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« No Rest For the Weary | Blog Home Page | Obama Third Least Popular President Since World War II »

President Softening On Health Care Deadline?

Speaking at a children's hospital in Washington today, President Obama again took a forceful tone in his push for health legislation, saying "the need for reform is urgent and it is indisputable." And he gladly used a comment by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) -- suggesting failed legislation would be the president's "Waterloo" -- as a foil as he sought to portray opposition to bills working through Congress as solely based on politics.

"This isn't about me. This isn't about politics," he said. "This is about a health care system that is breaking America's families, breaking America's businesses, and breaking America's economy. And we can't afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to health care. Not this time. Not now."

Obama has repeatedly called for lawmakers to pass legislation before the August recess, with a final draft potentially reaching his desk by September. But today, he did not issue a specific deadline, calling for legislation only by the end of this year.

"There's just a tendency towards inertia in this town, I understand that as well as anybody," he said. "But we're a country that chooses the harder right over the easier wrong. ... So let's fight our way through the politics of the moment. Let's pass reform by the end of this year."

Asked if the president was indeed softening on an August deadline, press secretary Robert Gibbs said at his briefing, "I think Peter was pretty clear about this over the weekend," referring to OMB Director Peter Orszag.

Gibbs also addressed DeMint's Waterloo comment, saying that bipartisanship must be a two way street.
"We want to work with people that want to work with us," Gibbs said. Comments like DeMint's, and conservative commentator William Kristol, "perpetuate the same old Washington games."