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Obama softly threatens Dennis Kucinich

President Obama just finished enthralling a crowd in Ohio in one of the last acts (one hopes) of his push to pass health-care reform. Rolling up his shirtsleeves, Obama began his speech with a little public arm-twisting, calling out a few of the local notables assembled; and way up at the top of his list was Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D), in whose district Obama was speaking.

Just in case it wasn’t clear why the congressman, who has criticized Obama from the left on issues such as Afghanistan, got such special mention, it was obvious seconds after Obama mentioned Kucinich’s name. Someone in the crowd screamed, “Vote yes!” The president responded with just a hint of guile, “Did you hear that, Dennis?” Kucinich, of course, is among the liberal House Democrats who might Ralph Nader-esquely vote against health-care reform because it’s not lefty enough for them.

“A couple other members of Congress are here,” Obama continued, making even plainer that Kucinich was being singled out. As the White House is privately putting the hard press on House members to vote for health reform, all of that attention from the president must be flattering -- and one of the softest threats you’ll hear about in politics.

By Stephen Stromberg  | March 15, 2010; 1:51 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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I will donate the federal limit of money to any Republican or Democrat who opposes Kucinich in the primary or general election if he votes "no" on any part of the House health care package.

Posted by: paul65 | March 15, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Kucinich is too far to the political left for me but the health care reform bill, inadequate as it is, should be passed.

I don't care what "the people" i.e. those who have been swayed by BS from the right think about it. They don't know anything about health care and the multi-faceted problems that must be addressed.

I do know some about it, and the idiotic right-wingers are not only wrong about almost everything to do with health care, they appear to revel in making up new fairy tales for their gullible audience.

Kucinich shouldn't ally himself with those clowns no matter what the reason.

Posted by: meand2 | March 15, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

This is health insurance reform, not health care reform.

I wish more progressives would tell Obama "Not without a public option."

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | March 15, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I agree with A-L-T

Classic democrats always cowering toward the right and rich who fund their elections, and spitting on the left who support them at the polls.

F the bill.

Posted by: alex35332 | March 15, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Dennis could call on the extraterrestrials to come pick the leader up.

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 15, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

It's time for Dennis to get with the program. The imperfect can always be improved, the non-existent cannot.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | March 15, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Kucinich is one of America's hero's. Do not write him off without first hearing his side.

Posted by: madest | March 15, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

My Good God,looks like the Democrats are
back to eating their young again,now that
Their Glorius Leader From Kenya Messiah
Barack Hussein Obama has endorsed cannalism
as a wonderful way to cut high food prices
and reduce obesity and eliminate numberous
folks that Dictator Barack Hussein Obama doesnot like as another hidden in the 3000
or is it 5000 page Obamacare Plan! Poor old
Dennis Kucinich must be eaten alive in order to reduce health care costs,as it's
the Kenya Way you know folks. Impeach Obama
And No Eating Folks Who Disagree With Obama
and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as this isnot Kenya or Chicago Mr Obama!

Posted by: Ralphinphnx | March 15, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

ha ha ha ha.... President Potatoe Head is such a riot.

Where is our ENERGY PLAN for our childrens future Mr. President? Shutting down off shore oil leasing and denying access to our natural oil and gas reserves on federal land is a sure fire way to kill the USA. What is your energy plan???

Posted by: nosuchluck | March 15, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I disagree, its much easier to make the imperfect worse than it is to make it better.

Posted by: alex35332 | March 15, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

It is amazing how these liberal rags keep shilling for Obama. "Enthralling the crowd"? Did you mention the long lines of protesters that greeted the President on his arrival? That seemed to have been dropped by this incipient piece of excrement that tries to pass as news.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | March 15, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Key word: Nader.

If you liked the Bush Presidency, wait till you see what happens if the Republicans 'win' on health insurance reform. Nader handed it to Bush, Kucinich will hand it to Sarah Palin. Insistence on a perfect bill is a guarantee for political disaster.

