Obama to McCain: ‘We’re Not Campaigning Anymore, the Election is Over’
February 25, 2010
(ChattahBox)—The marathon healthcare reform debate between President Obama and the Republicans today at the Blair House, was notable for a few reasons. The first being that it took place at all. And the second reason, that for all of the occasional flashes of irritation on both sides, and Republican lawmakers reverting to divisive and misleading talking points at times; the televised showdown perfectly depicted the basic philosophical differences between Republicans and Democrats. Thirdly, the tense exchange between President Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-NV) reminded us all of the contentious debates between McCain and Obama during the presidential campaign and McCain’s unattractive “grouchy old man, get off my grass” persona.
The mavericky McCain used his time before the cameras to help his standing in his tight primary race in his home state. McCain is being challenged for his senate seat by birther teapartier J.D. Hayworth and the maverick was not about to lose an opportunity to grandstand.
He attacked the number of pages in the healthcare bill that passed the senate. And characterized the behind-the-scenes negotiating process, as “unsavory” dealmaking.
McCain criticized concessions made to conservative Democrats, referring to the “Louisiana Purchase” and “Cornhusker Kickback.” And he railed against what he called “special interests,” such as the deal struck with PhRma.
McCain’s attacks then became more personal, as he invoked the 2008 presidential campaign:
“Both of us during the campaign promised change in Washington,” McCain said, adding that Obama said he would put all of his health care negotiations in front of the camera. “I’m glad that more than a year later they are here.”
“We promised them change in Washington and what we got was a process that you and I both said we would change in Washington,” said McCain.
McCain then launched into the Republican talking points of the day, claiming that Americans wanted them to start over from scratch. McCain said voters “want us to sit down together and do what’s best for all Americans.”
“They want us to go back to the beginning,” McCain said.
After a few more minutes of McCain reverting to talking points, Obama tried to cut him off, when it was obvious McCain had no intention of discussing the issue of health insurance proposals. “The American people care about what we did and how we did it,” McCain said.
Obama responded, “We can have a debate about process” or about how to agree and pass health care reform. “The latter debate is the one they care about more.”
Obama responded to McCain’s attacks by reminding him that they were no longer campaigning:
“We’re not campaigning anymore. The election is over.” “I’m reminded of that every day,” McCain responded.
Source: Talking Points Memo