September 21st, 2010
07:28 AM ET

Vets CFO on Obama: 'I am exhausted of defending you'

President Obama was hearing an earful from voters at a town hall meeting in the nation’s capitol yesterday.

Anger and disappointment was voiced by many in attendance, including Velma Hart, Chief Financial Officer for “American Vets” and Ted Brassfield, a law school grad. Hart and Brassfield spoke with CNN's Kiran Chetry on "American Morning's" about their feelings on Obama and clarified some of their statements from the town hall.

Kiran Chetry: Velma, when you said you were getting tired of defending the president, it's exhausting. Have you lost faith in the president? Or do you think it's simply the circumstances we're in that he doesn't necessarily have control of.

Velma Hart: It is absolutely the latter. But I don't know that he doesn't have control of it. I still have great faith in this president. I think that he is an amazing leader. I think he is inspirational.

Kiran Chetry: Ted, you asked whether or not you thought the "American Dream" was still attainable. Why did you choose that question? I know that you had a lot on your mind. You had a lot that you discussed among your friends. Why did you ask about the "American Dream?"

Ted Brassfield: Well, it's a real problem that a lot of us who have advanced degrees - and people who are going to college, maybe they don't know why they went to college. But we are facing massive student loans. The entire generation is just often facing six figures even when you go to public universities. And you have people like me who had good jobs but went back to school. Society says if you work hard, if you go to school, we will have good jobs for you. And that's why it's - you're willing to take on a massive amount of debt. And it seems like that's been lost. And it's really hurting a lot of my cohort.

Kiran Chetry: Did you get the answer you were looking for from the president or any more clarity on it?

Ted Brassfield: I think that unfortunately I felt that the president answered very effectively all of the other questions he was asked by the audience. But like Velma, I thought that I had given him a lay-up to say this is why you should still have hope. And he didn't say that. He didn't answer it at all.

Kiran Chetry: Well, Velma, you said you're exhausted defending him. What do people who have criticisms of the president that talk to you say? What are their biggest beefs?

Velma Hart: That he's all talk and no action, which I absolutely disagree with. I think the health care reform bill is action. I think the student loan legislation is action. I think there are - even, you know, like it or hate it, even the financial reform is action. So I don't get that argument. And I - and I get pretty passionate about it. I can't tell you I stand on top of tables and, you know, bang my head against the wall, but I believe in him. And I - you know, there's something about what he communicates that makes me believe that he's got a plan. I just - I’m tired of having debate - I think this is a moment of poker or something for me, maybe blackjack or 21. I want to have a card on the table that shuts the discussion and I don't have that yet.

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soundoff (502 Responses)
  1. Stoprunning

    It's not as bad as Foxnews likes to claim.

    It's hard to listen to anyone who repeats manufactured controversy they've heard on that news channel.

    September 21, 2010 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. Snakeoil

    Hey, here is a radical idea..........Lets try some good ole DEMAND side economics and trash the whole VOODOO and WITCHCRAFT supply side nonsense.......

    September 21, 2010 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. Scott H

    I think he's shown plenty of action- mostly bad, however. Prime example- Pushing a health-care bill down our throats that, unsurprisingly, forces working people who have done the right things to actually pay MORE for insurance, because now they are paying for those who cannot afford it too. (Ah...the Left.) Does anybody remember when the debate (during the election) was about the AFFORDABILITY of heatlh care and how high the bills were? Then it totally turned when Obama got elected and he wanted to spam collectivist healthcare. (As many on the right predicted he would, despite his claim to be all about "affordability".) Now we see the congressional accounting office revising the projected figures and saying "whoops" on the cost projections already. Now, not only will our health care bills increase, but working people will be taxed to pay for the non-working people's health care.

    Affordability has left the discussion, and the press (including CNN) has let it happen without taking this administration to task on it.

    September 21, 2010 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
    • socalreader

      Excellent comments – and don't forget – the health care providers keep getting less and less reimbursement (insurance company decision) individuals pay more and more for co-pay's deductibles, etc. while our premiums sky-rocket! Read Wellpoint health's 2nd quarter results – not only are they rolling in profits, they're socking away millions and millions of dollars 'in reserves' so they don't have to show the insane amounts of profit they are making.
      Great job reforming healthcare Mr. Obama and Congress. My premiums go up, my care diminishes, but insurance companies win – now how is it that this is reform? Total incompetence.
      "Our quarterly results exceeded our expectation primarily due to higher-than-anticipated favorable reserve development and continued strong performance in our capital management areas. We are also seeing positive results in our core operations from many of the strategic initiatives we put in place over the last two years," said Angela F. Braly, chair, president and chief executive officer. "It is our goal to make health care reform work for our customers and the country. We will continue working collaboratively with our industry partners, the health care delivery system and governmental agencies as the regulations for health care reform are developed."

