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Morning Fix: All Obama Press Conference, All the Time

President Barack Obama talks about the state of American health-care reform at a news conference in the East Room of the White House. Photo by Marvin Joseph of the Washington Post

The Fix spent last night tweeting and analyzing President Obama's prime time news conference -- his fourth since being sworn in as the 44th president of the United States.

As a result, it's a slow morning in this space -- the Fix is, after all, human. (Stop the presses!)

But, just in case you somehow missed the presser or just want more analysis of it, here's a list of stories to check out:

• Our "First Thoughts" on the press conference
• Tom Shales -- the Post's TV critic -- offers his take.
• Former Post managing editor Bob Kaiser chatted about the presser as soon as it ended.
• The Post's Michael Fletcher's analysis of the arc of Obama's first six months and how the press conference fits in.

Thursday's Fix Picks: We read 'em so you don't have to.

1. Robert Draper on Valerie Jarrett.
2. Roger Simon on Obama's "things stink" messaging.
3. Hillary on Barack.
4. Bob Graham endorses Kendrick Meek.
5. Mark Sanford is going to Europe!

DNC Goes After DeMint: The Democratic National Committee is up with ads in South Carolina hitting homestate Sen. Jim DeMint (R) for his much-publicized comment that a defeat of President Obama's health care plan would amount to a "Waterloo" for the chief executive. "Senator DeMint is playing politics with our health care," says the ad's narrator. "The only plan Jim DeMint supports is no plan at all." The ad will run on cable stations in the Greenville and Columbia media markets as well as in Washington, D.C. DeMint rose to the challenge, issuing a statement calling it "disappointing" that Obama "lowered the discourse of this important debate with false personal attacks." An important note: If past DNC ad buys are any guide, is not a major expenditure by the committee. The goal, however, isn't to defeat DeMint -- after all, he isn't up for reelection to a third term until 2014 he's up in 2010 but sits in a very Republican state. Rather, the White House wants to send a message that opposition to its legislative plans will not be taken lying down, and is putting a marker down for future fights.

Rell Rises Above: Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell (R) is the exception that proves the rule. In a political environment where governors across the country and embattled as they seek to balance budgets amid the economic downturn, and where the Republican brand remains badly tarnished, Rell continues to prosper politically. A new Quinnipiac survey shows that nearly two-thirds of those polled approve of the job Rell is doing although that number is down from the astounding 73 percent job approval rating the incumbent had in a late May Q poll. Asked whether they would vote to reelect Rell in 2010, nearly six in ten said either they would definitely do so (15 percent) or probably (43 percent) do so. Those are the sorts of numbers any politician -- even one named Barack Obama -- would love to see right about now; the data also suggests that Rell will be tough to beat next November if she decides to run although Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz and former state House Speaker James Amman are also considering the race. One interesting sidenote from the poll: Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the man widely seen as the heir apparent if Sen. Chris Dodd (D) decides not to seek reelection in 2010, is even more popular than Rell. Seventy-nine percent of voters approve of how he is doing his job while just 13 percent disapprove.

Tausch Out, Ayotte Staffs Up: Wealthy businessman Fred Tausch has decided against a run for the Republican nomination in the New Hampshire Senate race, a move that should bolster former state attorney general Kelly Ayotte's bid for the seat. A source close to Tausch insisted the decision had nothing at all to do with Ayotte and the establishment support lining up behind her in Washington but rather was a personal, family decision. Tausch's exit leaves 1996 gubernatorial nominee Ovide LaMontagne as the only major hurdle to a clear primary field for Ayotte. As LaMontagne mulls a run, Ayotte has begun making some staff moves; she has brought on Tom Daffron of the Jefferson Consulting Group to oversee her efforts in Washington and Joel Maoila, a former chief of staff to retiring Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) to ride herd on her campaign in the Granite State.

