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Obama compares trade naysayers to those pushing 'death panels'

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In this Feb. 20, 2015, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in Washington. Relying on Republicans and going against the grain of his own party for his legislative successes has not been much of a go-to play in Obama's game plan. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

President Obama had a message Thursday for Democrats opposing his trade push: You're no different from Republicans who said Obamacare would lead to death panels.

"Some of these folks are friends of mine, I love them to death," Obama said of Democrats resisting his trade agenda. "But in the same way that when I was arguing for healthcare reform, I asked people to look at the facts. Somebody comes up with a slogan like 'death panels' doesn't mean it's true."

Obama's latest push on trade came at an Organizing for Action summit, an event designed to appeal primarily to progressives.

Most Democrats are opposing Obama's trade agenda, arguing that it would be bad for American workers.

Obama is pressing for Democrats to give him "Fast Track" power, which would allow trade deals to go through Congress, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pact among 12 Pacific Rim nations.

The legislation sailed through a Senate committee on Wednesday. Trade is the rare big-ticket item where Obama has overwhelming GOP support.

Obama was noticeably annoyed by much of the Democratic rhetoric against his trade blueprint.

"Don't just throw a bunch of stuff out there and see if it sticks," he said.

"By this logic," Obama told Democrats, "I would have had to do all this stuff for the last six and a half years, and then suddenly, just say, 'I want to destroy all of that.' Does that make sense?"