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September 21st, 2010
07:36 AM ET

Vets CFO on Obama: 'I am exhausted of defending you'

(CNN) – President Obama was hearing an earful from voters at a town hall meeting in the nation’s capitol yesterday. Anger and disappointment was voiced by many in attendance, including Velma Hart, Chief Financial Officer for “American Vets” and Ted Brassfield, a law school grad. Hart and Brassfield spoke with Kiran Chetry about their feelings on Obama and clarified some of their statements from the town hall.

Kiran Chetry: Velma, when you said you were getting tired of defending the president, it's exhausting. Have you lost faith in the president? Or do you think it's simply the circumstances we're in that he doesn't necessarily have control of.

Velma Hart: It is absolutely the latter. But I don't know that he doesn't have control of it. I still have great faith in this president. I think that he is an amazing leader. I think he is inspirational.

Kiran Chetry: Ted, you asked whether or not you thought the "American Dream" was still attainable. Why did you choose that question? I know that you had a lot on your mind. You had a lot that you discussed among your friends. Why did you ask about the "American Dream?"

Ted Brassfield: Well, it's a real problem that a lot of us who have advanced degrees – and people who are going to college, maybe they don't know why they went to college. But we are facing massive student loans. The entire generation is just often facing six figures even when you go to public universities. And you have people like me who had good jobs but went back to school. Society says if you work hard, if you go to school, we will have good jobs for you. And that's why it's – you're willing to take on a massive amount of debt. And it seems like that's been lost. And it's really hurting a lot of my cohort.

Kiran Chetry: Did you get the answer you were looking for from the president or any more clarity on it?

Ted Brassfield:
I think that unfortunately I felt that the president answered very effectively all of the other questions he was asked by the audience. But like Velma, I thought that I had given him a lay-up to say this is why you should still have hope. And he didn't say that. He didn't answer it at all.

Kiran Chetry: Well, Velma, you said you're exhausted defending him. What do people who have criticisms of the president that talk to you say? What are their biggest beefs?

Velma Hart: That he's all talk and no action, which I absolutely disagree with. I think the health care reform bill is action. I think the student loan legislation is action. I think there are – even, you know, like it or hate it, even the financial reform is action. So I don't get that argument. And I – and I get pretty passionate about it. I can't tell you I stand on top of tables and, you know, bang my head against the wall, but I believe in him. And I – you know, there's something about what he communicates that makes me believe that he's got a plan. I just – I’m tired of having debate – I think this is a moment of poker or something for me, maybe blackjack or 21. I want to have a card on the table that shuts the discussion and I don't have that yet.

Filed under: Politics
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. John

    Mr. President talks well. Like Velma said " I want to have a card on the table that shuts the discussion and I don't have that yet.". Our only hope under President Obama is buying powerball ticket and hope we don't have to eat hot dog and green bean tomorrow.

    We need next President Clinton to lead us forward.

    September 23, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
  2. art

    Mornin' Pauly

    Not only did they claim the country would fall into a depression if TARP wasn't passed, they then went ahead and voted NO on it in the House and vaporized 1 trillion dollars worth of wealth within 15 minutes of the vote just to prove their point.

    These people are unstable. Vote 'em out!!

    September 22, 2010 at 7:30 am |
  3. Pauly

    What has the GOP done to help Americans since the recession began? Nothing!!! For almost a year, they denied we were in a recession. Then when they couldn't deny it anymore, they came up w/ TARP. To get support, they claimed the country would fall into a depression if it wasn't passed.

    Since the elections, the GOP has made no secret of wanting this President to fail. They don't care if that means further suffering for many Americans. They have succeeded in blocking, delaying and/or defeating bills that would ease the suffering. Just say no to everything & then blame the President when the economy doesn't improve.

    Tomorrow, they are going to announce their "plan." The recession began in 12/07 & they finally have a plan to fix the mess they created? A large part of that will be extending tax cuts for the mega wealthy. Triclke down has never worked!!!

    They have blocked bills that would give tax breaks & incentives to small businesses. They claim letting the tax cuts for the mega wealthy would hurt small businesses but most small business owners make a lot less than $250,000.00! The GOP has been wiining w/ their if you can't dazzle them w/ brilliance, then baffle them w/ bs approach. This country needs to move forward, not backward!!!

    September 22, 2010 at 7:11 am |
  4. art

    Axe Obama-

    You've mistakenly included Reagan in a group with Roosevelt, and Eisenhower.