      September 21, 2010 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. smc

    Democrats have had a lot of successes over the past year and a half. Unfortunately, as usual, they have let Republicans frame the argument and diminish their successes (stabilized the failing economy, healthcare reform, college loan reform, PAYGO, financial re-regulation, etc.) and turn each of them into a negative. I certainly feel for these people who feel they're left defending what Democrcats won't take their own credit for.

    Republicans currently don't have one idea that's good for the average American – but they'll keep cramming the same failed ideas down our throats claiming they're good for us. Say it enough times and their sheeple just eat it up.

    September 21, 2010 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • socalreader

      Repubicans don't have one idea? Only to the mindless followers of a cheap soundbite message of a failing leader. Open your ears and listen, and you'll hear lots of ideas from republicans, and others. You just don't want to hear anything other than 'everyone else's mess is my fault', and 'we have to borrow more'. Takes no responsibility and answers everything with 'just keep charging on the credit card – we have to have it now, and somehow we'll pay for it later'. My idea is very, very clear and simple SPEND LESS MONEY. period. End of statement.

      September 21, 2010 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • smc

      socalreader, Republicans have a terrible track record at "spending less money". All they want to do is cut taxes and deregulate, both of which are designed to funnel more money from us to the wealthy.

      September 21, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. Randy

    In response to the "it's Reagans fault", look to your ingenious Billy Carter for the start of deregulating, because like all Democrats, he had the illusion we should share the wealth with the lazy pieces of sh/t who refused to earn a living by means of a job but have the RIGHT to the same standard of living as the working class...

    September 21, 2010 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Oliver Z

      Do you call all the people who have lost their jobs lazy?
      Sharing the wealth is about helping people get up when they are down. Leave no one behind. Before the collapse, the poor people were paying their loans. But the war and the outsourcing sucked the money out of the lower layers, bringing those poor people down, and thanks to Wall Street's gambling, everyone else with then. Seems like poetic justice. But blaming it on the poor is just shameless and shows that you do not understand the causes and effects of the collapse. Many people don't. And the right wing propaganda becomes easy to digest. Hate the poor, hate the blacks, hate the muslims, it's their fault. What would they have us do in a few years? Put them in concentration camps? Find a final solution to the problem they pose? Don't you see where this is going?

      September 21, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  6. Eric Tedford

    Now that the recession officially ended last year, can we assume it is Bush's fault? Does he get credit for that one?

    September 21, 2010 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |

    How is the President inspirational? That's too easy to answer. The President was born to a young mother, who raised him, with the help of his grandparents. He wasn't rich. His grandfather made into the middle class through the GI Bill. He rose to the top through education, and hard work. He helped others through public service as a lawyer, and Professor. He made his millions as an author. There was nothing in his family that pre disposed him to the Presidency.
    This is as American a story as ever. I personally hope the country succeeds, and Obama gets a second term.

    September 21, 2010 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Eric Tedford

      Let's not forget all of His friends that inspired him. Rev Wright, Bill Ayers, ...

      September 21, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. Snakeoil

    Reagan sold your daddy a bucket of pooh and made him like it..............He is still stuck on s t o o p i d.....

    September 21, 2010 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. socalreader

    My complaint about Obama is not 'all talk no action'. It is lots of action, horrible results. Anyone who thinks healthcare reform is even modestly successful doesn't pay for the premiums. I am a health care provider – insurance companies keep dropping what they pay me, while increasing what they charge you each year – by 30-40% last year alone! He had the opportunity to really reform our care, and instead, was the insurance companies puppet.
    The economy is significantly worse than it was before he took office. We acquired massive amounts of debt to sure up failing companies (GM, banks, etc.), and gave union and wall street execs huge perks while the average American continues to struggle. Even look at foreign policy – Iran now laughs at us, kidnaps our citizens, and continues to become a nuclear nation while we wag our finger at them and tell them 'if they don't stop, we'll do something' – we sound like a pathetic parent of a screaming two year old. Mexico effectively has a civil war going on which is spilling over into our borders, and we are ignoring a potentially huge catastrophe there. Imagine a major power shift in Mexico that allows terrorist training camps from the middle east now in Mexico, in exchange for money, weapons, etc. What then, Mr Obama and Ms. Clinton? Back to the UN for more discussions?
    Anyone who defends this man's leadership has their head completely covered in the sand. He is the worst thing that could have happened to our country.

    September 21, 2010 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Oliver Z

      I will not get tired of defending him. Yes, surely not pefect, I wish he was superman with the brain of Einstein and the wisdom of Gandhi but let me tell you what you have now that you did not have before:

      – A Health Care system that at least can not discriminate people (Public option would have been better, but don't forget how the GOP did everything to kill it and succeeded)

      – Financial Reform (The banks are not gonna have their way as easily)

      – Student Loan reform (the future kids will have debt to pay, but they will have the education to pay it with, that is the price for the survival of America today so there is a future)

      – The banks as much as I hate them have paid much of the bailout money they were given.

