President Barack Obama, normally a surefooted salesman, is struggling to convince Americans that the $1 trillion U.S. healthcare system overhaul he is pushing would be good for them.
After successfully pushing through a $787 billion economic stimulus plan and spending many billions more on bank and auto bailouts, Obama was forced to concede on Thursday that Congress will not approve healthcare legislation by his August deadline.
A healthcare overhaul was a centerpiece of Obama’s presidential campaign and he has invested a great deal of his personal prestige and his six months in office on it.
He would suffer a stinging blow to his young presidency if it were to fail like President Bill Clinton’s 1993 effort.
Obama pinpointed one problem he is having at a news conference on Wednesday night when he said Americans are “understandably queasy” about all the money being spent to stimulate the economy.
“We’re seeing numbers — trillions here and trillions there. And so I think legitimately people are saying, ‘look, we’re in a recession, I’m cutting back, I’m having to give up things — and yet all I see is government spending more and more money,'” he said.