An ABC Day at the White House
By Michael A. Fletcher
President Obama will continue to amp up his push for health care reform today at a White House town hall meeting on health care that will be televised in primetime on ABC.
"Questions for the President: Prescription for America" will be moderated by ABC's Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson. The session is scheduled to be taped in the White House East Room tonight before being broadcast at 10 p.m. During the meeting, Obama will answer questions from audience members selected by ABC News. Other questions will be culled from those submitted on ABCNews.com. ABC News' Medical Editor Dr. Timothy
Johnson will also take part in the broadcast, which will examine ideas for revamping the nation's health care system to reduce costs and extend coverage to 46 million Americans who lack insurance.
The hour-long broadcast will be followed by an edition of "Nightline," where more of the meeting will be aired.
The broadcasts will cap a day of special coverage of the president and his key initiatives on ABC. "Good Morning America" anchor Sawyer handled her segments of the show, including an interview with the president, from the White House this morning. Later, Gibson will anchor "World News" from the Blue Room of the White House. ABC Radio is also doing a special report on the health care issue.
The wall-to-wall coverage of the Obama's and the signature issue in his domestic policy portfolio has left Republicans irritated. Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Ken McKay wrote a letter to ABC, complaining that "this event will become a glorified infomercial to promote the Democrat agenda."
ABC News Senior Vice President Kerry Smith responded in a letter of his own to the RNC, saying the network intends to offer a balanced series of broadcasts that will be beyond White House control.
"ABC News alone will select those who will be in the audience asking questions of the president," Smith wrote. "Like any programs we broadcast, ABC News will have complete editorial control. To suggest otherwise is quite unfair to both our journalists and our audience."
Posted at 11:10 AM ET on Jun 24, 2009
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