Obama messes with Ted Cruz and Texas
By CHARLIE SPIERING | NOVEMBER 7, 2013 AT 11:30 AM
President Obama flew straight to Texas Wednesday to deliver a speech in Dallas about why he believes Obamacare is a good thing.
But he also wanted to lecture Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz, two of the most prominent Republican opponents of Obamacare.
Perry and other Republicans in Texas government refuse to support the Medicaid expansion made possible for states under Obamacare.
They are following the lead of many Republican governors who claim doing so will break their states' budgets because the federal government only covers a small part of the costs.
Obama, however, views the uninsured citizens of Texas as a hole in his universal health care plan that needs to be filled.
"I think that all of you understand that there's no state that actually needs this more than Texas," Obama told his Dallas audience.
Obama complained that Republicans have opposed the program at every turn, especially since the botched rollout of the healthcare.gov website.
"So one of the things that sometimes gets me a little frustrated … is folks who are complaining about how the website is not working, and why isn’t Obama fixing this, and all these people are uninsured, and yet they're leaving a million people right now without health insurance that they could immediately fix," Obama complained. "There’s not a lot of logic to that."
Later in the evening, Obama attended two fundraisers for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee with wealthy Texas liberals.
Obama said most Republicans were anxious to get things done in Washington, but warned that a "fairly extreme faction" was torpedoing his efforts.
"We could name for you a whole bunch of Republicans who are good and decent people who are as frustrated as we are in some ways about what's happened to their party," he said.
"But right now at least, there's a group that — and a few of them are from Texas, I've got to admit who just aren't willing to do the hard work and the compromise necessary to move the country forward," he said.
Obama pointedly mentioned "at least one senator from Texas" in criticizing the harsh tactics used by Republicans to block his signature health care program.
"The insurance plans that are out there for people for the first time are going to save lives and save people money," he said, "But that attitude is something that we’ve got to change, and you have the power to change it."
Obama encouraged Democratic donors present at the event to punish Republicans for shutting down the government and threatening Obamacare.
"If they don't see a cost for those kinds of strategies, then they’ll keep doing it," he said. "And the only way to extract a cost when it comes to politicians is during election time."
In response, Perry ridiculed Obama for blaming Texas for problems with Obamacare, predicting a "Titanic fate" for the unpopular program.
"Mr. President, Texans aren’t the reason Obamacare is crumbling; Obamacare is the reason Obamacare is crumbling,” he said.