Democrat Cardin rebutts Steele's attack on Obama health plan

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The Democratic National Committee turned to Maryland Sen. Benjamin Cardin to deliver a rebuttal to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s speech Monday attacking the Obama administration’s health care reform plans.

Not coincidently, Senator Cardin defeated Chairman Steele in a hard fought 2006 race for the Senate.

Trading charges

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Cardin charged that Steele had “really politicized the debate on health care” by calling Obama’s proposals an experiment and socialism during a speech and question and answer session at the National Press Club Monday morning.

In a brief conference call with reporters, the Maryland Senator also offered a rebuttal to comments made Friday by South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint (R) that, “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo…It will break him.”

“As President Obama pointed out, this is not about him,” Cardin said after citing the Waterloo remark. The issue is “ whether the American people will have access to quality healthcare.”

In a day of charge and counter-charge, Cardin claimed that Steele and his fellow Republicans “will say no to anything President Obama suggests. I don’t think it has anything to do with the policy underlying the proposals.”

Obama: tough talk and giving ground

Cardin’s comments came on day when the President vowed to fight “the politics of the moment.” Speaking at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, Obama said, “We can’t afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to health care.”

The President also gave some ground Monday in the health reform battle. Until today, his stated goal was to get reform legislation passed before Congress took its August recess. In his health care remarks Monday, Obama said, “Let’s pass reform by the end of this year.”

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