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Hillary Clinton defends Obamacare against Republicans' 'bad politics'

By Michael Martinez, CNN
updated 11:04 AM EDT, Wed September 25, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Opponents are "trying to scare and discourage people," Obama says
  • "This president is not going to agree to defund health care," Hillary Clinton says
  • She makes comments just before Bill Clinton and President Obama hold panel talk
  • "It's a minority, but it's a noisy minority," she says of Republican critics

(CNN) -- Hillary Clinton on Tuesday defended Obamacare against "a noisy minority" in Congress and described some Republicans' legislative tactics to defund the landmark program as "deeply distressing" and "bad politics."

"This president is not going to agree to defund health care," Clinton said at a health panel just before President Barack Obama was to make an appearance.

"If they want to vote to shut the government down, that's on their head and their responsibility and if they go even further, which is deeply distressing, and for the first time lead our country into default on our obligations that is not just partisan politics," Clinton said at the Clinton Global Initiative established by her husband, who was also in attendance.

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A default would go to "the heart of our credibility around the world -- not just our economic leadership but our political and strategic leadership," Clinton said. "So I hope our friends on the other side of the aisle -- and it's a minority, but it's a noisy minority -- understands this is not right to do, and this is bad politics to do."

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Later in the panel, Obama and former President Bill Clinton -- both Democrats -- defended the health care reform.

Obama said some Republicans' effort to resist the reform -- making it No. 1 on their agenda -- "is wrong."

Opponents of the health care law are trying to "scare" Americans about the program, Obama said.

"So what you have had is an unprecedented effort, that you have seen ramp up over the last month or so, in which those who have opposed the idea of universal health care in the first place, and have fought this thing tooth and nail through Congress and through the courts and so forth, are -- have been trying to scare and discourage people from getting a good deal," Obama said. "And so some of you may have seen some of the commercials out there that are a little wacky."

Bill Clinton praised the health initiative, saying it will make Americans "healthier" in the next decade.

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