    Reagan would be more at home in a group including Goldwater, and George Wallace, Nixon, and George Bush the elder- Race baiters all.

    Just so you know.

    September 22, 2010 at 6:26 am |
  5. cyn

    Thank you, Velma Hart for you speaking hightly of the President.

    September 21, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  6. AxeObama

    "Obama has done more in 2 years than most presidents do in 2 terms while fighting republicans who only want to see him fail. "

    Exactly what has Obama done? Please enlighten me. You really believe he's done as much in his short political career as Roosevelt, Wilson, Eisenhower, or Reagan? Please explain.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  7. Helen Peters

    Velma needs a dose of reality. Does she expect the President to wave a magic wand and restore the country back to pre President Bush's two terms in less than two years? I certainly don't. I believe he and the Congress (Democrates) are moving us in the right direction. It will take some time. She has employment and if she is a retired Vet, she has a pension. She should count her blessings that she is not among the millions who have lost jobs due to the failed policies of the previous administration. My heart goes out to them. I would tell her to stop making excuses for the President. I doubt he wants or need her to do that.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  8. Barbara

    If Obama were such a wonderful president, why would Velma have to be "exhausted defending him."

    September 21, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
  9. Robert Becker

    As usual, this is just a supporter, tossing up a softball and he whiffed. If I didn't know better I would think she was a plant, but he didn't hit it out of the park. You notice she still believes in him. To his worshipers, no amount of evidence will sway them. She could end up homeless and she'd thank him for trying. The people who believe that government can solve their problems are just like every other type of religious zealot. Reality cannot be taken into account.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  10. Bertina

    The problem with this is there are plenty of people out there NOT tired of defending this president but no one is listening to us.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  11. Barbara Pernaris

    A lot of good points here, at least facts from Pauly. But I have one question:
    Why is it so difficult to understand, accept, or even believe, that indeed people in general, are waking up and becoming aware of this administration's complete and partisan agenda towards everything?

    Why is it so difficult to accept, that Obama's socialist agenda has failed and defrauded the people of this country?? In just 20 months, he and his democratic Congress and Senate (no check and balances) have managed to derailed this country, because of its uncontrolled spending and the need for BIG government. I'm sorry, but I don't need a politician to tell me how to live my life. And to further justify the crooks in the establishment in order to keep us stupid.

    I think, it's a matter of time before you too will feel this frustration and despair.

    See how his rating continue to tumble?? You do the math.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  12. Mary

    Jane...The "facts" in Florida point to the "fact" that had all the votes in FL been counted, as most patriotic Americans would insist on, Bush would have lost. Republican operatives came in by the busloads to pound on doors, frighten the people counting the votes and intimidate everyone. Didn't hurt that the Supreme Court was loaded with Bush Sr. appointees and the person who decided to " declare the winner "in Florda was a Republican shill who was rewarded with a seat in the House. And we saw how she did there! What a joke. That election result in Florida will go down in history as one of the biggest shams of all time. And we paid dearly for having Bush in the White House.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  13. Kate

    I knew this would happen. Really, though, Obama had to know this would happen. He's trying to clean up the mess, so he gets blamed for the mess. I worked in a bank on the day in 2008 when everyone came in and pulled out all of their money. Obama had not yet taken office. He was not to blame. Six days after Obama took office, I heard people blaming him for all of America's problems.

    He has donated his life to history, and I hope that, at least, history serves him well.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  14. Tee

    I agree with Belinda 2 billion percent. We have forgotten what has transpired over the previous 8 years before President Obama took office (Yes we must call him PRESIDENT OBAMA). The fact of the matter is that until we stop looking at the color of the skin (the bottom line to many of you out there in the world), and we look at the person we will never move forward. Our President has only been in office 2 years and to many of you he is already a failure. If your children, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend (or both), don't do what you may like them to do are you going to get rid of them and call them a failure? Some of you probably yes...that's why we have these bad a@@ kids in the world today.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  15. art

    Obama understands, and is able to apply the words which Emily Dickinson once wrote with regard to his willingness to compromise...

    "The truth must dazzle gradually
    or every man be blind."

    Compromise IS a part of this equation. Hopefully the right-wing conservatives will come to terms with it soon.