Posted by: thebobbob | March 15, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

any time meand2 would like to debate a well informed conservative about healthcare finance I'll be his huckleberry. It takes a special kinda guy to engage in the kind of bigotry meand2 just displayed.

any time pal. Any time at all. I'm ready.

As for "enthralling the crowd" What crowd? 200 people. Wow. That might be a crowd for a back yard barbeque but it ain't squat compared to Barry O's hey day. I'm really glad that Americans figured him out so quickly.

The Democrats in the district have tried to unseat Dennis for years. They just can't. He keeps winning and generally by a decent margin. In the meantime his district is, like all the other Democrat districts in northern Ohio, doing the slow, slow porcelain swirl. Cleveland is half what it used to be. Half the people have gone, either to the burbs or to where the jobs are (the south!). Businesses are escaping high taxes, intrusive government, strong unions and rampant corruption. Gosh, isn't that the list of liberal talking points?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 15, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

At least Dennis understands we're broke. At least Dennis understands we can't afford wars against countries that have never attacked us and last for years on end is what really stands in the way of helping Americans. Obama is wrong about Afghanistan and only 60 dems were willing to stand with Dennis last week to end Obama's renewed war where the enemy left 8 years ago. Stop spending trillions killing innocents and health care won't seem expensive at all. Give 'em Hell Dennis!

Posted by: Sacraigmento | March 15, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

@madest (3:57 p.m.): Kucinich has already been heard on the floor of the House throughout the debates on the three different house bills that came forward. The time for talk is done.

Kucinich demonstrates on the left the "triumph" of ideology over praticality and pragmatism. It's great to stand for something, but really... in the interest of his constituents and the rest of the people in the country affected by his vote, it's time to get with the program.

As for those who are whining about the "public option," if it had more than vocal support in the Senate -- and the White House or anybody else has nothing to do with it -- it would have been in BOTH Senate bills. The Senate HELP committee passed a version, but the Senate Finance committee did not. During the debate of the full Senate, the public option simply did not have the solid votes to pass.

If there is support, and support in both Houses sufficient to PASS a bill with the public option in it, then after this initial effort gets passed, get to work and get this done.

This is like demanding steak when the best thing to feed the masses is roast chicken. Or holding out for a Rolls Royce when a school bus will haul more people.

Progressives need to stand down, pass this bill and stop the whining and interfering with the final stages of the process.

You take the best that you can get. Although this bill isn't perfect, it is far better than nothing or ANYTHING the Republicans have proposed.

Posted by: jade_7243 | March 15, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I spit on Barack Obama


Posted by: TonyV1 | March 15, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I spit on Barack Obama


Posted by: TonyV1 | March 15, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what to think when faced with the fact that the entire HC bill could go down in flames, and all the possible good it would do would go with it, all because it doesn't have everything the progressives want? Are you kidding me? You all are going to deny all these people who need what this bill would provide because someone has more marbles than you?

Posted by: rlcampbell | March 15, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm a healthy guy told by his urologist to have a prostate biopsy based on PSA number. Last month a cardiologist converted my GP's prescription for a regular stress test to a nuclear stress test involving two trips thru a $20 million MRI, plus several other huge costs, for a person with no heart issues or family history.

And the first paragraph of this "health bill" promises the trial lawyers there will be no restrictions against suing doctors left and right, so doctors must continue this ludicrously costly defensive medicine which, together with pharmaceutical and hospital advertising, is the main cause of outrageous health costs.

Posted by: cerebral_but | March 15, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

This healthcare package is a giveaway to insurance companies. Mr. Kucinich is one of the very few who consistently measures a bill by its benefit for the people.

If they want Kucinich's principled vote, they will have to include a strong public option.

Shame on Obama for arm-twisting for a bad bill like this.

