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. mark

    My bad Mike, I didn't know Barney Frank was a republican

    September 21, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. Paulie

    If Obama were doing all the right things there simply would be no need to defend him.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. Tanya

    Obama, I am african american and I voted for you. We trusted you.... I will never vote for you again!!!!!!!!!!!! That's IT!

    September 21, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Zen

      Obviously, like the rest of some of you, learn to rely on self and if you voted for Obama because you thought he had something magical then it's your ignorance that drove you like many others. For some of us, we r not relying on the decisions or indecisions of the current administration or the past, we managed our funds and all of the above. Get over it, get positive and come up with your own solutions and stop damn complaining. Stick to some solution or maybe you don't have any!

      September 21, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zen

      Obviously, like the rest of some of you, learn to rely on self and if you voted for Obama because you thought he had something magical then it's your ignorance that drove you like many others. For some of us, we r not relying on the decisions or indecisions of the current administration or the past, we managed our funds and all of the above. Stick to some solution or maybe you don't have any! When the Republicans were in office, there was a different set of rules for different set of people. Where were people like you when they operated the White House.

      September 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Robert

    A BIG problem here is that many people (especially Liberals) view Obama as a phenomenal leader. Be realistic and objective. Obama is a phenomenal public speaker with a below average amount of experience, particularly given the job that he's in. If this were a regular job, people would be wondering if he was in over his head.

    Before anyone bashes me as a racist (which of COURSE I must be since I don't like Obama), let me tell you that it's more simple than that. I, and many others, feel the following:

    1) We don't like his political philosophy
    2) We don't like a leader taking the country we love in a direction that we don't like
    3) Obama is NOT the second coming, nor is he the next MLK, etc. He's a guy in a job for which he is underqualified.

    Do I think McCain was a better choice? Yes. Could there be someone better out there? Absolutely. The problem with the political system is that we end up knocking people like Colin Powell out of the mix and ending up with substandard people.

    Some of you folks need to remember that Obama's victory was NOT a landslide, certainly not by actual voter numbers. And a great number of older Republicans didn't bother voting since they didn't think McCain could win. That will change. Go back and look at the ACTUAL numbers of Americans who voted each way, and you'll see that Obama has ANYTHING but a clear mandate...hence the reason why the polls give the findings they're giving. Simply put, most Americans don't agree with the direction that Obama wants to take us.

    If we're going to change, it's going to have to come through compromise and meeting in the middle, and at this point neither side (and don't delude yourself into thinking Obama or Pelosi want to compromise) wants to do so.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. Russel

    Maybe the Obama defenders are starting to get a taste of what the Bush defenders had to go through with. If your a liberal, Obama is your man. If your a conservative, then Bush was your man (until that damn Tarp thing). It comes down to ideological differences and if you don't agree with the others ideology, then you bash the other guy.

    And for the record, Obama IS all talk and NO action. He defers everything to Congress and rarely rolls up his sleeves to actually doctor his own legislation that to put before Congress. And when he does roll up his sleeves its only to try to be mediator to the Press over how the Republicans are simply the party of 'no'. But the reality is the GOP has put forth plenty of plans, but Obama and the Dem controlled Congress have basically refused to listen, give time too or hear out what the GOP has on their plate.

    The biggest thing to hurt Obama's administration is a completely controlled Democratic Congress – with all the power and no need for ANY republican support that have just stonewalled the Republicans and then turn around and label them the Party of No. If the Congress was more balanced, then the President would from day one have to have been working and negotiating with both parties for real legislation that represented and helped the whole country – not just the extreme left social agenda and the labor unions.

    Come November, Obama will actually be forced to act like a President. And because I don't think he can get past his own ideology, come Nov 2012 we will have a new President (just like what happened to Carter in 1980).

    September 21, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. CartBeforeTheHorse

    Mr. Obama wanted to walk in FDR's footsteps. First; we needed New jobs in the construction, security, and patrol of our borders in addition to rehiring those laid off to strengthen our infrastructure. Enforcement would have reversed a drain on resources that kept driving taxes and health care higher while making our country more secure. Restoring the tax base would have given him the political clout to then handle social issues. By choosing to focus on New spending before New job creation we have lost heart and slipped further into the morass of extended joblessness. Support tightening this country's security across the border, and put Americans to work.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • smc

      You do realize that the stimulus spending was on: construction, security, patrol of our borders, and our infrastructure don't you?

