went over to observe the oral arguments. It was clear that Justice Roberts, Alito and Scalia, by their very skeptical and even sarcastic comments, were very much opposed to BCRA (Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act)."

He added that justices of the past that supported financing limits, despite their usual conservative positions, had experience in politics and knew the ramifications of their decision.

"I would point out that both Justice Rehnquist and Justice O'Connor, who had taken a different position on this issue, both had significant political experience," McCain pointed out. "Justices Roberts, Alito and Scalia have none. But it is what it is."

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) also lamented the decision, hoping that Republicans will work with Democrats to try to restore some of the limits through legislative means. In the meantime, he said "political extortion by big business, big oil, big banks" is on the horizon.

"We're considering a tax on the multimillion dollar bonuses of the executives at banks who receive bailout money," Durbin said. "Those banks can now come and say to senators and congressmen, incidentally we want you to vote against this tax and we're going to be big players in the next election."

Amid the clamor for Democrats to rethink their approach on health-care reform, Durbin said starting over, as McCain suggested Congress should do, would be a severe blow to reform period.

"For those who say, start over, let's start at the beginning, let's do a little bit, let's maybe do nothing, some say, I would just tell them, if we do nothing, the Medicare trust fund will be exhausted in seven years," Durbin said, insisting that Republicans were allowed in the process but never seriously engaged.

Durbin would not speculate on when reform might land on Obama's desk for final passage.

"I think what we have to do is honestly sit down with our membership and decide the best course of action to move forward," he said.

NBC: MEET THE PRESS - White House is confident in Bernanke confirmation

Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett said she was confident Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would be reappointed, despite buzz that Republicans are moving to have him replaced.

Jarrett said Sen. Scott Brown's election does not necessarily mean the health-care reform bill is dead. She said Brown voted for Massachusetts universal health-care and said he would not vote to repeal the state's successful system, and that the bill is built on the framework of the Massachusetts system but that the bill's infrastructure has been "distorted," through Republican rhetoric in the media.

It's "hard to get our message through," Jarrett said.

Jarrett said President Obama understands the American people's frustration with the current course of the country but that significant progress takes more than one year in office.

"We have not delivered yet," Jarrett said, but noted the global view of America has improved since Obama took office because he made a big effort to "establish relationships with leaders around the world."

"I think he's going to be confirmed," minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said about Chairman Bernanke's chances of reappointment to his position. But McConell was adamant that no party's rule is a permanent fixture in the mind of the American.

McConnell said 48 percent of Massachusetts voters picked Brown because of his stance against the health-care bill, which McConnell called a $2.5 trillion mistake.

"This particular bill deserves to be stopped," McConnell said, imploring President Obama to encourage Democrats to start the bill over with more Republican input.

C-SPAN: NEWSMAKERS - Cornyn: Republican Party re-energized

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he would not vote to confirm Chairman Ben Bernanke for another term at the head of the Federal Reserve. Cornyn said the "Federal Reserve would benefit from a fresh start."

Republicans deserve a seat at the table during negotiations on the health-care bill and the American voting public is tired of "behind closed doors" discussions among Democrats leading to "sweetheart deals."

Cornyn said Democrats were caught napping and that's why Sen. Scott Brown was able to secure former Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat in the special election last Tuesday. He said the result has "energized folks in my party and across the country," with the "hope to take their country back."

"What a difference a year makes," Cornyn said referring to the Republican victories in New Jersey, Virginia and now the "Massachusetts Miracle."

Cornyn said the voters' action spoke loudly against the health-care bill and that Democrats should not ignore the American public and "force things we don't like down our throat.

By editors  |  January 24, 2010; 12:33 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Sunday Talkies  
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Posted by: rreiser147 | January 26, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that Obama, instead of presenting specific, detailed bills to congress and the American people comes up with only vague ideas and then sits back to see what happens as congress and the special interests and lobbyists play with it.
What is even worse, he and congress do not really seem to care too much about the content of a bill,but only that it passes and he gets the credit for it.(or they do know the contents of these bills and want them passed fast and in the middle of the night so nobody gets to read them first) How many congressman actually know the details of the bills they are voting on. Tell them to go online and do searches to find out what I and others found out about what they are trying to do to us in the name of "reform"!

