Obama On Healthcare: "Sensible And Reasoned Arguments" Will Prevail

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) -- President Barack Obama predicted Monday that Congress would pass his sweeping health care overhaul this fall as more "sensible and reasoned arguments" prevail. But he said immigration changes, another politically explosive subject, would have to wait until next year.

At a North American summit in Mexico, the president also delivered an animated defense of U.S. efforts to help restore Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a June 28 coup. He said critics of his policy in Honduras smacked of "hypocrisy," faulting the United States for being too heavy-handed in Latin America and yet telling him he has not intervened enough in this instance.

Obama spoke at a news conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, where he confronted questions on both his foreign and domestic agendas, from drugs in Mexico to the testy health care fight at home.

The president never made direct mention of a matter roiling Washington - the outbursts and hot tempers that have disrupted town halls on health care around the country. Republicans are pointing to them as signs of public dissatisfaction with Obama's health care efforts, while Democrats have accused Republicans of trying to sabotage the democratic discussion.

Said Obama: "I suspect that once we get into the fall and people look at the actual legislation that's being proposed, that more sensible and reasoned arguments will emerge, and we're going to get this passed."

He also spelled out a more detailed timeline on immigration change. The president said he expected draft legislation for an immigration overhaul this year but the matter would not get priority attention until 2010.

"We have a broken immigration system. Nobody denies it," Obama said. But politically and legislatively, the matter stands behind health care, energy legislation and an overhaul of financial regulatory rules on Obama's first-term agenda.

"It's very important for us to sequence these big initiatives in a way where they don't all just crash at the same time," he said.

On Mexico's turf, Obama backed Calderon and his efforts to take on drug cartels during a spiraling war on drugs and guns. Washington is debating whether to withhold money to help fight the powerful cartels because of allegations that the Mexican military has been guilty of human rights abuses.

Obama said he had great confidence that under Calderon "human rights will be observed."

Calderon said the Mexican government has an "absolute and categorical" commitment to human rights.

Targeting the long and painful recession, Obama said that he and the other two leaders agreed to take "aggressive, coordinated action" to restore growth across North America.

Noting the huge trading partnership among the three neighbors, Obama said that commerce must be expanded, not restricted.

Obama said that a "Buy America" provision in the giant economic stimulus package earlier this year had not hurt trade with Canada. "I do think it's important to keep this in perspective," he said. "This in no way has endangered the billions of dollars in trade taking place between our two countries."

Harper rallied behind Obama on Honduras. "If I were an American, I would be really fed up with this kind of hypocrisy," he said.

Obama said his administration has been clear in its view that Zelaya was forced out of his post illegally, and he said the U.S. is working with international bodies to send that message. "If these critics think that it's appropriate for us to suddenly act in ways that in every other context they consider inappropriate, then I think what that indicates is that maybe there's some hypocrisy involved in their approach to U.S.-Latin American relations," Obama said. He did not name any critics.

Started by George W. Bush in 2005 near his Texas ranch, the North American Leaders Summit has become an annual showcase on trade. Canada is the top U.S. trading partner, while Mexico is number three.

This year, as the U.S. economy struggles out of a crippling recession, the leaders met at the Institutos Cabanas, a 19th century home for poor children that's now a sprawling art museum with 23 arched courtyards filled with grapefruit and mango trees.

Streets around the complex were sealed off by heavily armed federal agents and police in riot gear.

The security stemmed in part from the drug wars that have raged in Mexico since Calderon deployed the army in an effort to crush the country's notorious cartels. Some 11,000 people have perished in the conflict.

In a separate meeting with Calderon, Obama voiced strong support of the offensive, but Calderon expressed concerns about delays in the latest installment of U.S. aid under the $1.4 billion Merida Initiative.

Calderon also pressed Obama on allowing Mexican trucks access to U.S. highways. Mexicans suggest the U.S. limits are less about safety - the stated reason - than protecting American hauling companies from competition under the NAFTA free trade accord.

