No reform is better than a public option, Lieberman says
By John Amick
CBS: FACE THE NATION - Lieberman: No reform is better than a public option
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Sunday that no health-care reform bill at all is better than legislation that includes some form of a government-run public option.
"The truth is that nothing is better than that (a public option) because I think we ought to follow, if I may, the doctors' oath here in Congress as we deal with health care reform: Do no harm," Lieberman said.
Lieberman, a critical vote for Senate Democrats in the health-care debate, said a public option, unlike extending insurance coverage to the uninsured and controlling premium costs, was never a priority until recently.
The former Democratic vice-presidential candidate, now an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, said he would not filibuster to stop debate on health reform, but he feels strongly about discarding any public option. He called public option backers who have declared their stance as the only way to true reform as part of a "classic Washington" scenario that is stifling debate while broad bipartisan support exists for a host of other important reforms.
He pointed to a report from Congressional Budget Office, released on Friday, that figured "a less healthy pool of enrollees" would probably be attracted to the government-run option, resulting in higher premiums than the average private plan.
Axelrod: Abdullah's drop-out doesn't change much
Senior presidential adviser David Axelrod downplayed Abdullah Abdullah's exit from the Afghanistan presidential runoff election, saying it didn't markedly change the situation for the U.S. on the eve of President Obama's announcement on Afghan strategy.
Every poll that had been taken there suggested that he was likely to be defeated anyway," Axelrod said, echoing similar sentiment from Valerie Jarrett, a fellow adviser to the president, on ABC today. "So we are going to deal with the government that is there. And obviously there are issues we need to discuss, such as reducing the high level of corruption. These are issues we'll take up with President Karzai."
Read more Sunday show roundup after the jump.
Axelrod dismissed commments radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh said about President Obama going to Dover Air Force Base for a "photo op" as deceased soldier came home from Afghanistan. He called Limbaugh an entertainer, saying, "It's a surreal day when you're getting lectures on humility from Rush Limbaugh."
On reports of a shortage of H1NI vaccine this week, Axelrod explained that the administration had repeated what vaccine manufacturers told them about vaccine access. Nevertheless, Axelrod said the federal government will be "caught up in a week."
ABC: THIS WEEK - Jarrett: Up to Afghanistan to go forward
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah's exit from the Afghanistan presidential election runoff doesn't make it more difficult for President Obama and the U.S. to devise an effective strategy in Afghanistan, presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett said today.
"We don't think that it's going to add a complication to the strategy," Jarrett said. "It's up to the Afghan people and their authorities to decide how to proceed going forward.... We're going to work with the leader of the Afghan government and hopefully that's going to improve the state of conditions for the people in Afghanistan, and also help us as we try to bring this war to a close."
Jarrett would not predict when Obama will announce his renewed strategy in Afghanistan, saying he will go through a deliberate process to ensure the best possible plan is put in place.
Repeating past statements by the White House, Jarrett said the president will not put certain conditions on the inclusion of a public option in health-care reform, but will seek a bill that extends coverage to the uninsured, controls costs, does not raise taxes on the middle class and keeps a rising federal deficit in check.
"He is confident that a bill that's going to be passed is going to be consistent with his parameters," she said.
NBC: MEET THE PRESS - Geithner recognizes growth, persistent unemployment problems
On NBC's "Meet the Press," host David Gregory pressed Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on the pace of the economic recovery and whether the administration was considering a second stimulus package. Geithner said the jump in economic growth during the third quarter was good news, but acknowledged that unemployment continued to be a critical problem.
"Unemployment is worse than almost everybody expected," Geithner said. "But growth is back a little more quickly, a little stronger than people thought."
He declined to say whether he believed the recession was over, and brushed aside questions about whether the administration would push for a new round of stimulus. "I don't think we need to make that judgement yet," he said, noting that the deployment of about half of the funds in the initial spending package is "still ahead of us."
Geithner defended White House estimates that the stimulus had saved millions of jobs. "This is fact," he said. "When a school does not have to fire a teacher.... that's a job saved.... Without the actions the Congress and the president took, you would have seen millions more jobs lost" and deeper cuts in critical government services.
He added that the banking system is stabilizing, but warned against lenders learning the wrong lessons from the recession.
"The big risk we face now is that banks are going to overcorrect and not take enough risk," he said. "We need them to take a chance again on the American economy.
Gregory also interviewed former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, who was marking the release of his new book "The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory." Among the highlights was Plouffe's description of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) as "kind of playing the role of Pied Piper for the Republican Party, which I'm comfortable with." He argued that as leaders like Palin attempted to bring the party more to the right, Republicans face "catastrophic problems" with moderates and young voters and have been reduced to core support of about 23 percent of voters.
CNN: STATE OF THE UNION - Boehner downplays rise of conservative candidate
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the voluntary exit by moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava -- and the rise of conservative third-party candidate Doug Hoffman -- from the upcoming election for New York's 23rd Congressional District an "unusual circumstance," though Boehner would not say whether he thought party infighting was bad for Republicans.
On another campaign exit, Boehner said actions by Afghanistan presidential contender Abdullah Abdullah to step out of the upcoming runoff election against President Hamid Karzai was a result of seeing the writing on the wall.
"I think everyone expected that President Karzai was going to be re-elected," Boehner said. "So Dr. Abdullah's exit from this race, I think, really says more about the fact that he knew he wasn't going to win."
But, Boehner said, Abdullah's decision shouldn't change American policy in Afghanistan.
"The longer this decision hangs, the more jeopardy and the more danger our troops on the ground there are in the middle of," he said. "We've had the highest casualty totals in years over the last month or two. Why? Because all of the uncertainty around what the president's going to decide. I'm concerned about this delay. I would hope that the president would make a decision and make it soon."
FOX NEWS SUNDAY - Limbaugh: Obama doesn't care about victory in Afghanistan
In a one-on-one interview with Fox News, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said that President Obama does not care about victory in Afghanistan, that Obama recently went to Dover Air Force Base as deceased troops came home only for a photo-op, that in no way is the country safer after 9 months with Obama as president, that Democrats' only motivation for reforming health care is to control one-sixth of the economy and snatch freedoms, that he is not threatened by fellow conservative commentator Glenn Beck, that Sarah Palin is ready to be president and that Barack Obama will not be re-elected in 2012.
Posted at 12:29 PM ET on Nov 1, 2009
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