Posted by: rreiser147 | January 26, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Obama and the democrats just do not get it! They rushed thru a trillion dollar stimulus bill with a lot of pork that seems to accomplish very little. Then they followed with a horror of a health care "reform" that was a total sellout of the American people. Keep it up and we will vote you all out of office-end of story!

Posted by: rreiser147 | January 26, 2010 12:44 AM | Report abuse



The pervasive surveillance, community watch vigilante terrorism, slander, financial sabotage -- and physical torture and impairment of THOUSANDS of unconstitutionally "targeted" Americans continues. And the Obama administration now is fully aware -- and complicit in Bush-legacy programs of ideologically-driven personal destruction.


See: (Journalism Groups -- Reporting):

• "U.S. Silently Tortures Americans with Cell Tower Microwaves"
• "Gestapo USA: Fed-Funded Vigilante Network Terrorizes America"
• "U.S. Uses CBS News to Cover Up Microwave Cell Tower Torture?" OR: (see "stories" list)

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 25, 2010 3:40 AM | Report abuse

Obama is an empty suit opposed by the American public as well as Republicans and many Democrats in both Houses of Congress. Obama has broken campaign promise after campaign promise, failed to live up to his rhetoric, bowed and scraped internationally, and in general been a huge disappointment to everyone. When is he going to man up to his mistakes and quit blaming President George W Bush for everything wrong with the Obama administration? And when will the Democrats in Congress realize that following Obama’s lead is a sure path to being voted out of office? Maybe after the message from New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts gets repeated to his cronies this fall?

On a lighter note, check out this short video clip. Adolf Hitler plays the part of Barack Obama. A tearful young woman plays the part of Joe Biden.


Posted by: JCM-51 | January 24, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Not even this guy is happy with Obama;

Posted by: 0460 | January 24, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

dear on line editor, The senatirs agree ior disagree in a neasure based on the uncersal urtlity of the matter.National health care is a utility and welfare measure embarcing one and all hence supporting itmust be cinsidered a national need if there is any defects it can be rectified when introduced and by waching it function in action.Every onemust not forget the saying "HEALTH IS WEALTH" because if you have health then one can achieve anything but money alone can not produce gealth this fact must be realised by one and all. dated January25th 2010 Time0443HRS IS AM

Posted by: pillaipmg | January 24, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Yes, if you are a complete idiot, you will believe that Scott Brown and Obama both got elected because they are for the same things.

This really says a lot about the high regard the progressive wing of the Democratic party has for the public's ability to discern political philosophy.

Democrats have decided to go after "those guys" who are ruining our lives. Note to progressive democrats: YOU are "those guys" now.

Posted by: tacheronb | January 24, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Town Hall Attendee Confronts McCain: ‘Why Don’t I Have The Health Insurance You’ve Got!’

Over this past month, it has become a customary sight at town halls across the country to witness angry protesters mouthing right-wing talking points against health reform. But yesterday, in a town hall forum in Phoenix, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was confronted by an attendee who voiced passionate anger in support of health reform:

Why don’t I have the health insurance you’ve got! Because I’m paying for it! And I’m paying for the President of the United States’ health insurance and Congress’ health insurance. Why don’t I have that! I’m your employer! I’m your employer! You work for me, and you’ve got a better health insurance plan than I’ve got!

McCain responded, “You’re exactly right. That’s why I want to make health care insurance available and affordable to you sir.” Watch it:

Federal employees have excellent health care because they are provided an array of affordable choices. Obama is pushing to expand choice for all Americans by creating a national health insurance exchange — modeled on the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program — “where Americans can one-stop shop for a health care plan, compare benefits and prices, and choose the plan that’s best for them, in the same way that Members of Congress and their families can.”

