Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia took President Barack Obama to task this morning for his lack of leadership on health-care reform.
He blew up on Obama’s signature legislative achievement, calling the manner in which he handled it a disaster and questioning whether it could cost him Virginia’s electoral votes this November.
“I’ll be real frank here,” Webb said at a Bloomberg News breakfast, according to The Washington Post. “I think that the manner in which the health-care reform issue was put in front of the Congress, the way that the issue was dealt with by the White House, cost Obama a lot of credibility as a leader.”
YIKES. The Republican National Committee is already licking its chops, sending out an email entitled: “They Said It! Democrat Senator Said ObamaCare Cost Obama ‘A Lot Of Credibility As A Leader.'”
Webb went on to criticise Obama for playing too small of a role in the formation of the health-care law, something Obama did consciously to attempt to avoid a similar fiasco as Bill Clinton’s failed 1994 attempt at reform.
Webb voted for the law, which is considered Obama’s signature legislative achievement. But the WaPo points out that he also has voted for more than a dozen GOP-sponsored amendments to the bill. Webb is not running for re-election this year.
“If you were going to do something of this magnitude, you have to do it with some clarity, with a clear set of objectives from the White House. … It should have been done with better direction from the White House. … Five different congressional committees voted out their version of health-care reform, and so you had 7,000 pages of contradictory information. Everybody got confused. … From that point forward, Obama’s had a difficult time selling himself as a decisive leader.”
The Obama campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Webb’s statements.
Webb cautioned that the lack of leadership — which has led to record unfavorability ratings for Obamacare amid an upcoming Supreme Court decision on its constitutionality — could cost Obama this November in Virginia.
Obama won Virginia by about 6 percentage points in 2008.
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