NPR logo Obama's Ignorance Claim On Health-Care Politics Is Odd Vote-Getting Ploy

Obama's Ignorance Claim On Health-Care Politics Is Odd Vote-Getting Ploy

President Barack Obama in Strongsville, Ohio. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama in Strongsville, Ohio.

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

A recurrent line in President Barack Obama's health-care stump speech leaps out as a curious statement for the leader of a major political party trying to get members of his party to cast a hard vote on controversial legislation. He essentially claims ignorance of the political implications of the raging health care overhaul fight.

He said it again on Monday at his rally in Strongsville, Ohio.

Obama said of the health care overhaul battle:

I don't know about the politics, but I know what's the right thing to do. And so I'm calling on Congress to pass these reforms — and I'm going to sign them into law.

The president clearly wants to be perceived as taking the high road with that statement and leave the impression he's so super focused on the what's best for the American people that he has no time for the nitty gritty of the politics swirling around the issue.

But lawmakers tend to expect presidents of their own party to be hypersensitive to the politics of hot button issues, especially when control of Congress is at stake. Members of Congress certainly are.

So, it's a noteworthy admission for Obama to utter for public consumption when he's still seeking the votes he needs to gain House passage of the Senate health overhaul bill if Democrats are to have any hope of getting their bill passed through the reconciliation process. At first blush, it doesn't seem like a confidence builder.