Say What?: "The speeches she gave I think bugged a lot of people, not just me." -- South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) explaining to CNN's Wolf Blitzer why he is supporting Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 23, 2009; 5:50 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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For those new around here, it's worth noting that "JakeD" really is as thick-witted and dull as he appears, no, it isn't an act.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 24, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse


Was Waterloo a "battle"?

Posted by: JakeD | July 23, 2009 6:15 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 5:43 PM | Report abuse

jakey is no citizen.....(muuuhhhaaa)

i find it interesting jake, that you pick the words "Obama loses this battle"...

is it a battle?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 23, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

i'm disappointed in ya.
President Obama was taking the stage in Ohio at the time Reid announced.
It was payback for the President waiting for the house vote --(was it 2 days ago?)
on the F22 funding speech in the Rose Garden.

It is no "victory".
President Obama just came out & said (LIVE)..keep working. Do you NOT see the strategy?

earth to jakey

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 23, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

And Republicans will take the blame for stalling on health care, so there is no way Obama can lose.

Leave it to Republican JakeD to rejoice in the nation's failure. Some f*cking citizen.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 23, 2009 4:00 PM | 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 3:14 PM | Report abuse

reason5 (and mark_in_austin):
I believe Jon Kyl has already said publicly that he will be voting against the Sotomayor nomination (Mitch McConnell too, though that is not a surprise). So, the Minority Whip (Kyl) is voting no -- we'll see how effective a whip he is.

Posted by: mnteng | July 23, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse


There was a story yesterday about United Health Care Group's OBSCENE CEO + Executive compensation based on their $4.64 Billion profits. WHY hasn't this story set the net and the blogs aflame with indignation as the Congress drags its feet on health care reform, much of it based not on idiological purity but because many are bought and paid for by the insurance companies?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: people's ill-health should NOT be a for-profit venture!

Here is a link to the article which has further made me lose my usual sang-froid:

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 23, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

We should make tobacco illegal, otherwise tax it to cover its medical cost. A third of smokers will die from complications from smoking. That's ridiculous. Why is this crap legal?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 23, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

It's called capitalism. Get a job.


Great advice from a guy who posts here sixteen hours a day from a mental institution

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 23, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh-- as reference for the number of uninsured children, here's the link:

Those numbers are from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The numbers would be much higher if it were not for the SCHIP program.

Posted by: dcgrasso1 | July 23, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't recall Obama mentioning this fact last night: of the 47 million Americans who are uninsured, at least 8.3 million, or 18%, are children.

He did briefly mention another fact that should be of interest to fiscal conservatives out there. It is FAR more expensive to allow someone to remain uninsured. Uninsured people don't use primary care clinics or physicians; they wait till they're coughing up blood and go to the emergency room. How much does it cost to treat an eye infection? How much does it cost if the person goes blind as a result of waiting till it's too late to save the eye?

More important to me than the financial cost of universal health care, is the moral cost of NOT providing it.

Posted by: dcgrasso1 | July 23, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Tax sugared soda/ soda pop. There is no nutritional value which contributes heavily to obesity, with costs of $700/per person for the overweight in increased medical costs.

Posted by: mesondk | July 23, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

what is the public option of this plan?

i haven't pulled it up yet.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 23, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"you are kidding, right?

[about proposing:] Just allow X amount of people from Community Y to be offered a discounted price by insurers based on the number of people insured. To me, this doesn't have to be brain surgery"

Reason's proposal, as I understand it, is to more strictly regulate insurance companies, mandating that they make coverage available to people they're currently excluding. The idea is that such regulation keeps the private insurance industry rather than establishing a public policy as a competitor to private offerings. Its certainly not the worst proposal out there & would be an improvement on the existing system. Such a proposal would still need to be combined with other efforts designed to reduce the rate of health care cost inflation we're seeing now.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 23, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

you are kidding, right?

Just allow X amount of people from Community Y to be offered a discounted price by insurers based on the number of people insured. To me, this doesn't have to be brain surgery

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 23, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

but the hillarycare "think tank" formed right after Clinton took office- brought
data and facts to the table.
Data and facts that had to be acknowledged by the mere fact that no one was/had been acknowledging the numbers previously.
We began to truly find out how many people were on (or on the threashold of being on"-- the "low income federal/state controlled health programs".
It blew them away.

