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Chat With The Eye!

By Ed O'Keefe

The Eye took your questions during Tuesday's Post Politics Hour. Some highlights appear below:

Washington, DC: I see that the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act made it out of subcommittee. I am assuming it will win committee approval soon. What's the "conventional wisdom" on its chances for passage this year? There seems to be enough bipartisan support in the Senate, but I have not heard much about it lately.

Ed O'Keefe: It did clear a House subcommittee and will now have to get voted out of the full House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. As I wrote a few weeks back, Republicans seem intent on raising discrimination concerns, arguing that the bill will not account fairly for the unmarried heterosexual partners (long-time, live-in boyfriends, etc.) of federal employees. Still, Republicans don't have the votes on the committee to block the bill. As for full House passage, it's likely, but again, keep an eye on what Republicans do or say to stop or at least raise concerns about the bill.

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Washington, DC: Um, in light of Secretary Clinton's partial meltdown during a question overseas, was Dana Milbank's suggestion of a beer for her really that out of line?

Ed O'Keefe: Nice try. Next?

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New York: Ed, thanks for the chat. Seems to me that Obama learned the lessons of Clinton health reform too well: While he headed off opposition from reform's old enemies -- making deals with pharma, hospitals, AMA, insurers, etc. -- he clearly overlooked the power of the Internet in fomenting anger and fear among the ill-informed. My question is: When do they bring out Michelle to clean up their mess? Thanks.

Ed O'Keefe: Haha -- it may take something like that at this point.

But I think you've touched on something -- they covered their bases by getting the "old" opposition to sign on to reform, but failed to see the new realities of political discourse. That's odd, considering his campaign's ability to exploit online tools during the presidential campaign. Maybe we need to count this whole episode as another example of the difficulties of using online tools when governing?

Remember -- the White House has launched a new Web site, similar to the Obama campaign's "Fight the Smears" site -- designed to help supporters craft their messages to opponents of the plans.

your role: I feel the profession of journalism, once a critical part of our democracy, has collapsed. How do you view your role. There are no death panels. Period. As a reporter, when covering the issue, should you not come out and say the Palins and Gingrichs are just flat-out making up absurd claims?

Ed O'Keefe: Do your own Google search folks, reporters are refuting Palin's claims, you don't need me to repeat it for you.

I'm not one of The Post reporters who regularly covers health care, but I've seen plenty of news reports that explicitly refute Sarah Palin:

Examples:

MSNBC's "First Read" blog: "Palin and other critics are wrong."

ABC's "Political Punch by Jake Tapper":
"...pictures of government bureaucrats forcing euthanasia upon seniors -- and, now, children with Down syndrome -- because they're not productive members of society are not part of any reasonable debate on the facts of the matter."

Associated Press: "No such 'death panel' has been proposed."

Read the full chat here.

By Ed O'Keefe  | August 11, 2009; 9:13 AM ET
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