Top Five Moments from Obama's Address
Policy speeches don’t often make for good theater, but this one sure did: The president was heckled, made a preemptive verbal strike against the GOP, and even invoked the spirit of the late Ted Kennedy.
Obscure Congressional Rep. Heckles the President
It's hard to hear at first, but yes, at 1:29 into this video, the president of the United States is indeed heckled while addressing Congress. The outburst comes from Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, who shouts, "You lie!" as Obama argues that his health-care plan would not cover illegal immigrants.
Tough Talk: "The Time for Bickering Is Over"
Halfway through his speech, Obama laid the smackdown on Congress. Taking no rhetorical prisoners, Obama said the bipartisan tussle over health care was hurting America and that "the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action...Now is the time to deliver on health care."
Obama Quotes Letter from Ted Kennedy
No doubt this would have been the evening's most dramatic moment had Joe Wilson been feeling a little less impulsive. With Ted Kennedy's widow seated next to Michelle Obama, the president described a letter he received from Kennedy, in which Kennedy argued that health-care reform is a "moral issue" and that "that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country."
My Door Is Always Open, However...
Obama reached across the aisle quite a bit, but here he does so to give his opponents a warning. After saying he welcomed bipartisan input into his health-care proposal, he cautioned against those using misinformation and "death panel" rumor-mongering to derail the plan, saying, "I will not stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep things exactly the way they are. If you misrepresent what's in the plan, we will call you out."
Obama Forces Uncomfortable Smile from Former Rival
Obama gave John McCain what appeared to be an unwanted shoutout for championing the idea of low-cost coverage for those who can't get insurance because of pre-existing conditions. "This was a good idea when Senator John McCain proposed it in the campaign, it's a good idea now, and we should embrace it," Obama said, as McCain gave the I'll-be-a-good-sport smile.