By Eric Garland - 12/09/13 10:41 AM EST
MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry said on Sunday that "ObamaCare" is a term white men made up to degrade President Obama and make him feel inferior.
"This word was conceived by a group of wealthy white men who needed a way to put themselves above and apart from a black man," Harris-Perry said in the opening segment of her MSNBC show.
Obama has used the word when referring to his signature Affordable Care Act, but Harris-Perry contested that his political opponents cornered him into doing so. She said that he was forced to embrace the term to prevent ObamaCare's woes from becoming directly symbolic of himself.
The MSNBC host said Obama's political opponents and many Americans use the term to dissolve any credibility Obama obtained from his presidential success. Harris-Perry praised Obama for saving the U.S. auto industry, capturing Osama bin Laden and ending the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. But she said Obama's political opponents strategically coined the ObamaCare term to overshadow those accomplishments.
Harris-Perry also credited Obama with reviving the economy from its greatest recession since the Great Depression, reducing drug sentence disparities and helping women achieve equal pay. None of that matters to Obama's opponents, she reasoned, if they continue to degrade him with the ObamaCare term.
But she said that as the HealthCare.gov website is repaired, so is Obama's legitimacy to Americans, arguing that he is starting to overcome the hardships that affected the rollout of his healthcare law.
"Short of bringing about world peace before he leaves office, the Affordable Care Act will loom large in the president's legacy as the singular accomplishment of his two terms," she said. "And now following the relaunch of the new and improved, fully operational HealthCare.gov website, the president is not only owning it, but doubling down and putting a great spotlight on the Obama in ObamaCare."