President Barack Obama: Does he still have the power? (AP)

President Barack Obama, facing a public that no longer trusts him, Republicans who dog his every move and Democrats who prefer re-election to supporting the leader of their party, bumped up the rhetoric Saturday in a last-ditch effort to sell his faltering health care program.

In his Saturday radio and Internet address, Obama honed in on Republicans and insurance companies in another desperate plea to convince Congress to finally pass reform of the health care system.

Said the President:

Now, despite all the progress and improvements we’ve made, Republicans in Congress insist that the only acceptable course on health care is to start over. But you know what? The insurance companies aren’t starting over, I just met with some of them on Thursday, and they couldn’t give me a straight answer as to why they keep arbitrarily and massively raising premiums — by as much as 60 percent in states like Illinois. If we do not act, they will continue to do this.

Obama’s strident remarks signal his strongest rhetoric yet on health care reform, which has languished in Congress for a year now but critics say his renewed push for reform ignores the facts.

Responding to the President’s remarks, Alabama Republican Rep. Parker Griffith, a former Democrat who switch parties last year to showcase his displeasure with the President’s policies, said:

It’s not too late: we can, and we must, stop this government takeover of health care. Make your voice heard now. America deserves better.

For (Democrats), health care reform has become less about the best reforms and more about what best fits their ‘Washington knows best’ mentality — less about helping patients and more about scoring political points. This is no idle observation. I’ve witnessed it firsthand.

To pass the health care bill, Obama and Democratic leaders need some of the 55 Democrats who voted against health care reform in the House last year to change their vote.

But some strategists tell Capitol Hill Blue that a bigger problem lies with Democrats who voted for the bill last time around.

“There’s no guarantee the majority that voted with the President will do so again,” one said. “They want to be re-elected this November.”

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Doug Thompson published his first story and photo at age 11 -- a newspaper article about racism and the Klan in Prince Edward County, VA, in 1958. From that point on, he decided to become a newspaperman and did just that -- reporting news and taking photos full-time at his hometown paper, becoming the youngest full-time reporter at The Roanoke Times in Virginia in 1965 and spent most of the past 55+ years covering news around the country and the globe. After a short sabbatical as a political operative in Washington in the 1980s, he returned to the news profession in 1992. Today, he is a contract reporter/photojournalist for BHMedia and owns Capitol Hill Blue and other news websites.


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