MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC: I want to talk today about a controversial word. Itâ€™s a word that has been with us for years. And like it or not, itâ€™s indelibly printed in the pages of American history. A word that was originally intended as a derogatory term, meant to shame and divide and demean. The word was conceived of by a group of wealthy white men who needed a way to put themselves above and apart from a black man. To render him inferior and unequal and to diminish his accomplishments.
President Obama has been labelled with this word by his opponents. And at first he rose above it, hoping that if he could just make a cause for what he achieved, his opponents would fail in making their label stick. But no matter how many successes that he had as president, he realized there were still many people for whom heâ€™d never be anything more than that one disparaging word. A belief he knew was held not just by his political opponents, but also by a significant portion of the American electorate.
And so he decided, if you canâ€™t beat them, youâ€™ve got to join them. And he embraced the word and made it his own, sending his opposition a message they werenâ€™t expecting -- 'if thatâ€™s what you want me to be, Iâ€™ll be that.' Yâ€™all know the word that Iâ€™m talking about. Obamacare. That's right! I said it and Iâ€™m not ashamed and neither is President Obama. Because he knows that of all his victories over two terms in office his legacy is ultimately going to be remembered for this one single word.
I mean, what do you call the president who rescues the U.S. auto industry?Obamacare. What do you call the president who finally eliminates Osama bin Laden? Obamacare. What do you call the president who ends Donâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tell? Say it with me! Obamacare.
Heard the one about the president who pulled us out of the greatest recession since the Great Depression? Yep. Obamacare. And what about the one, you know, about the president who reduced drug sentencing disparities? Obamacare. Stop if you have heard this one. A group of underpaid women and the president, who passed the pay equity law, walk into a bar -- okay, so you can see where I'm going with this.
Short of bringing about world peace before he leaves office, the Affordable Care Act will loom large in the president's legacy as the singular accomplishment of his two terms. And now following the relaunch of the new and improved and fully operational Healthcare.gov website, the president is not only owning it, but doubling down and putting a great spotlight on the Obama in Obamacare. (Melissa Harris Perry, December 8, 2013)