President Barack Obama resumed his push to overhaul the health care system on Saturday night, telling a largely black audience that there comes a time when “the cup of endurance runs over” and to remember the “fierce urgency of right now.”
In a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual dinner, Obama said the country has been waiting for health reform since the days of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman.
The Senate Finance Committee is in the process of amending a health care bill introduced by Chairman Max Baucus of Montana.
Obama spent the past week focused on international issues meeting with world leaders in New York and Pittsburgh.
Before becoming president, Barack Obama was the only senator in the all-Democratic, 42-member Congressional Black Caucus. He wasn’t particularly active in the group and isn’t especially close to many of its members.
Animosity toward the president and his policies has boiled over in recent weeks, most notably with South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” comment during Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress on health care. Democrats from Jimmy Carter on down have blamed the increasingly harsh criticism of Obama on racism.
Obama says it’s not racism but an intense debate over the proper role of government.