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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.)

Continue reading at Political Browser »

By Ben Pershing  |  July 23, 2009; 8:35 AM ET
Categories:  The Rundown  
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Watched the press conference...certainly it was not 100 percent perfect/factual.

But so what, the basic message was conveyed. Do nothing and the crumbling system continues at a costly rate. But there is an option. Lets turn the page and see if we can fix it.

I got that message. A little bit of focus would have provided the same message to others.

Its a collective approach to get this done, one can only hope that on this common sense rules!

Posted by: Victoria5 | July 24, 2009 2:33 AM | Report abuse

WOO HOO! Obama loses this battle. Dingy Harry Reid just announced the heathcare vote will NOT happen before August recess!

Posted by: JakeD | July 23, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse


The healthcare reform bill released by the House Of Representatives is an excellent bill as I understand it. It's a bill with a strong, robust, government-run public option, and an intelligent, reasonable initial funding plan to cover almost all of the American people. It is carefully written, and thoughtfully constructed, informed, prudent and wise. This bill will save trillions of dollars, and millions of your lives. It is also now supported by the AMA.

This is the type of bill that all Americans can feel good about. And this is the type of bill that has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans. Rich, middle class and poor a like. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and all other party affiliations. This bill has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life of every American.

The house healthcare bill should be viewed as the minimum GOLD STANDARD by which all other proposed healthcare legislation should be judged. All supporters of true high quality healthcare reform should now place all your support behind this healthcare reform bill released by the United States House Of Representatives, as the minimum Gold standard for healthcare reform in America.

You should all now support this bill with all your might, and all of your unrelenting tenacity. This healthcare bill is a VERY, VERY GOOD! bill for all of the American people. Fight tooth, and nail for every bit of this bill if you have too. Be aggressive, creative, and relentless for this bill.

From this time forward, go BIGGER and DEEPER with the American people every day until passage of healthcare reform with a robust, government-run public option.

FIGHT!! like your life and the lives of your loved ones depends on it. BECAUSE IT DOES!


Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (

God Bless You

Jack Smith — Working Class

Posted by: JackSmith1 | July 23, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Uncle Ben who wrote this article today seems to be on that insurance company money train passing through Washington. ALL ABOARD.

Posted by: seemstome | July 23, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

No one else thought Obama's opening statement last night went a long way to shoring up public support for his health care agenda?

Posted by: parkerfl1 | July 23, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

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