Obama: Colo. fire uniting "one American family"
(CBS News) Following one of the most politically controversial weeks in recent history, President Obama in his weekly address chose to steer clear from talking about his health care law, opting instead to discuss American responsibility at the scene of the Colorado wildfires.
"I know this is a little bit unusual - we don't usually do weekly addresses like this," the President acknowledged from in front of several fire trucks just south of Denver. "But I thought it was a good opportunity for us to actually focus attention on a problem that's going on here in Colorado Springs.
"We never know when it might be our community that's threatened and it's important that we're there for them."
At least two people have died and more than 350 homes have been destroyed in the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs, which was 30 percent contained Saturday morning. Mr. Obama encouraged Americans to make donations online to the American Red Cross, "to make sure that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Forest Service, our military and National Guard and all the resources that we have available at the federal level are brought to bear in fighting this fire."
Watch the President's remarks in the video to the left.
The President reiterated the importance of showing that Americans "have each others' backs" in times of devastation - a point he emphasized from the scene Friday, when he toured some of the damage and thanked firefighters, government officials and local residents.
"One of the things that happens," he said in his address, "whether it's a fire here in Colorado, or a tornado in Alabama or Missouri, or a flood or a hurricane in Florida, one of the things that happens here in America is when we see our fellow citizens in trouble and having difficulty, we come together as one American family, as one community. And you see that spirit and you see that strength here in Colorado Springs."
Meanwhile, delivering this week's Republican address, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., continued to air the GOP's grievances with the President's health care law, which was ruled largely constitutional by the Supreme Court on Thursday. Barrasso, a doctor, took issue with the law itself, but moreover the court's decision to uphold the individual mandate as a tax.
Watch Barrasso's remarks in the video to the left.
"On Thursday," Barrasso said, "I was in the courtroom as the Supreme Court ruled that the President's health care law is what the President claimed it was not: a new tax. President Obama has repeatedly promised, and I quote, 'If you're a family making less than $250,000 a year, my plan,' he said, 'won't raise your taxes one penny.'"
"There should be no doubt," the senator continued. "Republicans in Congress will fight to repeal the President's failed health care law."
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