Conyers: Obama said I was "demeaning" him

The president reportedly called one of his liberal critics to talk about the criticism


Alex Koppelman
December 8, 2009 10:34PM (UTC)

Of all the liberals who've come out to criticize President Obama, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., might be the most prominent. And maybe the harshest, too.

"I'm getting tired of saving Obama's can in the White House. I mean, he only won [on healthcare] by five votes in the House, and this bill wasn't anything to write home about," Conyers said last month. "You know, holding hands out and beer on Friday nights in the White House and bowing down to every nutty right-wing proposal about health care, and saying on occasion that public options aren't all that important is doing a disservice to the Barack Obama that I first met who was an ardent single-payer enthusiast himself."

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Now, Conyers says he got a call from Obama, who wanted to discuss the congressman's comments.

"[Obama] called me and told me that he heard that I was demeaning him and I had to explain to him that it wasn’t anything personal, it was an honest difference on the issues. And he said, ‘Well, let’s talk about it,’” Conyers told the Hill for an article published Tuesday. The paper says Conyers told the president he didn't want to "chat," and that he'll be writing Obama soon.

The White House has, thus far, declined to comment on the story.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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