Democratic Senator Says Some Oppose Obamacare Because Obama Is Black

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson responds, “God help you for implying I’m a racist.”

Jay Rockefeller 
National Journal
Michael Catalini
May 21, 2014, 4:20 p.m.

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4965) }}

A seni­or Demo­crat­ic sen­at­or sug­ges­ted Wed­nes­day that Pres­id­ent Obama’s race factored in­to op­pos­i­tion to the Af­ford­able Care Act, spark­ing out­rage on the part of one of his Re­pub­lic­an col­leagues.

The com­ments by Sen­ate Com­merce Com­mit­tee Chair­man Jay Rock­e­feller of West Vir­gin­ia, who’s re­tir­ing at the end of this year, came near the end of a hear­ing on a pro­vi­sion in the health care law that calls for in­sur­ance com­pan­ies to use most of what their cus­tom­ers pay in premi­ums on med­ic­al care, rather than on over­head and ad­min­is­trat­ive costs.

“I think it’s very im­port­ant to take a long view at what’s go­ing on,” Rock­e­feller said. “I’ll be able to dig up some emails that make part of the Af­ford­able Care Act that doesn’t look good — es­pe­cially from people who made up their mind that they don’t want it to work be­cause they don’t like the pres­id­ent. Maybe he’s of the wrong col­or, something of that sort. I’ve seen a lot of that and I know a lot of that to be true.

“Maybe he’s of the wrong col­or, something of that sort. I’ve seen a lot of that and I know a lot of that to be true.”

“It’s not something you’re meant to talk about in pub­lic but it’s something I’m talk­ing about in pub­lic be­cause that is very true,” he con­tin­ued. “[The Re­pub­lic­an] lead­er in the Sen­ate has com­mit­ted at the be­gin­ning of the pres­id­ent’s term to block every piece of le­gis­la­tion that the pres­id­ent puts for­ward, and they have done that with this ex­cep­tion and there have been oth­er ex­cep­tions, and I find that disin­genu­ous be­ha­vi­or.”

Rock­e­feller’s com­ments drew a heated re­buke from GOP Sen. Ron John­son of Wis­con­sin, who was elec­ted in the tea-party wave of 2010. John­son was the only sen­at­or to re­act to the com­ment be­cause oth­ers had already left the hear­ing room.

“It was re­gret­table and I would say it was of­fens­ive, see­ing as how I’m the only one in the room here really talk­ing about op­pos­i­tion, that you would play the race card, that you would say op­pos­i­tion to Obama­care ne­ces­sar­ily must stream from, in­ert, in­her­ent ra­cism — very of­fens­ive,” John­son told Rock­e­feller.

John­son went on to praise the health care sys­tem as it was be­fore Obama­care, cred­it­ing it with help­ing his daugh­ter, who was born with a heart con­di­tion.

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4966) }}

“So, no, I didn’t ob­ject to this be­cause of the race of the pres­id­ent,” he said. “I ob­jec­ted to this be­cause it is an as­sault on our free­dom. Mr. Chair­man, I have to ad­mit I have a great deal of re­spect for you and I’m the only one in the room and I found it very of­fens­ive that you would ba­sic­ally im­ply that I’m a ra­cist be­cause I op­posed this law.”

John­son ad­ded: “Please don’t as­sume. Don’t make im­plic­a­tions of what I’m think­ing and what I would sup­port. You have no idea.”

Rock­e­feller replied: “I ac­tu­ally do, you know. God help you.”

John­son: “No, sen­at­or, God help you for im­ply­ing I’m a ra­cist.”

Rock­e­feller: “I did not im­ply you’re a ra­cist.”

Rock­e­feller then veered in­to an­oth­er top­ic be­fore ad­journ­ing the hear­ing.

What We're Following See More »
BACKING OUT ON BERNIE
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”

AKNOWLEDGING THE INEVITABLE
UAW: Time to Unite Behind Hillary
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.

Source:
AP KEEPING COUNT
Trump Clinches Enough Delegates for the Nomination
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."

Source:
TRUMP FLOATED IDEA ON JIMMY KIMMEL’S SHOW
Trump/Sanders Debate Before California Primary?
2 days ago
THE LATEST
CAMPAIGNS INJECTED NEW AD MONEY
California: It’s Not Over Yet
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.

Source:
×