Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), speaking Friday night at a California political dinner named for former President Harry Truman, invoked the former president’s name when discussing the criticism Democrats have endured trying to advance health care reform.
According to Saturday’s Orange County Register, Pelosi was the keynote speaker at the Orange County Democratic Party’s Harry S. Truman Awards Dinner in Irvine. Pelosi used the occasion to pay tribute to Truman, the first president to advance the concept of universal health insurance. She recalled that critics had labeled Truman’s failed proposal “communism” and “socialism.”
“Sound familiar?” she asked. “But that was then and this is now, and we will have health insurance for all. Every day brings us closer to that dream.”
Pelosi continued, “There will be health care that ensures affordability for the middle class, ensures security for America’s seniors, recognizes our responsibility to our children by doing this in a fiscally sound way — not adding one dollar to the deficit. And holding the insurance companies accountable by having a public option.”
The newspaper reported that the sold-out event raised more than $125,000 for Orange County Democrats, who have made gains in recent cycles despite the area’s tradition as a Republican stronghold.
Pelosi’s appearance drew several hundred demonstrators across the street from the hotel where the fundraiser was taking place, including groups on both sides of the immigration issue, those who oppose the war in Afghanistan and abortion rights supporters who want to strip language from the House’s health care reform bill that limits federal funding of abortions.
But the largest contingent, according to the newspaper, were Tea Party activists protesting health care reform, the economic stimulus package and climate trade legislation. They carried signs calling Pelosi and President Barack Obama tyrants and fascists.