On Health Care, Obama Tries to Make Policies Personal
By Ben Pershing
At President Obama's fourth primetime press conference Wednesday night, Tom Shales writes, "clarity reigned." It certainly was clear what Obama wanted to do: Amid all the talk of "bending the curve" and reimbursement rates and efficiencies, Obama had been accused of not telling Americans in clear terms what health care reform meant for them personally, and so he tried to rectify that. But did he succeed?
Under the headline, "Obama: Things stink," Roger Simon writes: "Barack Obama has seen the present, and it doesn't work." Fortunately, though, "The future is really going to be sweet." The New York Times says Obama "sounded cerebral as he delved into policy specifics for nearly an hour and tried to link them to the concerns of ordinary Americans." The Wall Street Journal focused on the news -- Obama "endorsed a surtax on families earning $1 million a year for the first time." At The New Republic, Jonathan Cohn reveals "the most striking thing to me was Obama's willingness -- in that question about doctors and a few others -- to speak candidly about his health plan, even if that meant giving openings to some of his critics."
And there certainly are critics this morning. Obama was accused of making a few factual flubs, particularly on Medicare and deficit projections. The Associated Press declared, "Obama's assertion Wednesday that government will stay out of health care decisions in an overhauled system is hard to square with the proposals coming out of Congress and with his own rhetoric." Conservative blogger Gabriel Malor writes, "In all, he had some very clear villains in tonight's performance: doctors, insurers, Republicans, and the Cambridge police department." (In particular, Malor mocked Obama for saying "I don't know all the facts," about the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, then declaring a moment later that "the Cambridge police acted stupidly." Did the White House want a whole separate set of stories this morning devoted to the Gates comments, perhaps distracting from the health care message? Probably not.)
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