“One of these options,” Obama said, “needs to be a public option. It will give people a broader range of choices and inject competition into the health care market so that we can force waste out of the system and keep the insurance companies honest.” But McCain adamantly opposes the public option.

Last night, McCain told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that America just “is not ready” for quality “government-run health care.”

Posted by: omaarsblade | January 24, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Hatch Admits Hypocrisy: ‘A Lot Of Things Weren’t Paid For’ When Republicans Ran Congress During Bush Years

In 2003, when the Bush administration was already projecting a budget deficit of $475 billion in fiscal year 2004, the Republican-controlled Congress passed a Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit that raised the deficit by $395 billion between 2004 and 2013. Despite enacting a massive, unpaid for entitlement expansion while in power, Republicans have attacked the cost of health care reform sought by President Obama and Democrats in Congress — even though the bill with the best chance of passage would reduce the deficit by $132 billion over 10 years and by $1.3 trillion over 20 years.

On MSNBC today, Andrea Mitchell pressed Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on the hypocrisy of Republicans all of a sudden getting religion “about paying for everything.” Hatch replied that it “wasn’t right” that they didn’t pay for the legislation, but it was understandable because they were “trying to solve a problem for millions of millions of Americans”:

HATCH: Well, in those days, a lot of things weren’t paid for and that wasn’t right. I have to admit that. On the other hand, we were trying to solve a problem for millions of millions of Americans who were unable to get their drugs.

MITCHELL: Well so are the supporters of expanding health care coverage.

HATCH: Yeah, but there’s a difference between trying to help senior citizens, who really can’t afford drugs and doing something that effects every American in the United States of America and many people who don’t belong in the United States of America. And do it in a way that even the, even the actuaries of the current administration admit would be not only costly, but put us into tremendous debt. So there’s a real difference between two.

Hatch said that he wished Republicans “hadn’t done that in the sense of not paying for it,” but he claimed that was because they didn’t have a “fiscal conservative majority in the Senate.” Hatch did admit that Democrats were “at least they’re trying to” pay for their legislation. Watch it:

This isn’t the first time Hatch has admitted the GOP’s politically convenient inconsistency on paying for proposals. In Dec. 2009, Hatch told the AP that “it was standard practice not to pay for things” six years ago. “It certainly added to the deficit, no question,” said Hatch, claiming that the fiscally irresponsible bill had been vindicated because it “has done a lot of good.”

It’s odd for Hatch to defend the prescription drug bill by saying it tried to “solve a problem for millions and millions of Americans” and did “a lot of good” in that direction while rejecting a paid for health care reform bill that will reduce the deficit, extend coverage to 31 million Americans who are currently uninsured, and lower premiums for the overall population by 8.4 percent.

Posted by: omaarsblade | January 24, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

No amount of spin is going to get the public to buy that we got all the information we needed out of the underwear bomber from 50 minutes of questioning before he was Mirandized

Posted by: tacheronb | January 24, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Axelrod. The reason why healthcare reform is receiving so much opposition from the public is because.....

Democrats took TOO LONG to explain it!


Posted by: tacheronb | January 24, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

financing the health reform will not bedifficult if the U.S. can take agreement to stop the new sending of troops to Afghanistan.
It is very difficult to find out to join with the Islam world (and law), but not impossible.
I don´t think there are suicide bomders because of money, they make it because of their law(Islam).

Posted by: Lawrence | January 24, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Health care Cost increase by double double and double...

Posted by: alaaaa | January 24, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Most people in Massachusetts had health care. Certainly, they do not care health care reform. What America needs is Health Care Reform. comprehensive HCR.

Posted by: alaaaa | January 24, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

The Sunday talk show roundup missed the most astonishing quote of the day: It was Dick Durbin explaining why Mass voters were angry. "They were angry," he said, "because we didn't pass health care reform."
His distortion is truly amazing, and will only serve to further alienate what little remains of the Democratic base...including me.

