Obama Health Care Speech Stokes Passions

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President Barack Obama continued his push for action on health care, Thursday, as he tries to regain momentum in the debate.

"We have talked this issue to death, year after year, decade after decade and the time for talk is winding down and the time for bickering has passed," he said.

Yet, the talking and the bickering continues.

Obama delivered a meaty speech on health care to Congress Wednesday night.  Now, lawmakers are dissecting his words.

"I think the president hit a home run," said Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD).  "He came out very squarely and clearly stating what it is he supports in a reform bill."

Others weren't so impressed.

"There was nothing new in the president's speech last night," said Rep. John Boehner.

Most agree that it was certainly memorable, especially after Republican congressman Joe Wilson heckled in the audience after President Obama promised illegal immigrants would not be covered under his health care plan.

"You lie!' Wilson shouted.

He later apologized, but his words echoed through Capitol Hill, forcing Democrats off message.

"As far as I'm concerned, the episode was unfortunate, Mr. Wilson has apologized," Pelosi said Thursday.  "It's time for us to talk about health care, not Mr. Wilson."

Obama sharpened his focus Thursday in a meeting with cabinet members and speaking to nurses.

"Unfortunately the president is still sticking to his guns and he's still pushing a bill that doesn't address the real problems," said GOP Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana.  "And there are many of us who have, I think, a better approach to fixing health care."

The president drew chuckles about the disagreement and confusion that still surrounds the massive legislation.  Still, concerns remain.

"I think there's a lot of things that we need to find out the details before we can sign on to anything that the president talked about," said Rep. Robert Aderholt.

After playing myth buster during his speech, Obama made a promise aimed at Republicans.

"If you misrepresent what's in this plan we will call you out," he said.

One fiscally conservative Democrat was quoted saying, "If the details live up to the quality of the speech, then it's a good plan."   

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CBN News
Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.