Bill Clinton and Al Gore teamed up at the at the Tennessee Democratic Party’s annual Jackson Day Dinner this past weekend to tout the moral imperative of passing Obamacare.
The duo, fresh from the dramatic and emotional burial services for Sen. Ted Kennedy, carried forth the theme that the dream of the late “Lion of the Senate” will never die. Kennedy was a longtime forceful advocate of universal healthcare.
“You need to back these congressmen and let them know you’re not going to let them be steamrollered by a bunch of people who have been frightened,” Clinton said. “Don’t let anybody tell you that President Obama wants to ration health care,” the Politico reports.
“I’m not a very good politician anymore; I just say what I think,” Clinton added. “But I have been waiting for this for 40 years ... to recreate the American dream.”
“I don’t think all these people are coming to these town meetings raising Cain with your congressman in bad faith. I think they’ve had the daylights scared out of them. And I get it,” Clinton said in reference to the volatile town hall meetings that have been staged across the country.
“We need to pass a bill this year. Doing nothing is not only the worst thing we can do for the economy, it’s the worst thing we can do for the country. It’s also the worst thing we can do for the Democrats,” Clinton added, according to a report in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
“Democrats, you stay in there with your congressmen and you get this done,” he concluded.
Gore, a former Senator from Tennessee, also touted healthcare but kept his remarks much briefer than the former President’s.
“We have a lot of talk about liberal and conservative, and left and right, but when there are tens-of-millions of people in our country who can’t get access to health care, we need to pass health care reform this year. Build support for it. Let's give President Obama the victory our country needs,” Gore said, prompting a standing ovation.
Clinton went into detail in his remarks, noting among other things that currently healthcare costs Americans 16.5 percent of their hard-earned income, compared to the 10.5 percent residents of other advanced nations pay, and the difference means Americans pay between $800 to $900 billion more per year.
“That 800 to 900 billion is going somewhere. And the ‘somewhere’ doesn’t want to give it up,” Clinton noted, according to the Appeal.
“Al Gore is the best vice president this country ever had,” Clinton said, crediting Gore for his behind-the-scenes role in orchestrating the recent release of two journalists Clinton helped expatriate from North Korea.
While both men took time to remember the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, Gore was especially effusive, calling Kennedy “by far the most effective member of the United States Senate that I ever served with.”
“There were as many Republicans as Democrats in that church today,” Gore said, underscoring his belief that healthcare reform should be carried forward on a swell of non-partisanship.
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