Tales from the Trail

Obama doesn’t find Canadians “particularly scary”

August 10, 2009

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – The U.S. healthcare debate followed President Barack Obama down to Mexico, where he accused opponents of his overhaul plan of using Canada’s government-backed healthcare system to scare Americans away from change.

The issue came up when a Canadian reporter asked Obama at a news conference with the “three amigos” why “our health care system has become aMEXICO-SUMMIT/ political football in your country.”

Obama is more of a basketball fan, but he picked up the football and ran with it.

“I’ve said that the Canadian model works for Canada. It would not work for the United States, in part simply because we’ve evolved differently,” he said, noting most people in the United States have health insurance through their employer.

He talked on for a while and then wound his way back to the original point about the critics of his plan.

“I suspect that you Canadians will continue to get dragged in by those who oppose reform, even though I’ve said nothing about Canadian health care reform. I don’t find Canadians particularly scary, but I guess some of the opponents of reform think that they make a good boogeyman. I think that’s a mistake,” he said.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Chris Wattie (Obama with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, front, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at summit in Guadalajara, Mexico)

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