    We'll get there.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  16. Tamarra

    I know that people out there are frustrated with the unemployment rate so high and hope so low, but I think this country has to sit down and think for a moment. Do you really believe that 8 years of fiscal irresponsibility during the bush years can be fixed in two? Give the president some credit. He's battling a congress full of republicans and tea party sycophants who wish him failure-even if it means sabotaging the country's chances to recover. What kind of people would do that? Would stare in the faces of the unemployed, homeless, sick, and unsupported and say, "Screw you, we just want to win the house and Senate back at all costs. I have a job. I'm only thinking about myself".

    If the country is dumb enough to let the congress go back to the very people who got us into this mess....we deserve the hell we'll receive later. If this country will just think realistically about what it will take to get us out of this mess, including patience, fortitude, less whining, and a will to survive...we'll give the dems a chance to fix the republican's mess.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:21 am |

    Velma and Ted bared their souls and expressed at the town hall meeting, what others accross this nation are feeling. Why, after their initial presentation and during your interview, they would turn around and defend the source of the problem is beyond common sense.
    Look who obama has surrounded himself with and the Democrats expect a GOOD OUTCOME?? LOL!!

    September 21, 2010 at 10:19 am |
  18. Steve

    I have to agree. Wall Street is sitting fat & happy with all the breaks they have been getting from the tax payer. If you watch the CNNs and the other Wall Street backed bnews programs, everything is looking up. But when you ask the working class, they continue to see jobs going south of the border or to China and hours and wages being cut. The only way to begin to change this is for all Americans to BUY AMERICAN MADE PRODUCTS, ONLY!!!

    September 21, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  19. Pauly

    Julie, the bank bailouts, TARP, were a GOP bill that passed during the Bush administration. The release of the 2nd installment of TARP funds was after President Obama took office but were allocated before he took office. President Obama & the Dems placed strings on this money, which has resulted in a lot of it being paid back. before this, the banks had no reason or incentive ti repay the money.

    September 21, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  20. Juilie

    Obama is extremely intelligent man, But, his advisors when he first got into office are same ole same ole crap.
    Biggest mistake was bailing out the banks, These are the same theives that warranted loans that ballooned into default. Criminal. period. Obama should have bailed out all the people that got into these mortagaes and set the the percentages back to when these people took out the mortgage. These same ugly American bankers are the same evil that are holding onto money that would stimulate the economy. Too big to fail? Let these blinking banks fail.
    Curemt administration, definitely is not partisan, The Pubs have directed thier members to disagree with anything that Obama projects. They think we can not see through the Republican party of no. Republicans only care for the wealthy of this country. And, no more tax freebies for them. When a guy flipping burgers pays more in taxes than the super rich.
    They actually think Americans are that stupid not to see Boehner and his crooked agenda. I will vomit if his fake tanned butt ever is speaker of the house. After the corruption of Bush and company, will be decades before most of us forget the 8 years of draining this country.
    Tax and super tax all outsourced companies, impose import tax. . Sick of getting sick of all their poisonous crap coming into this country.

    September 21, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  21. Pauly


    President Bush was given a free pass for most of his 1st term. Americans rallied behind him after 9/11. This despite his campaign promise in '00 to protect us from terrorists. The media was afraid to criticize him because his administration said, "criticizing the Commander-in-Chief during wartime is unpatriotic."

    It wasn't until his lies about WMD's, Saddam having a part in 9/11, we don't torture, etc were exposed that the criticism began. Even then, the criticism was based mainly on his actions or inactions, not personal attacks on his citizenship, his religion, etc.

    September 21, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  22. art


    Think about what this country would be like right now if Obama had lost the election....

    September 21, 2010 at 8:51 am |
  23. Pauly


    We understand the wisdom of the President trying to compromise w/ the other party. Unfortunately, the GOP has proven time & time again that they don't want this administration to succeed.

    The HCR bill was a perfect example of this. The Dems would make concessions to Sen Grassley & the GOP. Then the same would go in front of the cameras & say we're not voting for this bill & scaring people w/ death panels, pulling the plug on grandma, etc. They allowed the GOP to water down the bill & received absolutely nothing in return.

    Bipartisanship is a great concept. Especially when helping the country through these difficult times should be our lawmakers top priority. However, the GOP has made no secret about wanting this President to fail. And they don't care if that means the country suffers more because of it.

    The Dems need to show Americans how the GOP voted to block the many attempts to move this country forward & ease the suffering of so many Americans. Up until recently, the Dems were spending all their time on defense. It's time to point out the voting record & the successful filibuster of so many bills that caused more suffering to homeless Vets, the unemployed, the sick, etc.