Posted by: mtpeaks | January 24, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Anywhere from 50 to 77% of the nation, depending on the poll [1,2], and 73% of our doctors [3], think it is time for a strong public insurance option for them too. So Massachusetts and the country are very clear and in sync on this: it is time for Congress and the president to stop reaching out to the right wing fringe of our country, stop catering to the needs of Big Insurance, and give America an ongoing means to rein in insurance costs.




Posted by: B2O2 | January 24, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

obama should SKIP his state of the union rant

and do something he has NEVER done before

go to his office shut the door and


on CREATING jobs through incentives for the private sector

with NO cameras, no teleprompters, just WORK

and say to himself, in private

“My name is Barck Obama

I am a recovering narcissist

Posted by: ProCounsel | January 24, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Obama does a bad thing
obama tells a lie

-a preschool primer

watch obama

watch obama DEMAND that ALL banks accept govt money

watch obama make the banks take the govt money who do NOT want the money

watch the banks REPAY very dime of the govt money WITH INTEREST

watch obama tell a LIE and say the banks did NOT repay the loans

see obama say "we want our money back"

is that a LIE?

yes, obama KNEW it was a LIE

obama did a bad thing

its bad to lie...........

Posted by: ProCounsel | January 24, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

The weird "logic" of Barack Obama makes me understand why he refuses to release his transcripts. Those grades must really be embarrassing.

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | January 24, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Axelrod is exactly right. GOP would be very disappointed in November and 2012 in this Independent's view. And, 51% of registered voters in MA are Independent so GOP should stop patting on their own back just yet.

"I must tell you that, if you look at the polling in the Washington Post yesterday on the Massachusetts race, it's very clear, people don't want us to walk away from health care," Axelrod said. "They want us to address their concerns with the program, and they want Brown to come and work with us and not be obstructionist. That was very clear in the polling."

Posted by: dummy4peace | January 24, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I still doubt if the Politicians of either party really understands what is happening in American!

For years we have watched our jobs being outsourced & in-sourced, aided and abide by the ruling Political elite!

On the low end Politicians have allowed the largest invasion of any Nation, at any time, by any means as millions of Uneducated Illegal Aliens pour across our borders in direct volition of our Constitution Article IV Section IV against invasion, the Rule of Law & their Oath of office.

The Democrat support the invasion because a large uneducated dependent welfare class translates into Democrat votes!

The Republicans because their paymaster in the Chamber of Commerce & Business love slave labor with the benefits like Medical, Schooling, Welfare & Incarceration, Section 8 housing etc. are passed on to the tax payers!

On the high end H1 vistas to take the engineering, software jobs etc. at low wages to increase business profits

After years of seeing their standard of living deteriorate & requiring both parents working and still not able to provide a standard of living that one working did it in the past people are frustrated & angry that no one in Washington cares about working Americans or the future of this Nation!

Obama promised Hope & Change so the voters kicked out a Elitist, Arrogant, Spendthrift Republican party that was wading in the swamp of corruption!

Now after one year of Democrat rule and total control most are realizing Obama sold them a bill of good and the Democrats are even more Elitist, Arrogant, Big spending and the swamp of corruption has now turned into a sea of debt & corruption with Acorn , Unions, Seiu, Wall street , Big banks & last but not least the tax funded Racist hate Organization La Raza!

Both parties when they assume power get more corrupt, arrogant & worse than the British & King George that resulted in the American revolution and the shot heard around the world!

Now the good people of Mass. have fired another shot. If the Politicians of both parties still refuse to change and keep thinking they are Kings & we are their Serfs & they know what is best, the next shots they hear may not be as peaceful.

It is way pass time they realize they are the servants & not our rulers and they exists to serve the American people & this Nation not Mexico, Latin American and every country in the world while ignoring and punishing Citizens by taxes, jobs and debt to support the rest of the world!

Posted by: american1 | January 24, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

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