Thursday, August 20, 2009



WASHINGTON -- Repeatedly invoking the Bible, President Obama yesterday told religious leaders that health-care critics are "bearing false witness" against his plan.

The fire-and-brimstone president declared holy war in a telephone call with thousands of religious leaders around the country as he sought to breathe life into his plan for a system overhaul.

Without naming anyone specifically in the 10-minute conference call, Obama said opponents had been spreading lies.

"I know that there's been a lot of misinformation in this debate and there are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness," Obama said.

"I need you to spread the facts and speak the truth."

In particular, Obama said the claim that the government would make decisions regarding end-of-life care for the elderly -- the so-called "death panels" -- is "ludicrous" and an "extraordinary lie."

He also disputed charges that the overhaul would pay for abortions and care for illegal immigrants.

He said the reforms aim to carry out one of God's commandments.

"I am my brother's keeper. I am my sister's keeper," Obama said.

He called health reform a "core ethical and moral obligation."

The president acknowledged that the effort has met with deeply inflamed opposition from people who don't trust the federal government to carry out such a plan when every government health program already now faces bankruptcy.

He likened his current situation to that of Franklin D. Roosevelt when opponents called him "socialist."

"I'm going to need the help of all of you," Obama said.

The president spoke to the faith leaders after meeting with 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson at the White House.

Pastors, rabbis and preachers from every part of the country joined the call and prayed for health reform and told woeful stories about parishioners without adequate health care.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, "I think the president would orbit the moon if he thought it would help."

Meanwhile, the administration said it still hopes for a bipartisan breakthrough on its far-reaching goals of expanding health coverage, controlling costs and increasing competition among insurers.

"The president believes strongly in working with Republicans and Democrats, independents, any that seek to reform health care," Gibbs said.

Privately, however, top Democrats said a bipartisan accord seems less likely than ever, and they are preparing strategies for a one-party legislative push.

1 comment:

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Holy O? Yes, he thinks so.