Wow. David Axelrod acknowledged this statement today from David Gregory on Meet the Press:
[Barack Obama] supported the public option. He did not fight for it till the end of the day.
What a stunning acknowledgment!
Well more than half of the US Senate wanted that public option — which President Obama preferred — and he didn’t fight for it?
Did he fight for women’s health rights? Or did the President support the right of women to have coverage for abortions but not fight for that either?
We know that Barack Obama supports the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in the US military — but is he “fighting” to end this discrimination against gays and lesbians serving their nation?
We know that Barack Obama supports a fair, no false choice approach to a viable Palestinian State next to Israel — but is he going to fight for it?
How does David Axelrod, or anyone in the White House, think it squares with citizens to hear that Barack Obama supported some issue or group — for which they want political donations and votes — only to hear him say that the President opted not to fight for his position?
Would love to know what many of you think about this health care legislation that still has some time to go before making its way into law.
While I’m glad we are getting past this distraction in the near term, I do worry a great deal that women’s issues were strongly pushed to the side by a lot of elder men in the US Senate.
Here is a statement from the President of Planned Parenthood on the “abortion language” in the Senate bill:
STATEMENT BY CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION OF AMERICA, ON PROPOSED ABORTION LANGUAGE IN THE SENATE MANAGER’S AMENDMENT
“Planned Parenthood strongly opposes the new abortion language offered by Senator Ben Nelson in the manager’s amendment. Last week, the Senate rejected harsh restrictions on abortion coverage, and it is a sad day when women’s health is traded away for one vote.
“The Nelson language is essentially an abortion rider. It creates an unworkable system whereby individuals are required to write two separate checks each month, one for abortion care and one for everything else. There is no sound policy reason to require women to pay separately for their abortion coverage other than to try to shame them and draw attention to the abortion coverage. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that insurance companies will be willing to follow such an administratively cumbersome system, leaving tens of millions of women without abortion coverage.
“After the passage of the Stupak amendment in the House, we heard loud and clear from women across the country that they will not stand for the undermining of their rights and their access to benefits. This Nelson abortion check provision will no doubt create the same outrage, as women learn that they are being made second-class citizens when it comes to health care coverage.
“As many members of Congress and the president believe, Planned Parenthood does not think that health care reform is the forum to litigate abortion policy. Unfortunately, opponents continue to use abortion as a political wedge at every step of the reform process.
“There is no policy reason for this action, it is simply a political maneuver. We understand that leaders in the Senate and the White House want to move the process forward, but given this provision, we have no choice but to oppose the Senate bill. Planned Parenthood will now work with leaders to fix the abortion coverage language in conference.”
I wonder how many New Year’s Resolutions Barack Obama will make of things he wants to do or wants to believe in but won’t fight for.
– Steve Clemons
Update: Taylor Marsh notes that Meet the Press failed to secure any women to discuss health care reform legislation even though it is “abortion politics” and a deal undermining women’s access to abortions that the Obama administration struck with Nebraska U.S. Senator Ben Nelson.