Obama Defends Health Bill In Oval Office Interview
In an Oval Office interview with The Washington Post, President Barack Obama "rejected criticism that he has compromised too much to secure health-care reform or turned over too much authority to congressional leaders in pursuing his broad legislative agenda." Although the President noted that "'the most important thing we did this year was to ensure that the financial system did not collapse,' health-care reform dominated his agenda and will stand as at least one pillar of the legacy he leaves behind. He has come under sharp criticism for the size and shape of the legislation, including from former Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean, who has said he would prefer that the Senate defeat the bill rather than pass what he considers weak legislation." Also during the interview, Obama said he "vigorously defended the legislation, saying he is 'not just grudgingly supporting the bill. I am very enthusiastic about what we have achieved.'"
The President added that "[n]owhere has there been a bigger gap between the perceptions of compromise and the realities of compromise than in the health-care bill Every single criteria for reform I put forward is in this bill" (Wilson, 12/23).
Meanwhile, USA Today reports that the White House's new mantra, which spokesman Robert Gibbs "echoed no less than three times" Tuesday morning, is "[h]ealth care reform is not a matter of if Health care reform now is a matter of when." Gibbs added that "[t]he president is quite confident that we are going to be able to figure out how to make health care reform a reality" (Jackson, 12/22).