Look, I'm sick of political speech today. You ask whatever you want, and I'll tell you how I really feel. Seriously, I know this is off the record anyway.
Maddup: Ok, Mr. President. Why don't we start with health care? What do you think of the current version of the bill?Obama: [Laughs] Well, John, like most Americans, I don't have the slightest idea what all is in that bill. Even most of the people in Congress haven't read the whole thing. You think I'm going to read it? Like I have that kind of time. Please.
Maddup: But sir, how can you support reform if you aren't clear on the details?
Obama: It's very simple. First, I do know that this bill will increase the role of the federal government. Naturally, as head of the federal government, I'm strongly in favor of any expansion of government power. Who wouldn't be? Second, if we pass this bill, I'll get credit for doing something to solve a major problem. People want their government to do something. Passing a big piece of legislation makes it look like we are on the job, taking care of the public, and not just sitting around.
Maddup: But what if it doesn't solve the problems? What if it makes them worse, or creates new problems?
Obama: That could happen. But if it does it'll be the fault of Republicans.
Maddup: How's that? They aren't writing the bill.
Maddup: I don't understand, Sir.
Obama: Let's see if I can explain. Democrats control Congress, and of course I'm the president, so you'd think anything that went wrong would be our fault, right? Wrong! We control Congress, true. But Republicans can block things. Plus we have those conservative and moderate weasels in our own party; but let's focus on the GOP. If it weren't for the GOP I could do what I really want, and that's to just nationalize the whole health care system.
Maddup: So you would like to have single-payer national health insurance?
Obama: Of course! But I can't get it because of the GOP. If this bloated monstrosity of a bill screws things up it will ultimately be the fault of Republicans.
Maddup: Ok, Mr. President, I think I see where you are coming from now. Thanks for the explanation.
Obama: No problem, John. One other point I should mention. No matter what else happens with this bill, if we get it passed it will increase government control over health care, as I said before. That's a first step to single-payer. You've got to take a first step before you can reach the finish line. Oops, sorry about that. I slipped back into political speech mode there for a second.
Maddup: That's ok, sir. I know it must be hard to turn it off. Before we move on to other issues, let me ask you one final question regarding health care.
Obama: Hit me.
Maddup: What do you say to those who already have good insurance, and are worried that reform will actually lower the quality of their policies, increase costs, and cause their taxes to rise?
Obama: I say, come on now. When has more government ever lowered quality and efficiency or increased costs? Let's be serious. Who doesn't think that government insurance bureaucrats won't do a better job than private insurance bureaucrats? As for taxes, since when are higher taxes a bad thing? I know I have to pretend to be against higher taxes, but the higher the taxes, the more money we have to work with. And that's a good thing.
Maddup: Alright, Mr. President. That about wraps up the health care issue. Let's turn to another topic.
[End Part One]