Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Obama: Seat Brown First

Update: Harry Reid said healthcare won't move forward until after Brown is seated.
This pleases me. A lot. Obama gets it. Also, Scott Brown could be an ally on a new healthcare bill. This comes from a preview of Obama's interview tonight with George Stephanopoulos (watch a preview here):
President Obama said today that Democratic leaders in Congress should not try to “jam” the health care bill through in the coming days, saying that lawmakers should wait to move forward on the legislation until Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown of Massachusetts is seated.

“Here’s one thing I know and I just want to make sure that this is off the table: The Senate certainly shouldn’t try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with ABC News. “The people of Massachusetts spoke. He’s got to be part of that process.”

He added, “It is very important to look at the substance of this package and for the American people to understand that a lot of the fear mongering around this bill isn’t true.”

The president said lawmakers should “move quickly to coalesce” around “core elements” of the legislation that are less controversial, including efforts to reduce costs of health insurance.
Here’s my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts, but the mood around the country: the same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office,” Mr. Obama said, according to excerpts released by the network. “People are angry, they are frustrated. Not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years, but what’s happened over the last eight years.”

The president also struck an unusual tone, expressing an air of contrition as he opens his second year in office.

“If there’s one thing that I regret this year,” Mr. Obama said, “is that we were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are and why we have to make sure those institutions are matching up with those values.”