Obama Woos Right, Left on Health Care

This Obamacare plan is so bad that even Obama's lies and tap dancing has failed and it's become apparent that he has got to get some conservatives on board so he's trying a new look.

WASHINGTON – With control of the health care debate slipping from his grasp, President Barack Obama pitched his ambitious plan to both conservative talk radio and his own liberal supporters Thursday — and denied a challenge from one backer that he was "bucklin' a little bit" under Republican criticism.

Liberals were on the verge of revolt as Obama refused to say any final deal must include a government-run insurance option, while Republicans pressed their all-but-unified opposition to the White House effort. Obama, who will leave Washington Friday on vacation, said reason would prevail and it was no time to panic.

"I guarantee you ... we are going to get health care reform done. And I know that there are a lot of people out there who have been hand-wringing, and folks in the press are following every little twist and turn of the legislative process," Obama told a caller to Philadelphia-based radio talk show host Michael Smerconish during a broadcast from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room.

"You know, passing a big bill like this is always messy."

Obama is struggling to regain the momentum on a comprehensive bill that would extend health coverage to nearly 50 million Americans who lack it and restrain skyrocketing costs. Opponents of the overhaul have drowned out supporters at lawmakers' town halls around the country this month, and public backing for Obama's effort has slipped in opinion polls. Congressional Democratic leaders are preparing to go it alone on legislation, although bipartisan negotiations continue in the Senate.

On the defensive, Obama is embracing a new role of fact checker-in-chief, trying to correct untrue claims such as that the proposals would provide health care for illegal immigrants, create "death panels" or pay for abortions with taxpayer dollars. Aides say the situation has left Obama exasperated.

"Now, c'mon," a mocking Obama told a cheering crowd late Thursday at a Democratic National Committee appearance designed to re-energize activists who were instrumental in his drive to the presidency. "What we're going to have to do is to cut through the noise and the misinformation."

"I said during the campaign that the best offense against lies is the truth," Obama said. "And so all we can do is just keep on pushing the truth."

Yet for all the gnashing from Republicans and fiscally conservative Democrats, he faces equally tough opposition from lawmakers and activists on the left who insist any overhaul must include a government-run insurance option.

In fact, shortly after his comments Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared the Democratic-controlled House simply won't approve the overhaul without it.

"There's no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option," Pelosi, D-Calif., said after a round-table in San Francisco.

Obama told his DNC audience — as well as thousands watching online and listening by telephone — that health care was the toughest fight he has faced in office.

"Winning the election is just the start," he said. "Victory in an election wasn't the change that we sought."

That election, though, came with his promise of the government insurance option, a provision that Obama's team now calls "preferred" but not mandatory. During both his Thursday appearances, Obama declined to call it a deal breaker.


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