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The Rundown

8 a.m. ET: "Health care reform is not something I just cooked up when I took office," President Obama told attendees at a town hall meeting in Green Bay yesterday. Instead -- as is also the case with the auto industry's meltdown, the budget deficit and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- the nation's health care problems were already in full bloom when Obama took office.

Whether he's talking about the financial crisis, Guantanamo Bay or a half-dozen other issues, Obama "wastes few opportunities to remind the country that the problems are not of his making," Peter Baker writes in today's New York Times, adding: "But at a certain point, a new president assumes ownership of the problems and finds himself answering for his own actions. For Mr. Obama, even some advisers say that moment may be coming soon."

Politically, what does that mean for the president? To start, his poll numbers may drop. On some issues, they already have. It was widely noted earlier this week that a Gallup survey showed a measurable uptick in the percentage of respondents who disapproved of Obama's economic policies. And a new Gallup poll shows 55 percent of Americans disapprove of current U.S. policy toward GM. Numbers like that will affect Obama, regardless of whether it was him or President Bush who started the country on the path of bailing out auto companies.

Right now, for example, Obama is working to get a supplemental spending bill through Congress that is mostly about issues predating his presidency -- the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, closing Guantanamo and controversial photos of military detainees. The measure looks likely to move now after Obama personally intervened to save a deal, as long as Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham don't still try to block the measure unless it prohibits the release of the detainee photos.

Here's another problem for Democrats as a party that predates Obama -- John Murtha. The House ethics panel announced yesterday that it has begun a preliminary probe of the defunct lobbying firm PMA, which was particularly close to Murtha as well as Pete Visclosky and Jim Moran. The publicization of the ethics committee probe "moves Republicans closer to gaining a corruption issue in 2010," Associated Press writes. The ethics issue has already gotten House Republicans excited.

What else will the GOP focus on this summer? Gas prices. Republicans are reportedly considering another floor protest on energy this summer similar to the effort they mounted last August. This year's version would be aimed at the climate change bill, which already faces opposition among some Democrats, particularly those on the Agriculture Committee.

And finally, in case you have lived in a cave in recent months and didn't know, the digital TV transition takes effect today. Will the world come to an end? The Los Angeles Times headlines their story, "Smooth digital TV transition is expected." But the Wall Street Journal went with, "Millions Of US Homes Still Unprepared For Digital-TV Switch." Whatever the case, rest assured that you will still be able to read The Rundown every morning without buying any new equipment.

By Ben Pershing  |  June 12, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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Obama's Inherited Problems

lets see...Pelosi,Franks,Reid,Biden,Hillary

Posted by: JWx2 | June 12, 2009 8:30 AM

No doubt Obama inherited big problems. The time has definitely come to stop pointing fingers and take responsibility for his proposals.

Rather than move on new initiatives I would rather have the president order an audit of all federal programs. Rather than exploit this crisis as an excuse to create more of a tax burden (cap and trade, health care) I would like to see it used as an excuse to clean up under- or non-performing federal agencies/programs. After that we could look at adding new programs. Obama has proved so far to be nothing more than your average politician - far from the image he cultivated during the campaign.

Posted by: floucka | June 12, 2009 9:21 AM

Honestly, after barely 5 months in office, the country's woes belong to Obama?

It took Bush a full 8 years to mess things up this badly, not that he did it by himself. The US senate and Congress need to shoulder some of the blame here too.

Had they not passed all of these bad bills, Bush wouldn't have signed them into law.

I would say honestly, that Obama's effect on things will not be seen until at least summer of 2010. It takes time for laws to affect the bottom line.

Thats my take on it. After all, it took Clinton a few years to clean up after 12 years of Republican rule, or don't we remember that?

Posted by: aoe2junkie | June 12, 2009 9:23 AM

Harry Truman sported a sign on this desk "The buck stops here". I think it was a reminder to people on both sides of the desk of the realities of the Office of the Presidency.

I think history will remember Obama as "Obama the Disappointer".

Posted by: Freeminds | June 12, 2009 9:42 AM




A federal "multi-agency coordinated action" program appears to provide funding, organizational structure and, the evidence indicates, direction, for what amounts to an "American Gestapo"...

... an extrajudicial targeting and punishment "matrix" that has drafted hundreds of thousands of citizen volunteer vigilantes to stalk, harass, terrorize and yes, TORTURE, many many thousands of unjustly "targeted" American citizens and their families...

...using covertly implanted GPS tracking devices and classified microwave radiation "directed energy weapons" -- which have been proliferated to local law enforcement nationwide by government agencies that include the Department of Justice.

This "multi-agency coordinated action" appears to be overseen by secretive security forces close to the seat of executive power (but apparently under the radar of POTUS and his closest aides).

My task here is to issue a WAKE-UP CALL to POTUS, VPOTUS, AG Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel -- and to apparently naive, disbelieving (or perhaps co-opted?) civil liberties organizations such as ACLU.

