GOP Accuses Obama of Trying to Ram Through Health Care Reform
House and Senate Republicans continued their attacks on President Barack Obama on Thursday, accusing him of using his Wednesday address to make a disingenuous and highly partisan case for health care reform.Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) denounced Obama’s address as the most “partisan speech by a president in that chamber … it sounded very much like the Chicago politics I know he’s familiar with.—Kyl also argued that Obama failed to make good on his promise to begin reaching out to Republicans. Rather, Kyl said Obama’s speech signaled that the White House wants to “ram something though with political power— and demonstrated that the president has “no concept of listening to what [Americans] have to say … it’s his way or the highway.—Although the No. 2 Senate Republican repeatedly complained that the White House has made bipartisanship impossible, when asked how trading insults would help bring about a bipartisan dialogue, Kyl was defiant.“It’s honest, and I’m trying to convey something … if my words seem harsh, I’m trying to make a point here,— he said.Meanwhile, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) refused to personally condemn Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-S.C.) outburst of “You lie!— during Obama’s speech, instead pointing to the apology Wilson issued immediately afterward. “As Mr. Wilson said last night, his behavior was inappropriate, I think that’s why he apologized to the president and I’m glad the president accepted his apology,— Boehner said. “I think all of us know there’s has been a lot of emotion around this issue about the government involvement in our health care.—He also dismissed Democratic assertions that other Republicans — some of whom waved copies of Republican bill during the speech — were out of line.“I believe we ought to be respectful, that we ought to have civil discourse in America, but don’t underestimate the amount of emotion that people are feeling,— he said.“Other than this one instance last night there was nothing really unusual that happened on the floor,— he added. “I can remember when President [George W.] Bush was here and some of the things that were said, emotions that were released, but I think Mr. Wilson made it clear that his behavior was inappropriate.— While Boehner did not directly defend Wilson’s remark, he did defend its premise, citing an Aug. 26 report by the Congressional Research Service that said H.R. 3200 doesn’t prevent illegal immigrants from accessing health care. At this point, it does not appear that Republicans are suffering any major consequences from Wilson’s outburst, at least in terms of their base. For instance, during a rally outside the Capitol on Thursday organized by FreedomWorks — the conservative interest group behind the “tea party protests— and town hall confrontations — activists chanted, “Liar!— during references to Obama.