Lieberman: Obama 'changed the subject' from healthcare to economy

President Barack Obama "effectively changed the topic" from healthcare to the economy in the State of the Union address, said centrist Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) after the speech.

Lieberman's positive words for Obama come after the president focused the first section of his speech on jobs and the economy, waiting to address the stalled healthcare bill.

He tweeted:

The President effectively changed the subject tonight from HCR to the economy, fiscal responsibility, & the need for more bipartisanship.

For weeks leading up to the address, the Obama administration suggested that the president would focus on jobs and the economy even as the president's signature legislative item, healthcare reform, stalled in Congress.

Lieberman voted for the healthcare reform bill after withholding his vote until the public option and Medicare buy-in were removed from the overhaul.
His tweet Wednesday may indicate that he is not completely at ease with the healthcare bill now that it is stalled out. But Lieberman did not withdraw his support for the legislation.

Obama also did not abandon healthcare reform in his address, emphasizing that he will not walk away from the debate.

Still Obama said that his first focus must be on creating jobs as economic anxiety continues among double-digit unemployment. 

The president also stressed other economic issues, such as the nation's long-term fiscal health. Obama proposed a three year discretionary spending freeze starting in 2011, a measures favored by centrists like Lieberman.

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room

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