President Obama Preparing to Go It Alone with Just Democrats on Health Care Reform?

By Nitya

Aug 20, 2009 5:39pm

Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller report:

While continuing to argue he wants a bipartisan bill, President Obama today for first time publicly blamed Congressional Republican leaders for seeing health care reform in only political terms. And for the first time he acknowledged Democrats might go it alone.

Before a crowd of loyal Democrats this afternoon, President Obama said his party would pass health care reform with or without Republicans.

Speaking of the three Republican Senators continuing negotiations with Democrats for a health care reform bill, the president said, “at some point in the process there's going to have to be a conclusion that either they can get a bill done or they can't get a bill done.”

Continued the president: “my commitment to the American people is to get a good product which will include Republican ideas, but I have no control over what the other side decides is their political strategy.  And my obligation to the American people says:  We're going to get this done one way or another.”

Earlier, in a radio interview, the President for the first time publicly accused Republican leaders of trying to kill health care reform for political reasons

“I think early on, a decision was made by the Republican leadership that said, ‘Look, let’s not give them a victory. maybe we can have a replay of 1993-94 when Clinton came in. He failed on health care and the we won on the midterm elections. and we got the majority.’ And I think there are some folks who are taking a page out of that playbook.”

The president had previously said some Republicans viewed health care reform that way, but today was the first time he identified Republican Leaders in the House and Senate of thinking that way.

The president continues to say he wants a bipartisan bill. Negotiations continue in the Senate.

-Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller

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