Overshadowed Republican Reply Asks For Compromise, New Beginning
The official Republican response to President Barack Obama's speech, delivered by Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., was overshadowed by Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie," remark Newsweek reports. The line GOP lawmakers meant to push was that the president should scrap current Democratic proposals and reboot a bipartisan effort to shape the overhaul. "We agree much needs to be done to lower the cost of health care for all Americans. On that goal, Republicans are ready - and we've been ready - to work with the President," Boustany said (Bailey, 9/9).
Boustany also criticized the public insurance option favored by Democrats, saying it would eliminate private insurers, and that "The president had a chance tonight to take government-run health care off the table," Boustany said, adding: "Unfortunately, he didn't do it," Roll Call reports (Kucinich, 9/9).
Some chose to follow that line, Politico reports. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a staunch conservative and reliable Obama critic, said, " 'It was a good speech, the problem is that what he wants and what they've written are two totally different things. I'm willing to compromise to get things fixed. But I'm not willing to put the government in charge because we don't have a good track record."
Other were less compromising. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said, "I was incredibly disappointed in the tone of his speech. At times, I found his tone to be overly combative and believe he behaved in a manner beneath the dignity of the office. I fear his speech tonight has made it more difficult - not less - to find common ground" (Thrush, 9/9).
Voters overwhelmingly want lawmakers to find common ground, The Associated Press reports. Many GOP leaders, however, are arguing that doing so would require starting from scratch. "'House Republicans ... are ready, willing, and able to work with the Democrat majority to solve our health care challenges in a bipartisan manner,' Rep. Mike Pence said in a news release. But above the remark blared the headline: 'One More Speech about the Same Bad Plan'" (Taylor, 9/9).