Air Force One departs Dallas after brief Obama visit

Print
Email
|

by WFAA

WFAA

Posted on November 7, 2013 at 12:05 AM

9 p.m. Air Force One has departed Love Field. The president is headed back to Washington D.C. Follow the day's events with our liveblog below. 

7:50 p.m. The president was driven to the home of attorney Russell Budd, who arranged four round tables draped in gold tablecloths in his living room. The pool reporter said 25 guests attended for dinner, wine and coffee. 

Obama gave a "much truncated" version of the speech he gave at the temple. He spoke of "folks that aren't acting responsibly" in the GOP.  

“I have to say that I am a proud Democrat and committed to the values that the Democratic Party represents, but I’m also interested in getting the Republican Party back in a functioning state, because this country has two parties, we need both of them operating in a way that allows us to move forward.”

Ex-Dallas Councilman and state representative Domingo Garcia and his wife, Commissioner Elba Garcia, attended the event. 

6:55 p.m. President Obama arrived at the home of Dallas lawyer Peter Kraus at 6:10 p.m. Forty-five minutes later, the president addressed the crowd of 100, each of whom paid $15,000 to attend. Lisa Kraus introduced Obama and thanked him for not bending to the demands of a "reckless" group of lawmakers, reports pool reporter Todd Gillman. 

"I want to personally thank you for standing up to this faction and for saying no you can't. No you can't shut down the government because you don't like a law," she said. 

6 p.m. The president has wrapped up his remarks at Temple Emanu-El. He spoke for about 13 minutes and acknowledged the hiccups of HealthCare.Gov, equating it to wanting to buy a product only to find the cash register is broken. 

"The website is already better than it was at the beginning of October and by the end of this month we anticipate it is going to be working the way that it is supposed to," he said to the crowd of about 30. "The insurance is already there and if people can't get through the website, they can get on the phone to the call center and people can take their application and walk them through this process." 

He praised the efforts of Mayor Mike Rawlings and Judge Clay Jenkins to help residents sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. He also reiterated what his spokesman told reporters earlier in the day –– the Dallas/Fort Worth Area has 1.1 million uninsured. About 133,000 of those would get insurance if Gov. Rick Perry would agree to expand Medicaid, the president said.

"There's over $500 million just for this county that would come in to help families get health insurance –– that has nothing to do with the website –– if the state of Texas made this decision," he said. "Your neighboring states have made this decision." 

He said Arkansas has reduced its uninsured by 14 percent and the state of Oregon has reduced its amount by 10 percent. 

"There's no reason why this state can't do the same," Obama said. 

Obama said "there isn't a lot of logic" to the governor's refusal. 

After finishing his speech, the president shook hands with attendees and gave the floor to Jenkins, who asked for residents to volunteer to help sign up uninsured residents under the Affordable Care Act. 

5:35 p.m.: U.S. Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) and Marc Veasey (D-Fort Worth), joined Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Mayor Mike Rawlings to greet President Obama upon his arrival at Love Field.

"Every time the president comes, any president, particularly this one, it shows the importance of Dallas to this country," Rawlings told pool reporter Todd J. Gillman. "It's a symbol of our growth, and our success and our problems, too. We've got some problems with the fact that we've got too many folks who are not insured. we've got to fix that."

Gov. Rick Perry released a statement regarding Obama's visit Wednesday afternoon.

“President Obama deceived the American people by promising that anyone who liked their health care plan could keep it, but millions of Americans are now discovering that simply isn’t true," Perry said in the statement. "Now, he’s coming to Texas in a desperate attempt to salvage his ill-conceived and unpopular program from a Titanic fate by preaching expansion of the same Medicaid system he himself admits is broken."

5:08 p.m.: The president is on the ground in Dallas, where he's expected to put pressure on Gov. Rick Perry to expand Medicaid.

Dallas Morning News pool reporter Todd J. Gillman reports White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Dallas is important because it is one of the top 10 cities in the country in terms of uninsured Americans. 

Carney said 1.1 million eligible Americans are uninsured in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and about 550,000 with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty line – meaning they’re out of luck because of Gov. Rick Perry’s refusal to expand Medicaid.

“We can’t force them to expand. The Supreme Court ruled on this,” Carney said, insisting the president’s trip isn’t any sort of effort to shift focus from roll out problems. “I can promise you that whether or not the website worked, we would be going to places like Dallas, where the education effort and outreach effort is underway, to reach these dense pockets of uninsured Americans.”

Gov. Perry said the one-size-fits-all approach of the Affordable Care Act was simply not suited for Texas.

"In Texas, where Medicaid already consumes a quarter of the state budget, we simply need the flexibility to implement fundamental, state-specific reforms to our Medicaid program, instead of a one-size-fits-all Washington mandate, before it bankrupts our state," the governor said in his statement.

Next up, the president will head to Temple Emanu-El. Founded in 1875, it is the third-largest Reform Jewish congregation in the United States with 2,500 members.

4:50 p.m.: Air Force One touched down at Love Field Airport at about 4:45 p.m., around 50 minutes later than anticipated.

Several roads around Dallas will be closed off as the motorcade makes its way through the city from Love Field to Temple Emanu-El.

Security at the airport is extremely tight with Secret Service and other federal agents joining Dallas police in clearing the area and keeping the president safe.

It is the president's 12th visit to Texas since he's been in office, and fourth visit to the Dallas area. His last visit was in April for the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Museum and Library and to visit West, Texas, following the fertilizer plant explosion.

2:38 p.m.: Dallas Morning News pool reporter Todd J. Gillman said Air Force One's departure from Joint Base Andrews is roughly an hour behind schedule on his trip to Dallas Wednesday evening.

Wednesday night, President Barack Obama will visit Dallas' Temple Emanu-El, near Hillcrest and Northwest Highway, where volunteers and guides have been working with Dallas Area Interfaith organizations helped to educate approximately 1,600 people about the health care exchange program. It will be a private meeting with 75-100 people, mainly volunteers & leadership.

Then Obama will raise money for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at two North Texas fundraisers.

The first DSCC event is a reception at the home of a Dallas lawyer, with a $15,000 ticket price. The second is a dinner, at the home of a lawyer in Highland Park, with a $32,400 ticket price.

Gillman reports the DSCC has not provided estimates on how much it expects to raise at these events.

Click here for more on President Obama's visit.

Print
Email
|