Obama calls Beshear 'a man possessed' on health care, Ky. Republicans pan president's speech

01/28/2014 10:25 PM

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address once again highlighted to the nation the political dichotomy that the Affordable Care Act has created in Kentucky.

One minute Obama was giving a mid-address shout-out to Gov. Steve Beshear over his implementation of the health care law. And the next minute, Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell was issuing a critical three-paragraph response to Obama’s speech focusing on the Obamacare section particularly.

“Obamacare is wreaking havoc with Kentucky’s economy and for the nation’s economy and unfortunately the president’s doubled down on that,” McConnell said in his statement. “So, it’s discouraging to see that after six years of trying to do this his way, he seems to be unwilling to move to the political center, work with us and do things through the private sector that we know will create jobs and opportunity for our people.”

But undaunted, Obama chided Republicans in Congress telling them that that if they have “specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, increase choice — tell America what you would do differently.”

He then pivoted to praise Beshear and Kentucky’s implementation where more people (183,000 as of Monday) have signed up for health coverage than in many states.

“He’s like a man possessed when it comes to covering his commonwealth’s families,” Obama said. Here’s the clip, courtesy of CSPAN:

Aside from health care, Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, gave the president’s fifth State of the Union Address high marks for laying out key priorities.

“A good education, a fair wage for a day’s work, the guarantee of a secure retirement, and access to affordable health care are pillars of our economy and fundamental responsibilities of our society,” Yarmuth said.

But other Republicans in the delegations were less impressed.

From U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, who issued a statement and four audio clips rebutting points about the health care law and what he wanted to hear about reducing the nation’s debt:

“The House has passed dozens of jobs bills, many with bipartisan support, that would help Americans get the jobs they deserve, honor hardworking taxpayers, and make life easier for the American people. Unfortunately, all of these proposals, including ones that would unleash the energy potential of the United States by ending the War on Coal and approving the Keystone Pipeline, are gathering dust in the Senate,” Barr said.

From U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who sent out a more than nine-minute video response:

“Let me say from the outset, I will work with the President, Democrats, Independents and anyone else who wants to get people back to work and alleviate poverty in our country,” Paul said. “Government spending doesn’t work. It doesn’t create jobs. Only the democracy of the marketplace can find those capable of creating jobs.”

- Compiled by Jacqueline Pitts and Ryan Alessi


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.