September 2nd, 2009
12:18 PM ET

Obama’s only choice is to speak out

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Gloria Borger
CNN Senior Political Analyst

In a way, the president really has no other choice but to finally speak - and speak conclusively about what he wants in a health care reform bill.

After all, 67 percent of Americans told CBS pollsters over the weekend that the health care debate is "confusing." Only 31 percent thought they had a "clear understanding" of the issues involved. What's worse, the uncertainty cut across party lines. For once, in this polarized time, Democrats and Republicans agree on something: They're perplexed by this health care debate.

And so the White House has allowed that it's time for the president to weigh in, perhaps from the Oval Office or maybe in an address to Congress. No matter how he does it, this much is clear: better late than never.

It hasn't been an easy summer. And maybe, when this is all over, administration aides will look back at their initial strategy with some chagrin. You'll recall the plan was to allow Congress to legislate first, in order to avoid the mistakes of then-first lady Hillary Clinton 16 years ago. She presented a health care reform plan to Congress which then became a big, fat target. The bill died, and she was excoriated.

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soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. ronvan

    OH BOY: So much talk, so many problems. EVERYONE agrees that the current system is screwed up, but NO ONE wants to do anything about it! I hope Obama gets all these people together and let them have it! Hope it is televised. Comprimise is OK, you cannot always get the whole wish list. I would love to know about those against any change. Where are they getting the $$$$. Local paper here had a story that the "blue dogs" have gotten over 2M from those that do not want change! I wonder how many more are getting "paid" to say what the people in control want us to hear. What is important is putting some LAWS into place to control the insurance & drug compaines, THEY are the ones that have gotten rich bleeding us to death.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  2. KSuzanne

    Yes, Melissa I agree. I hope he has the guts to do it! I am putting my bet on him. I am sick and tired of living in an indifferent nation...what in the world does this society feel that it has to gain building comfort on the suffering of others. Capitalism is the name of the game, survival of the fittest...all people of color, women, LGBTQ folks, children, the elderly poor, and the millions of Americans living in poverty are not fit and guess what folks they are NOT surviving. This healthcare bill is ONLY a means to start feeding rice to a dying population of this country. Come on Barak...you have to stand up and do it!!!!!! Do a George Bush on everybody!!!

    Holding out for Hope and Change
    San Leandro, CA

    September 3, 2009 at 1:38 am |
  3. Gilby-HI

    President Obama has some of the smartest people working in his Czar stable and I wonder why he has not used them to bring his health care message out. I am sure if he just put his "Green Jobs Czar" out in front of the American people they would just be charmed to death over him.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:28 am |
  4. Silvia

    We elected the president to do a job, now we have to let him do it his way. And for that we have to offer our support with the same enthusiasm that we displayed to elect him.
    The Republicans have historically opposed health reform and they fought Lyndon Johnson when he created Social Security.
    The fact is the Republicans are placing party over country, and we shouldn't let them mislead them with their lies and confusing advertisement.
    To confuse, in this case, is their game.
    There are a lot of self serving agendas involved in the opposition and we shouldn't fall for them.

    September 2, 2009 at 11:34 pm |
  5. Melissa

    Good. Its time.

    The reason he hasn't done it so far is that he was trying to learn from Bill Clintons lost. Unfortunately, what he learned is that Congress is a bunch of whiny spoiled little children that only care for themselves and need a daddy to make them do the right thing so now he has no choice but to take the reigns.

    September 2, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  6. lampe

    Look if Obama does not come out with one clear plan, he has no one to blame for the misunderstanding, He has to come out and explain it letter for letter, if and when he does that, people will be able to understood his vision, and they won't be afraid of all the unknown stuff that's getting shoved down peole's throats.

    September 2, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  7. RLWellman

    What has the President said he was going to do, has he done? He has said lots of things, but he definately will be remembered as the President who spent the most money, foolishly!

    September 2, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  8. JC-Los Angeles

    Like a true corporate executive who failed upward through marketing, HR or slick prose, the last thing President Obama now needs to do is talk more.

    Whether putting pen to paper, dispensing endless words on the campaign trail or waxing poetic in football stadiums, it's universally accepted that he can write and speak.

    Real leaders are able to concisely outline what they are doing; articulate why they are doing it; and explain what it means to others.

    The American public today is like a corporate board weighing whether their leader is right for the job; less talk and more action would be a good place to start for Barack Obama.

    September 2, 2009 at 1:55 pm |