    September 21, 2010 at 8:51 am |
  24. Jane - WI

    Yes, the media does spread mis-information about the president. We saw that glaringly during the 8 years that George Bush was in office. Unfortunately, too many in the public take what the media tells them as gospel, and don't do their own research.
    The anti-Bush rhetoric started during the election, and did not die down after words. The lie that the 2000 election was 'stolen" was believed by many on the left, who failed to look at the facts.

    September 21, 2010 at 8:49 am |
  25. Jane - WI

    This is an administration that is anti-business, no matter Democrat Elliott Spitzer says. How many times have we heard business leaders referred to as "fat cats" and depicted as some sort of heartless and evil people? If making a lot of money is so bad, why isn't this President going after his uber rich friends and supporters in Hollywood? These people make way too much money for the little they contribute to society, yet he doesn't attack them. How much does a highly paid actor or movie producer make compared to what they are paying their hair stylist, the gaffer, or the guys behind the camera?
    How much is Al Gore making off is manmade global warming fear mongering compared to what he pays his gardener?

    September 21, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  26. Mary

    Out of all the interesting points made in those discussions with the president yesterday, the media has, of course, played up one woman who to me, sounded like a Tea Party plant with all her whining. Maybe just once the media could not put some stupid spin on everything and take some responsibility for causing some of the problem.

    And by the way, there are actually TWO people running for Senate in Delaware. Maybe...just could give some attention to the Democratic candidate for a minute or two instead of breathlessly following everything this airheaded Tea Party woman says and does. Why don't you do some decent investigative reporting and dig into what she has done with the money her supporters gave her for her campaigns? CNN now = Fox with its biased and pathetic coverage of this election.

    September 21, 2010 at 8:43 am |
  27. Bill

    I sure wish people would try to put themselves in the presidents shoes, think if every single move you made, day after day, 24/7 was scrutinized in real time by people on every side (even your own). When would you have an opportunity to show advancement?

    Mrs. Hart with all do respect, how do you think you would be perceived if you took over a company that had been run in the ground for 8 straight years, was on the brink of foreclosure, and in midst of bankruptcy at the time you took it over. And in order for you to be deemed successful by your peers and your subordinates you must not only stop the bleeding, but you must completely turn that company around, show a profit, and do so within 20 months of taking over the reigns. And don't forget you must do this while under a 24/7 microscope. If this is the measure of success, then it seems to me that anyone hired would be doomed to failure. Although critics like Sean Hannity enjoy disrespectfully referring to the president as the anointed one, he is not Jesus! He is simply a man trying to what’s best for his country and it’s people.

    September 21, 2010 at 8:35 am |
  28. linda Brock

    Has everyone forgotten the Bush years and pandering to the rich? I am really tired of the society of "I want it NOW".Obama has done more in 2 years than most presidents do in 2 terms while fighting republicans who only want to see him fail. If we learn nothing else we should learn that impatience, greed and instant gratification got us here in the first place and it didn;t happen over night. What can we do to help rebuild a broken system? Give Obama the time and support he needs to do his job. Vote!

    September 21, 2010 at 8:29 am |
  29. pfriday

    my understanding of the presidents definition of compromise – my way or the hi-way.

    current admin, house and senate is as partisan as ever.

    September 21, 2010 at 8:18 am |
  30. art

    I'm really tired of democrats who do not understand the wisdom within the president's willingness to compromise. The doors, which were once closed regarding health-care, financial reform, etc., are now open, and legislation can be rewritten down the road when new challenges arise.

    What do you want from this guy?

    Here's what I want from you- Get off your butts and make some phone calls for other Democratic Party candidates in your area, or knock on doors for them. Obama needs their help. And quit whining. This isn't about you and your neediness. It's about taking a country back from those who tried to destroy it.

    September 21, 2010 at 8:10 am |
  31. Pauly

    Many of us are exhausted from defending this President. The attacks began during the campaign. usually such rhetoric calms down after the election. Unfortunately, they escalated after the '08 elections & haven't stopped since.

    The media has played a role in this. They have constantly given air time to loonies who deny the President is American, that the HCR included death panels, that our President is a Muslim, etc. Polls consistently show how misinformed about issues Americans have become. The media is responsible for a lot of this misinformation.

    September 21, 2010 at 7:59 am |