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  • by Benny Location: Chocowinity,NC on Aug 10, 2009 at 06:13 PM
    Hi Lavon -- Remember the Beatles song "When I an 64." Under Obama's health care plan. Now you are old now we the Democratic Liberal Socialist Marxist Government can not afford your health costs anymore here is your pill,so you will not make 65 it is for the good of the people. No wonder Obama has no real birth certificate?
  • by Alex on Aug 10, 2009 at 05:47 PM
    You should all be careful less you end up in one of Obama's intern camps. The Homeland security department has labeled you as extreme and they are looking to train soldiers for internment camps. Wonder what thet means?
  • by CCC Location: Greenville on Aug 10, 2009 at 04:56 PM
    Well this just in from CBS news; seems obama has struck a deal w/ the pharma companies for their full support of his obamacare and not releasing all details. Seems one trade off was obama not pushing pharmas to decrease med costs for seniors; which coincidentally goes right along w/ his seniors are not productive attitude portion of the obamacare.(Read between the lines people-its not just a saying). Seems I remember him blasting the pharma industry for being GREEDY. Even his fellow dems are POed about this. I really believe now that obama thinks that we are ALL idiots and he is the smartest man alive. And this arrogant beep-beep-beep has the nerve to call Americans arrogant. People, this so-called president does not give a rats --- about regular Joe. He just wants to be able to say 'look at the great accomplishment I did. Something the rest has not been able to do for 20 years'. Hey Lavon, your messiah is even betraying you now. Now that's funny and I love it.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 10, 2009 at 04:49 PM
    The more Lavon drools, the more I begin to really doubt Obama.
  • by MrT Location: LaNC on Aug 10, 2009 at 04:15 PM
    The president(Manuel Zelaya) was removed by the Army on June 28, 2009 and expatriated to Costa Rica, in accordance with the will of the Supreme Court and the Honduran Legislature. His own political party also supported the removal, according to the legal advisor to the Honduran Armed Forces, Col. Bayardo Inestroza.[18] The head of Congress Roberto Micheletti succeeded him formally, but no country has recognized the change in office.[19][20][21](Does Obama want to overide the Honduran Supreme Court?Or the Honduran Legislator? Sounds like he wants to rule the world, huh? So did Hitler, Stalin,Ghengis Khan,Mongols, etc. Some fine company to keep Obama).
  • by Veto Location: NC on Aug 10, 2009 at 04:07 PM
    Physicians jammed a town hall meeting in The Woodlands last Thursday, expressing fears about the cost and effectiveness of a health care reform bill that could come up for a vote in Congress as early as September. 90 physicians at Memorial Hermann Hospital-The Woodlands. "The bottom line is that doctors don't want socialized medicine - another flawed health care system like Medicare. They don't believe it will lower the costs or improve quality," "Medicare is already going bankrupt and not quality care. It also shifts medical costs onto other paying customers. Medicare it needs to be fixed first." The bill is designed to insure 94 percent of all Americans (excluding those covered by Medicare, which kicks in at age 65) and would cost an estimated $1.5 trillion over 10 years. The revenue to pay for it would come from $544 billion over the next decade in income taxes on single people making more than $280,000. Marxist Obama wants to have the government control your health care.
  • by MrT Location: LaNC on Aug 10, 2009 at 04:06 PM
    Harper has insisted on his right to choose who asks questions at press conferences,[98] which has caused the national media to lodge complaints.[99] Some have alleged that the Prime Minister's Office also "often informs the media about Harper's trips at such short notice that it's impossible for Ottawa journalists to attend the events".(Does this sound like Obama or what?)
  • by Sunny Location: NC on Aug 10, 2009 at 03:53 PM
    Obama in the fight over national health care. There's a new tone in the debate, and it's ugly. At the moment the Democrats are looking like something they haven't looked like in years, and that is Desperate. They must know at this point they should not have pushed a national health-care plan. A Democratic the other day called it "Hillary's revenge." When Mrs. Clinton started losing to Barack Obama in the primaries 18 months ago, she began to give new and sharper emphasis to her health-care plan. Mr. Obama responded by talking about his health-care vision. He won. Now he has push what he had been forced to highlight: Health care would be a priority initiative. The net result is falling support for his leadership on the issue, falling personal polls, and the angry town-hall meetings that have electrified. Obama might become the worse president ever elected.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 10, 2009 at 03:30 PM
    Nitwits love obuma, I do not!
  • by Anonymous on Aug 10, 2009 at 03:24 PM
    Lavon, do NOT speak for me.
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