- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 23, 2009

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele said Thursday that party leaders do not want President Obama to fail — just his plan to reform health care.

“Let’s be clear, Rush [Limbaugh] and everybody else didn’t say they personally want the man to fail because if he fails, we all fail,” Mr. Steele told The Washington Times “America’s Morning News” radio show. “The policy is the problem. It’s not about the personality. It’s not about the president.”

Mr. Steele and Mr. Limbaugh, the conservative talk-radio host, are among the Republican Party’s most outspoken critics of the president’s plan for a government-run program to provide insurance for roughly 97 percent of Americans and cut rising health-care costs.

Mr. Limbaugh said when Mr. Obama took office that he didn’t agree with Mr. Obama’s plan for the federal government to take a strong hand in managing the private sector — including the health care, banking and auto industries.

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“I hope he fails,” Mr. Limbaugh said.

Mr. Steele also said Mr. Obama is not being completely upfront when he says Americans with employer-provided insurance can keep their plans.

“He’s not coming clean with us,” he said.

Mr. Steele thinks employers will drop employees when they find the government-sponsored plan is less expensive.

“On the surface, the president is absolutely right,” he said. “What will happen is employers will offload employees. If you were a small-business owner, wouldn’t you?”

Mr. Steele, a lawyer and a former Maryland lieutenant governor, did not back off his statement that the Obama plan is socialism.

“That underlying principle is government control of the means of production,” he said. “It’s inserting itself into the very fabric of the decisions you have to make every single day.”

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