Exclusive: President Obama Says Voter Anger, Frustration Key to Republican Victory in Massachusetts Senate

Obama to Senate: don't "jam" through health care until Brown is seated

ByABC News
January 20, 2010, 9:35 AM

Jan. 20, 2010— -- President Obama warned Democrats in Congress today not to "jam" a health care reform bill through now that they've lost their commanding majority in the Senate, and said they must wait for newly elected Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown to be sworn into office.

The president also said the same voter anger that swept him into office in 2008 carried Brown into office on a stunning upset victory Tuesday night over heavily favored Democrat Martha Coakley.

Watch George Stephanopoulos' exclusive interview with Obama tonight on "World News" and "Nightline" and tomorrow on "Good Morning America." Check your local listings.

"Here's my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts, but the mood around the country: the same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office," the president said in an exclusive interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos. "People are angry and they are frustrated. Not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years, but what's happened over the last eight years."

Brown defeated Coakley in the special election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

With his victory, Brown becomes the 41st Republican vote in the Senate -- meaning Democrats have lost the 60-seat super-majority they need in the Senate to avoid a Republican filibuster.

Obama insisted today that the Senate wait for Brown to be seated before they make any changes to its version of the health care reform legislation.

"Here's one thing I know and I just want to make sure that this is off the table: The Senate certainly shouldn't try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated," the president said. "People in Massachusetts spoke. He's got to be part of that process."

"I think point number two is that it is very important to look at the substance of this package and for the American people to understand that a lot of the fear mongering around this bill isn't true," Obama said.

Obama also said it was important for the American people to take a look at the substance and details of the health care reform legislation that Congress is considering.

Read excerpts of the exclusive interview here.