Posted by: da_design | March 15, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Re this blogger's comments that "Kucinich, of course, is among the liberal House Democrats who might Ralph Nader-esquely vote against health-care reform because it’s not lefty enough for them," Americans with some grey hair recall the wonderful days of Clinton promises of better health care and insurance with a new acronym: HMO...wherein insurors would negotiate affordable health care for all.
You gotta hand it to the insurance companies for continuing to bamboozle the Washington Post and half the country, Obama included, for failing to realize this but that's what happens when the person we elect is sittin' pretty on top of all those taxpayer-funded health care and other benefits for himself and all his family.
In Japan, the NY Times reported, they don't point fingers at each other when there's a problem to solve. They simply define the problem select the best way to solve it and then get it done. Here, ALL WE DO is point fingers at each other and nothing gets done. Let's continue to lies and bad medicine for another 30 years...but, for the life of me, I can't figure out if Obama is warmed over 'W' or warmed over Clinton. No matter, in the tradition of pointing fingers, when it all fails, I can point mine at him and say, "We told you so!" - again and again and again. Socialism, after all, is only for the gamblers on Wall Street and their pals in Congress and the White House.
Alan DiCara
Winsted, CT

Posted by: waldo3k | March 15, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

What threat?

That Obama might latch himself onto Kucinich and drag him down to mediocrity?

Posted by: forestbloggod | March 16, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Is Obama shifty, or what? Duh. I heard him speak, and I could not believe what I heard, and I don't. (Thanks, Pat Moynihan) Obamacare is a Trillion dollar tax increase. Anyone voting to support it is D.O.A. at the ballot boxes.

Posted by: tucanofulano | March 16, 2010 2:06 AM | Report abuse

Don't you people get it, they are taking our freedoms bit by bit. Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul are trying to stand up for the american people. What happened to freedom of choice??!! The ONLY thing I agree on about health care reform is the government should put a cap on how much they charge. They should not make it mandatory!! If this gets passed it is another freedom of choice taken away. This is not what this country stands for. I applaud Kucinich for standing up for what's right!! We need more people like him in office!!

Posted by: trp825 | March 16, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Want to screw something up? Put an amateur in charge. Isn't this like "the Ones" first real job? So, no surprise as to the results. Keep on with the propaganda, sooner or later that bubble will burst too.

Posted by: elcigaro1 | March 16, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I wish Kucinich had responded to Obama with, "ONE person surely is. I wonder why the rest of them are here?"

It is a foregone conclusion that the majority of those going to Obama speeches are most likely Obama followers. Why would anyone be surprised with that kind of response? It's boring. The ones I think we need to start listening to are the ones like the guy who said, "You LIE!" because they may be the ones who know the truth.

Don't forget the little boy in "The Emperor's New Clothes" and all the people who ignored him.

And as anarcho-liberal-tarian said, This is health INSURANCE reform. Not health CARE reform. Obama needs to improve the structure of his speeches a bit, bring them up to the standards of the rest of us. The health CARE in this country is readily available to any and all in this country, evidenced by the fact that we continue to provide it to illegal aliens for free. The insurance, on the other hand, definitely needs reforming, and interstate competition could go a long way toward reducing that cost.

Posted by: whisperonthewind | March 16, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

"not lefty enough" ?
Is this what the Washington Post calls responsible intelligent reporting? If the reporter does not understand what is at stake here, the Post should not allow him to mislead its readers.

Posted by: jmbkeyser | March 16, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

How can anyone with an ounce of common sense think that congress can fix the healthcare system in America?

Look at what they have allowed to happen to the medicare program.

Come up with a realistic way to put medicare on a firm financial footing, and then tell us you have a plan to fix the healthcare system.

Historicaly speaking, congress has been adept at only two things consistently. Taking our money, and wasting it.


Posted by: dwest245 | March 16, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Kucinich is the only liberal in the entire Democratic party.

I hope he doesn't cave to pressure to basically sign a fascist health care bill.

Stay strong!

Posted by: Gover | March 16, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Things would be a lot better if the two roles were switched. Obama would make a great Congressman from Ohio.

Keep 'em honest, Dennis.

Posted by: grossman1 | March 16, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

At tghis pint of Total Confusion and the appearance of Drangement Syndrome Statements by Pelosi, Reid and Obama as well as the Disconnect by Gibbs and Axelrod ( deja Vue all over gain) the HOPE for CHANGE is to praty that they are as successful as they have demonstrated in NOT getting the Olympics, the Debacle of Climate change and More Important how well Obama has helped in NJ, VA, and Massachssts..... ROCK ON LEFT WING LOONS...

