Whose Waterloo?

WHOSE WATERLOO?…. ABC News’ Jake Tapper reported over the weekend that the White House planned to use Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) “waterloo” quote to their advantage in the health care reform debate.

Officials have apparently wasted no time in doing just that. Earlier today, speaking at the Children’s Hospital in D.C., President Obama said, “Now, there are some in this town who are content to perpetuate the status quo, are in fact fighting reform on behalf of powerful special interests. There are others who recognize the problem, but believe — or perhaps, hope — that we can put off the hard work of insurance reform for another day, another year, another decade.”

Without mentioning DeMint’s name, the president made effective use of the right-wing senator’s comment: “Just the other day, one Republican senator said — and I’m quoting him now — ‘If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.’ Think about that. This isn’t about me. This isn’t about politics. This is about a health care system that is breaking America’s families, breaking America’s businesses, and breaking America’s economy.

“And we can’t afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to health care. Not this time. Not now. There are too many lives and livelihoods at stake. There are too many families who will be crushed if insurance premiums continue to rise three times as fast as wages. There are too many businesses that will be forced to shed workers, scale back benefits, or drop coverage unless we get spiraling health care costs under control.”

And while I believe it was Ben Smith who first reported the DeMint line, Greg Sargent today published a recording of the remark.

Greg concluded, “You’d think maybe DeMint’s quote could end up being a Waterloo of sorts, wouldn’t you?”

The homophone error in the title has been corrected. –Mod

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.