Landrieu criticizes Obama over healthcare, speech

Louisiana Democrat says reform "on life support," president "should have been more clear"

By Alex Koppelman
Published January 28, 2010 5:48PM (EST)

President Obama obviously needed to reach, and convince, the American people with his State of the Union address Wednesday night. But there may have been an audience more important for him in the short-term: All the nervous Congressional Democrats who need to feel comfortable backing his agenda, especially on issues like healthcare reform. On that score, it seems like Obama may have fallen a bit short.

After saying that reform is "on life support, unfortunately," Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., told reporters Thursday that Obama hadn't done enough with his speech to change that. "He should have been more clear, and I am hoping that in the next week or two he will because that is what it is going to take if it is at all possible to get it done. Mailing in general suggestions, sending them over the transom, is not necessarily going to work.”

Landrieu also criticized the president for having called out the Senate for being slow to pass legislation already approved by the House, saying it was "a little strange, a little odd." It's hard not to hear her talking about herself when she went on to say, "Moderate Senate Democrats, who give the Senate the 60 votes, come from states that have to appreciate a broad range of ideas." She's got a tough political situation in Louisiana, and has been slow to join her Democratic colleagues in supporting the president's agenda for just that reason.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Barack Obama Healthcare Reform Mary Landrieu D-la. State Of The Union