Obama battles critics on health care

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With his poll numbers falling on health care, President Obama began his week Monday with a further push for investing in a reform bill and blasting a Republican lawmaker who said the issue would be the president’s “Waterloo.”

Without naming Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina by name, Mr. Obama offered the Republican’s quote in a brief statement following a visit with health care providers at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington.

“If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo, it will break him,” Mr. Obama said, quoting Mr. DeMint from a conference call last week with conservatives who oppose the health care plan.

“Think about that. This isn’t about me, this isn’t about politics, this is about a health care system that is breaking America’s [small businesses and families],” said Mr. Obama Monday, which marked the six-month anniversary of his administration.

The president’s top aides said over the weekend they believe the August deadline for the House and Senate to pass health care proposal is still an achievable goal, but congressional Democrats have faced setbacks as they grapple with how to pay for the sweeping changes proposed to the health care system.

RELATED STORY: White House holds to health care timetable

Mr. Obama said there is a “tendency towards inertia in this town,” but that doesn’t change that “the need for reform is urgent and it is indisputable.”

“We’re the country that chooses the harder right over the easier wrong. That’s what we have to do this time,” Mr. Obama said, insisting the nation must “fight our way through the politics of the moment.”

He will keep making the point this week in a Wednesday prime-time press conference and at a health care town hall at a Cleveland high school Thursday.

Also Monday, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele charged that the president’s plan amounts to a “reckless experiment.”

“He’s conducting a dangerous experiment with our health care. Hes conducting a reckless experiment with our economy,” Mr. Steele said at the National Press Club. “And he’s conducting an unnecessary experiment with our tax dollars — experiments that will transform the very way of life of our country and its citizens.”

About the Author

Christina Bellantoni

Christina Bellantoni is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times in Washington, D.C., a post she took after covering the 2008 Democratic presidential campaigns. She has been with The Times since 2003, covering state and Congressional politics before moving to national political beat for the 2008 campaign. Bellantoni, a San Jose native, graduated from UC Berkeley with ...

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