      September 21, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. Paulie

    Mike: think about it if the idea of NAFTA and the WTO made it easier to ship our jobs to mexico and overseas -- both parties supported it -- both democrats and republicans thought it was great - but suddenly only republicans are to blame??? Why? I dont see Obama making it harder to offshore or outsource a job do you??? He's been President for 2 years almost now. By the way from 2000-2008 we had 4-6% unemployment average and then from Nov 2008-Feb 2009 unemployment jumped a full percentage point (when Obama won the election)!!! That didnt happen under Bush! Then unemployment went from 6% to 10% average in 18 months! Meantime what was Obama's main concern for 12 of those months? Reforming health insurance? What has that done? Try telling an insurer you have cancer or some other terminal illness (either now or 2014) and see what they say! No insurer will not drop 100% of claims and stay in business. They will just call pre-existing something else and drop you for that. There is nothing that says they cant! Not now not 2014 not ever.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  8. DavidM

    It took George Bush 8 years to screw up our economy, send the trade deficit skyrocketing, and start two devastating wars, so why is it people think Obama should be able to fix all that in ONE year? It never ceases to amaze me how naive the majority of the American public is. No wonder the tide shifts so quickly back and forth between our two major political parties.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Russel

      DavidM – you're an idiot. Spitting out the same MSM crap.

      Our economy is a culmination of 30 years of bad policy, spanning multiple Congress's and multiple Presidents. The wars in the middle are also the culmination of 15+ years Iraq's policy (Dessert Gulf War 1) and the growing threat of terrorism (which started early in Clinton's administration). IF either of these is not valid, then why did Clinton get universal approval from Congress in 1998 (with Madeline Ablright) to go to war with Iraq. Clinton never acted on it because Iraq took the threat seriously and backed down. And then when Bush came into office, just 9 months into his Administration, his administration used the SAME evidence amassed during Clinton's administration (CIA, NSA, DOD) to now wage the war should have been done in 1991 under Bush Sr.

      If you're going to contribute then please do so intelligently.

      September 21, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      David, I think more of what's going on is people simply don't believe Obama is going to be effective. Would you give anyone two or four years in a job, regardless of their performance, before making a judgment? Nope. If someone demonstrated a lack of effectiveness early on, you'd realize they were in over their heads. That's the case with Obama...it's just that because he's black, the "Emperor's Clothes" effect will take longer to occur. The first people to point out that he's not an effective leader have been branded as racists (typical) and others will continue to be, until the crowd all comes to the realization that we need someone different. That WILL happen.

      September 21, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike Distance

      Bush did what he had to do to defend America, we would all be dead if it wasn't for his resolve in defending our country. Remember folks, Saddam Hussein, was a dictator who had WMD's and was planning on using them against us, just like he used against his own people. Bush saved all of our lives.
      The economy only got bad when the Democrats took over. This is a clear case of good(Republican) and evil(Democrats).
      It is not a hard concept, you are either with us(Repulicans) or you are against us(Democrats, Muslims, Anti-Semites, Liberals, Communists, etc).

      September 21, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Russel

      8 years to screw up the economy...do you recall that Bush came into office in the middle of the Tech Bubble recession where unemployment reached over 8%??? And then 9/11 happened and the economy on jitters and fears tanked...remember all the airlines about the die. These were Bush's fault? At best, the he helped the economy limp through his administration, but so many other factors beyond anyone one President have impacted the entire world economy.

      Do you also realize that Obama in his first 20 months of office has already amassed more deficits than all of Bush's 8 years of deficits combined? Is that Bush's fault too? Obama gets to go on a massive spending spree and thats Bush's fault??? Oooohh, and I suppose your are going to regurgitate the mantra of "you have to spend money to get out of debt". If you actually believe in that then I imagine you are as broke as they come and are fully depending on welfare right now. How you like my taxes?

      September 21, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • DavidM

      So since I have a different opinion than yours, that makes me an idiot? Classy response there, dude. First of all, the Iraq war was started based on new and now proven faulty evidence of WMDs that Saddam did not possess. Looking at the whole mess over there, it is obvious that the NEED dictators to control those countries. We've proven that it can't be done democratically. Secondly,, Clinton had a balanced budget and a better trade deficit than this country has seen in years. And lastly, no president will ever be truly effective in this country as long as the congress has the power to hold up or reject his policies. It's not a good system, but I guess it's all we've got. Thanks RUSSEL for the intelligent name calling.

