Democrats find themselves seriously in danger of failing in their yearlong quest to pass healthcare reform because President Barack Obama showed inadequate leadership, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday evening.
Shortly before state Sen. Scott Brown (R) was declared the winner against state Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) in a special election to fill the seat vacated by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Weiner, who previously declared a Brown victory would "kill" healthcare reform, laid much of the blame at Obama's feet.
"We started out from the place that the White House said, ‘We’ll accept anything. If you get 60 votes, we’ll take anything,’" Weiner told reporters. "There was a basic decision made to let the Senate write this bill in any way they thought they could to get 60 votes without any true, muscular leadership on the part of the White House," Weiner told reporters.
"Their argument has been, 'This is only way we get 60, okay?' Well, now we have 59. So, thank you," Weiner said.
Weiner, a liberal who has been critical of the healthcare legislation's steady move toward the political center in recent months, lashed out Obama for not fighting for a proposal to create a government-run public option insurance program and suggested the president is out of touch.
"There was a moment in late August, early September where public option was going up and the president’s numbers were going down because the American people learned for themselves what they wanted and were disappointed that they didn’t have a president leading," Weiner said.
Congress should walk away from the entire healthcare reform campaign, Weiner contended. "It’s not the end of the world. Look, we can come back to healthcare," he said. "It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to step back and say, look, we’re going to pivot to do a jobs thing. We’re going to try to include some healthcare pieces in it."