Posted by: redhawk2 | March 16, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I did not see that Cleveland Pander by Obama.. did the Emperor appear with or without Clothes????

Posted by: redhawk2 | March 16, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I did not see that Cleveland Pander by Obama.. did the Emperor appear with or without Clothes????

Posted by: redhawk2 | March 16, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

So, if I understand this correctly, the going price of a Congressional Democrat's "Yes" vote today is a 1st Class ride on Boeing 747 from Washington DC to Cleveland, OH.

Come on guys. Even the hookers on Bourbon Street would think to charge more than that.

Posted by: pgould1 | March 16, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Hey Barry, I thought you were done campaigning. Remember that snide and condescending remark to John McCain?

Too bad you and your programs suck. Then they wouldn't have to be voted on in secret, you wouldn't have to bribe legislators, and all the rest of the Chicago garbage wouldn't be going on.

Why don't you go back to Chicago? You belong there. You in waaaay over your head with the big boys and everyone overseas laughs at you.

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | March 16, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"I have a responsibility on behalf of all those people who want to see a public option to help the White House cross that divide. . . . If I cave in without any public option, that could kill any hopes of keeping it alive in the Senate." - Kucinich

Posted by: curveball7 | March 16, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Things are really bad when they have to threaten people in Congress. Voting in America is a choice, which is not Obama and Pelosi style. Dennis I hope you speak up and the rest of the U.S. stand behind you, because this whole deal you got saddled with stinks.If they get one part through we will be fighting for months to get rid of their crooked ways.Talk about spending money. Lets be honest for a change folks.Our country believes in and in most cases practices Honesty for our children and grandchildren.How would you like yours to grow up??????

Posted by: swansonmorganb | March 16, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Someone needs to tell Obama that he is (unfortunately for the US) no longer a community organizer from the South Side of Chicago.

He is the POTUS, and needs to start acting like one.

Thank god we only have to watch this movie until 2012.

Posted by: TheTruth64 | March 16, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Obama has demonized and polarized us to the point of no return. He has spread so much hate for each other, the Constitution, for-profit corporations, doctors, hospitals and far to many others to memtion. He continues to do this daily!
Preaching hate! Preaching us vs them! Like we who hate this bill are the villians.
He has done what he set out to do and created Dem vs Dem vs Corporations vs Banks vs Repubs. This administration has made all this so confusing that no one knows anything about this bill at all! If so then explain this!
How does anyone know my premiums will go down? Prove it!
Do you honestly believe it is not another entitlement? Explain! Do you really believe it will only cost 87 billion a year for the next 10 years? Prove it!

Posted by: usmc1969 | March 16, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Obamacare = 2.5 trillion dollar entitlement.

Posted by: usmc1969 | March 16, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

It looks like Kucinich came out of that plane a diferrent man. He sort of looks humbled or scared. Something happen aboard that plane that we will never know. That old Chicago style politics or Obama took him to a private place and nailed him.
I don't know how a plane ride changes a politician like it did Kucinich.

Posted by: dsamario | March 17, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

KUCINICH looked like he would rather be somewhere else. Was the person who screamed 'Vote yes' a BO plant? Kucinich has been an advocate of single payer healthcare for years ... much longer than BO. Kucinich is the champion of WEDAPEOPLE he knows the tyranny of poverty with no affordable healthcare. WEDAPEOPLE have a right to know what happened on Air Force One. KUCINICH is the one who should be in the White House and would have been if we lived in a true Democracy. As a candidate Kucinich was marginalized by the media and the DNC.

Posted by: itisimari | March 17, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

screw you stromberg, insider puppet.

Posted by: andrew588 | March 18, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

I think Kucinich was having a bad hair day.

Or getting a plane ride was all it took for him to give up his vote.

Posted by: letscheck | March 18, 2010 2:21 AM | Report abuse

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