Rockefeller Says Racism Plays Role In Health Law Criticism
The West Virginia senator suggests at a committee hearing that criticism of the federal health overhaul may be based in part on the president's race. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., calls the comments "very offensive."
USA Today: Senator: Race Is Part Of Criticism Of Obama Health Law
A Democratic senator this week said something publicly that many backers of President Obama say privately: Criticism of the health care law is in part racial. "I’ll be able to dig up some e-mails that make part of the Affordable Care Act that doesn't look good — especially from people who made up their mind that they don't want it to work because they don't like the president," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-West Va. "Maybe he's of the wrong color, something of that sort," added Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. "I've seen a lot of that and I know a lot of that to be true." Rockefeller's comments Wednesday drew criticism from committee Republican Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who described efforts to "play the race card" as "very offensive" (Jackson, 5/22).
Politico: Rockefeller Stands By Obama Race Remark
Sen. Jay Rockefeller may no longer fear the political consequences of charging the GOP with opposing President Barack Obama’s agenda because he's the "wrong color." But he might be alone in that. On Thursday, no Democrats publicly rushed to back Rockefeller's assertion that Obama has met legislative resistance because of his race, a remark that sparked an emotional debate Wednesday with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) over whether opposing the president and his health-care law amounted to being "racist" (Everett, 5/23).
The Washington Post: Rockefeller Says Race Colors GOP Views On Obama
Rockefeller, 76, chose his words carefully after his comments at the Wednesday hearing sparked a fierce reaction from Republicans, particularly Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the only GOP senator at the hearing, who accused the senator of playing the "race card." A freshman senator and CEO of a plastics manufacturer, Johnson responded that his opposition to the Affordable Care Act was based entirely on how it revamped the health industry. "I didn't reject this because of the race of the president," Johnson proclaimed at the hearing. "I rejected this because it’s an assault on our freedom" (Kane, 5/22).
CBS News: Don't Call Me A Racist, Republican Senator Tells Democrat
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., erupted on Wednesday after Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said that some people oppose Obamacare because President Obama is "the wrong color." The Republican objected to Rockefeller's "very offensive" characterization, saying he opposes the health care law because it's an "assault on our freedom," not because he's a racist. The bitter spat came during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the health care law's medical loss ratio, which requires insurers to spend at least 80 to 85 percent of premium revenues on medical care, rather than administrative or overhead costs (Miller, 5/22).