If their aides are reading this, please forward the following link to their immediate attention:


OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):


A NOTE TO SEC. NAPOLITANO: My postings to Washington Post's political blogs, as well as other internet sites, appear to be subject to near- real-time prior restraint and outright censorship that I believe emanates from the Homeland Security- supervised "fusion center" based in Newtown, Bucks County PA.

Secretary Napolitano, I believe your charges are allowing the imposition of unconstitutional prior restraint and censorship on political speech and telecommunications in America. Please do something about this. Thank you.

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 12, 2009 10:19 AM

I think scrivener 50 needs a big hug and a new puppy

Posted by: StevG | June 12, 2009 3:02 PM

"... regardless of whether it was him [sic] or President Bush who started the country on the path of bailing out auto companies."

I think him did, but Bush did his part.

Posted by: creekguy | June 12, 2009 3:39 PM

Imagine a new sign was seen outside the White House today – “This Pottery Barn Outlet is now closed for repairs.”

The IMF bailout for bankrupt European banks that the White House attached to the war supplemental seems to be a scamola in which nefarious NSC types want to skim off from the top billions to divert a la Iran-Contra onward to their losing Af-Pak war effort.

The war supplemental with the IMF rider has got to be defeated.

Did anyone watch today’s WH press conference?

Obama’s Health Initiative degenerated into a farcical medical infomercial to promote more yoga, more tatter tots, and more speed.

All bets are off whether a call goes out tonight to PR fire marshal David Gergen, Director of the Center for Public Leadership and a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Gergen’s already been a political Pottery Barn-Chai Wallah for Bill Clinton…. a thankless job.

….And naturally, as one would expect, hated it.

WH JOB POSTING: GS-infinity – More millionaire arm-twisting political slumdogs, just like Rahm, wanted.

Any takers?

Not me, bub.

Posted by: lockmallup | June 12, 2009 4:13 PM

I am exhausted reading all of these blogs and posted replies about it being "Bush's fault"....

The author alluded to bailing out of companies done under Bush's watch...what the media never finds worthy of mentioning is that those bailouts occurred because lots of Democrats, most importantly Barack Obama, SUPPORTED the bailout too!

And, I'm sorry, but Obama DOES own the deficits for 2009 too - ALL OF THEM! The 2009 budget, for the most part, was passed AFTER Obama took office, remember? Along with the humongous stimulus plan.

So, please, recognize that the time has come, NOW, for Obama to actually BE THE PRESIDENT, instead of just playing one on TV.

Thank you.

Posted by: boosterprez | June 12, 2009 7:12 PM

Lately it appears one perhaps unfixable problem Obama inherited that's not going away, is the question of where he was actually born.

Many Americans are still wondering since frankly, his actions aren't leaving them much of a choice.

Why instead of being forthcoming, has he bought a whole team of lawyers to fight the release of his seemingly innocent and (if legal) inconsequential birth certificate?

Seems to me like a reasonable question that deserves a simple and reasonable solution in the form of a "transparent" release. What could possibly be gained by Obama leaving proof of his citizenship as such a mystery?

Posted by: artyanimal | June 13, 2009 11:14 AM

Health care for everyone is truly an altruistic goal. However, it may be an unrealistic one. We actually have a system that works, but needs tweaking only. Reimbusement rates may have to be looked at and negotiated with providers and insurance companies. If you are poor you have coverage under medicaid. If you are retired medicare. Working people more than likely have employer plans. Public health centers really do take care of the underinsured, illegal immigrants and medicaid patients. These physicans are academics and offer better care than most of us insured patients get. They are truly outstanding and dedicated individuals. For those who fall into the cracks - NYS has a great plan to help these individuals. Why can't all states do this? My ex-mother in law is from France and has "socialized" medicine. Remember Micahel Moores documentary about how great the French system is. Wrong. She would'nt dream of getting healthcare anywhere but here, even if she has to pay for it. Additionally, we go the way Europe and many countries go, that is "socialized", we will lose all of the talent. Doctors come here to make money. It's no secret and we are a society based on capitalism. The best and the brightest choose to come here and do research and work here. Even if they have to go back to medical school and redo their residency. Think about this. That really says something. You will lose this talent pool. Why should they go through all of that to come here if it is the same system they are leaving. We will regress in terms of technology, research and cutting edge. Additionally, europeans will tell you if you have money in Europe, you move to the head of the health care line. It's no secret to them - it is a two tier system. Some countries even support euthenasia - although they certainly don't call it that. The care just stops and "other" end of life alternatives are discussed. I think that if states just went the way NYS has to fill the gap for those who are not insured, this would be enough. An entire change to a system that acutally delivers great cutting edge care would be devastating to the system and to the country. P.S.: You are doing a great job Pres. Obama!

Posted by: Carolyn5491 | June 13, 2009 10:14 PM

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