      September 21, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • DavidM

      Looks like MIKE DISTANCE needs to go read a history book. Saddam did NOT have WMDs and he was not getting ready to attack us with them. He may well have wanted everyone to THINK he had them and he certainly had some pison gas AT ONE TIME, but we've been in Iraq for years now and have yet to turn up any WMDs. And I really like the GOOD and EVIL thing! More proof that you need some educating.

      September 21, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. ROCKWOOD

    I voted for Obama for a number of reasons. Has he met 'my' expectations? Not really. I feel Obama got into a mess that was not of his doing and has been trying to figure it out ever since he got there. Has he done everything perfectly....no. 'Things' needed to change and Obama surely has changed things around quite a bit. He has, however, put into our minds that change IS POSSIBLE and is necessary in 'today's' world. Would I vote for Obama again? At this point, I really don't know.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • maljazur

      So, when you voted for Obama you gave him less than two years to walk into the mess that was there, get acclimated to his new position and turn the whole freaking country around? Are you serious? What have you accomplished on YOUR job in the last two years...while NOT on tv, and while NOT being obstructed on every hand? People like you are even worse than his obvious enemies!! At least we don't expect them to be reasonable. People like you are what exhaust and frustrate true proponents of change.

      September 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. LOLRUSRS?

    Oh look. A rich person complaining about not having enough money. how quaint.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  11. Paulie

    DavidM: It was both dems and republicans who had a hand in screwing up the economy at least be truthful. By the way Bush isnt running for a 3rd term.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • DavidM

      You're absolutely right – it takes two to tango and the Democratic congress played the same games with Bush that the Republican congress is doing with Obama. Shame on both parties – politics is an ugly business. My bad for putting all the blame on Bush, even if he does deserve a lot of it, it wasn't ALL his fault.

      September 21, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Paulie

      Honestly even Bernanke told us it was the housing bubble that caused the economic meltdown – and we wouldnt have had one if the democrats hadnt obstructed the regulation of the housing market. Did you know Fannie and Freddie have left us on the hook for a half-trillion dollars and thats just what they are accounting for on paper.

      September 21, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. Professor Moose

    Anyone who still believes that politicians actually care about the country's problems has been living in an underground bunker for the past 1,000 years.

    If you want something done, you have to do it yourself. Republican? Democrat? A wise moose craves not these things. Just a sharpened set of antlers and a a bit of common sense.

    Politicians only serve to divide the people. I'd say they're doing it exceptionally well.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. half-minute man

    Obama blaming Bush? Hell yes! Analogy...could be weak, but I think it's appropriate on a couple levels.) We send recruit to Iraq to stop Saddam with his weapons of mass destruction. (Yellow cake uranium, biological laboratories on lowboys, etc.) What we pay to find what Saddam is doing with yellow cake uranium and his Al Queda associates makes stimulus look like chump change. Anyway, he eventually drives over IEDS and loses both legs, one arm, his vision, and any ability to have children.. When asked what happened, he cites the IED. A stern admonishment that he needs to forget about the IED and get on with his life follows. Sound absurd?

    September 21, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. Paulie

    DavidM: I do not see Obama ending either war in an expedient manner (there is absolutely no sense of urgency) in fact it seems like he is extending and protracting it as long as possible almost as if to imply he doesnt have the power to bring all of our troops home with a single congressional vote session. Obama has the power to end the war today! He isnt.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • DavidM

      Paulie – nobody in their right mind would do a sudden and complete pullout of either country. To do so would leave the unstable governments there completely exposed and unable to protect the citizens. They need to be nurtured to a certain extent and they need our protection until their troops and their police can handle the task. An immediate pullout would likely result in the radical factions taking over the countries and putting them and us in a worse position that before we invaded.

      September 21, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Paulie

      Whats the difference if we leave now or a year or two from now other than that more Americans will die? I strongly disagree with your statement. Just admit Obama has the power to end both occupations and he isnt. It has nothing to do with letting those countries stand up their own governments and more to do with keeping soldiers employed and companies that support the war effort like Haliburton and Lockheed making money.

      September 21, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. Cal

    Mr. Zootrerpust
    Why do you think he got those "successfull legislation" items passed? A Democratic controlled legislature! Mickey Mouse could have ran anything through as long as it was approved by his liberal agenda. Hmmm, perhaps Mickey Mouse might be a better choice.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      Mickey Mouse, oh you mean the Saudi Mickey who donated thousands to Obama?

      September 21, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Confused

      Is that the same Saudis that are in the Carlisle Group with the Bush Family? Just curious

      September 21, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
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