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Tavis Smiley calls Obama's health reform 'small change'

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By Staff

Dec. 20, 2009, 5 p.m. - Radio/TV host Tavis Smiley today hit President Obama's apparent looming victory on health care saying that the bill does not go far enough.

"Throughout the campaign, the president promised change," he said on NBC's Meet The Press.  "We have change on the horizon here but, unfortunately, it's small change.  I find myself kind of like John McCain agreeing with Howard Dean, here I am agreeing with my friend Joe Scarborough."

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He continued:  "I think the real winners here are the insurance industry. They're, they're the--yeah, they're the ones who win here.  I mean, you, you, you walk through that list, David, of those points you put up earlier.  The president wanted the public option, the industry said no.  The president wanted to tax their windfall profits, the industry said no.  The president wanted to do a variety of things, the industry pushed back.  And here's the problem for me.  It's not just, David, that we're not getting the kind of health care that we were promised we were going to get, it's that in the president's first big fight with a powerful lobby in Washington, the White House lost and they lost big.  And that, I think, portends something very dangerous down the road for all the other issues we have to deal with where lobbies are going to be pushing back on the White House."

Smiley has been a frequent critique of Obama, who he did not endorse. Obama has also never shown up for a major event held by Smiley.

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