- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Democrats on Wednesday morning said they will still fight to pass health-care-reform legislation despite a crushing blow the night before to President Obama’s top legislative priority in the Massachusetts Senate special election.

Republican state Sen. Scott Brown’s election erases the Democrats’ 60-seat supermajority in the Senate and the last vote they need to overcome a Republican health care filibuster.

But White House adviser David Axelrod told MSNBC on Wednesday that Mr. Obama still is determined to fix the health system.

“He believes that there’s a real crises, and that’s part of what middle-class people are struggling with,” he said. “But we also have to take into account what voters were saying yesterday and what we’ve heard from folks around the country. We will take that into account, and then we’ll decide how to move forward. But it’s not an option simply to walk away from a problem that’s only going to get worse.”

TWT RELATED ARTICLE: Brown’s win alters health reform push

Republicans, meanwhile, called the election a referendum on the health bill as well as big government, “sweetheart deals” and what they called a lack of transparency in Washington.

“I think we heard a large and resounding message yesterday in one of the most — if not arguably the most — liberal state in the America,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.

When asked if he thought Mr. Brown’s election would kill the health reform bill, he said, “I sure hope so.”

Mr. Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s top political aide, said Mr. Brown’s election wasn’t a referendum on the proposal being negotiated by House and Senate Democrats.

“I don’t think it’s about that one particular issue,” he said. “I think there’s a general sense of discontent about the economy, and there’s a general sense of discontent about this town. That’s why we were elected. We are committed to doing something about it.”

He also said Mr. Brown didn’t run one “health care” advertisement and supported the Massachusetts health reform plan while in the state Senate.

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