      – American Car Companies survived and are now getting better (if they had gone bankrupt the ENTIRE industrial structure of the US would have collapsed. Yes.... I mean everything)

      – Iran: The US has not done any of the things that extremists use to justify their hate towards America. America has instead led by the power of example and shown a legitimate interest in making peace with those countries by respecting them, not threatening to nuke them. As long as America holds on to this kind of power no one can stand against it. But if we use military might and torture even our friends will end up hating us. It is slow, it doesn't bring immediate results... So what? Grow up! Peace is not a Whopper with Cheese!

      – Mexico: I agree with you. Something must be done, but I am not sure that I know all about what is being done given that I get my news from the mainstream media, and if it's not bad news, we don't get it. I know one thing. Honest people in Mexico and in the US risk their lives everyday to put an end to this. Let's demand that they get the help they need. In Costa Rica I know the American Army has been allowed to go in and help the patroling efforts, so things are being done. Of course you don't see that in the news.

      – My last thought? Wall Street and the Evil Greedy Capitalists that only play with money and do not produce anything are the worst thing that could have ever happened to the entire Earth. Bush was bad but whoever designed the war was even worse.

      – Obama is probably the best thing America has now, but we need to be smarter to notice because he doesn't rub what he does in our faces so we the people must do it for him. Don't get tired of defending the truth, and if you don't know what the truth is find it, do not listen to one voice, listen to all of them and dig the facts from the chaos.

      He did not cause this, so shut up and let the man work.

      September 21, 2010 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • termlimits

      Oliver Z says: "LEAVE OBAMA ALONE!!" LOL!!

      September 21, 2010 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Oliver Z

      If Chris Crocker had said "Let the Girl Work" it wouldn't have been funny...

      So when the Reps said "Let Bush be Bush" was that funny? Can't remember anyone laughing because we were all so scared to dissent on fear of being called terrorists and sent to Guantanamo.

      September 21, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • maggie

      Socal, you're running an awful lot of things together here. The only thing I hear from Republicans is a lot of "no" and a lot of high schoolish personal bashing. With respect to your diminished profits, I totally understand. My brothers are all physicians in small towns and have the same complaints - complaints they have had for years, long before Obama and any health care reform. So long as the insurance companies have the lobby that they do, in Republican politicians primarily by the way, they will continue to wield shock and awe on both providers and patients and would have continued to do so with or without the health care bill. This is not a new problem and to insinuate that it is under Obama is just blind rhetoric.

      Yes, we acquired massive amounts of debt - debt which started under TARP in the Bush administration. While I was just as angry about that as anyone else and even more angry at the way the banks treated consumers and taxpayers who shored them up thereafter, in retrospect, it was the right thing to do and much of that debt has been repaid.

      Re Iran, they have always laughed at us, as you put it. A quick search into the news archives demonstrates this. Iran didn't become who they are today in the past 18 months. Ditto with Mexico.

      No one person from any party was going to fix these problems in a year and a half nor do I expect them to be fixed in the very near future, by anyone. Your post was about as blind and rhetorical as many I've seen. Get your historical facts straight. Really.

      September 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. clr

    well – AM VETS is definitely an organization I won't be supporting anymore.

    September 21, 2010 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Clear

      Writing down their name and crossing it out? Let's get it clear what you mean.
      And if you never supported them before in the past,CLR, it doesn't really lend any support to your statement. Only you would know that.
      And if you DID support them up to now, and you separate yourself from them over some small matter–well that doesn't speak well of you personally or professionally.

      September 21, 2010 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. SM

    The recession started October of 2007 and officialy ended June 2009. Obama took over a mess and avoided a depression which we were heading to January 2009. With this much damage he cannot ficx the economy in 18 months it will take 5-10 years to recover from this downfall. Subprime and manufacturing leaving the U.S for the past 10 years are to blame for the disaster not Obama.

    September 21, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  12. nlc

    We're all exhausted by Obama. What a miserable failure he is!

    September 21, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. futuremommy

    They are tired of defending him because there is no defense.

    September 21, 2010 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  14. lkjg

    Amazing how many Rightwingers are actually HOPING America fails just because they dont like having a Democrat as President. Look at them all praying our economy collapses. Scary stuff. Bunch of traitors. Wish they would leave our country.

    September 21, 2010 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Eric Tedford

      Who's hoping America fails? I'm hoping Obama's policies fail.

      September 21, 2010 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • DC

      I agree. Their just scared. because they see there power at end.

      September 21, 2010 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  15. Char

    these people were hand picked by the obama people and still are unhappy with obama. whats that tell you?

    September 21, 2010 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
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