Hillarycare's think thank also brought out insurance companies, third party administrators, and the hospitals into the fray.

What happened was-
the data and facts "left the table" but the insurance companies, third party administrators and the hospitals did not.
so to speak...

years later...the data and facts of the infamous hillary think tank take hold again.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 23, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse


• Is Team Obama unaware -- or are surveillance overseers insubordinate and out of control?

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 23, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"so is this in the senate now?"

Its still in committee, certainly in the House. There might be competing bills in Senate committees too. Passing in both houses will be a mess. Reconciliation will be a big mess. There is still a lot of work to be done...

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 23, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

One missed opportunity for the President could have bolstered his point about the cost of doing nothing: since 'hillarycare' was killed 15 years ago, nothing has been done and we've seen the problem grow significantly. Whatever the problems were with hillarycare, its pretty clear that doing nothing is not a viable alternative either.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 23, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

You know, I don't really care so much about all of the race talk. I care about the central issue involved here: true healthcare reform. I just have not heard many real life solutions from politicians. The President at least has a plan. I happen to disagree with the public option, but at least he has a plan. Republicans have came up with nothing but amendment like "ideas" that stall the bill. I don't think Obama is right on the public option and I definately think he is wrong to try to push & shove this bill through without real debate. Thus far, Obama is losing the debate on healthcare reform but we will see how that press conference affects the debate. I would love to see a mandated community rating system through the private sector. Just allow X amount of people from Community Y to be offered a discounted price by insurers based on the number of people insured. To me, this doesn't have to be brain surgery. I would be against the government putting max's & minimum's on prices & the number of people insured on the discounted rates. However, if gov't. mandated that every health insurance company have a community rated system this would make health insurance more attainable for many uninsured persons. Much like company rates do. Why not community rates? It still sticks money into the system without major price drops helping to insure we maintain great doctors, nurses, medications & money for technologies helping our healthcare system continue to strive.

Mark_in_Austin: I thought Graham would support Sotomayor, and he is. I also believe Grassley & Cornyn will support Sotomayor. Collins & Snowe will certainly support her confirmation. I also believe John McCain will support her confirmation. NC Senator Richard Burr will also likely support her confirmation, as rapidly as my state's hispanic population is growing he has too. Plus the fact that our legendary Sen. Jessee Helms supported her to appealate, Burr will definately support her confirmation. Fl. Republican Mel Martinez has announced he is supporting her. Jon Kyl may vote for her as well. John Ensign's vote will be interesting, as he may end up voting for her. Some Republicans will fight the fight: Jim DeMint, Saxby Chambliss, Jess Sessions. But many will vote for her. I predict she will be confirmed with around 70 votes.

Posted by: reason5 | July 23, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

anti-obama clan will probably bring up the teleprompter bull.

so is this in the senate now?
I heard pelosi yesterday.

Daddy, what's Waterloo?
DeMint: Well son, it's where we shoot the messenger instead of the message. Didn't we go over our republican strategy yesterday at breakfast?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 23, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I saw the news conference, starting at about 15 minutes in. What I liked:

MedPAC (submitting Medicare review committee's recommendations to up-or-down vote in Congress)
Commitment to budget-neutrality
Reminder that doing nothing is expensive
Emphasis on incorporating GOP ideas even if they don't attract GOP votes.

For people who were watching, I suspect the President was generally reassuring that he's focused on solving problems rather than gaining partisan advantage. While he did criticize the efforts of some Repubs for politicizing the debate (i.e. DeMint), he also stressed the desire to get input from all sides in order to produce good legislation.

Of course, the anti-Obama crowd will predictably have nothing good to say; but they are only further marginalizing themselves and convincing the rest of us they aren't interested in solving problems.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 23, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

The highlight for me was the Henry Louis Gates question. Here's the video in case you missed it:

Posted by: mjwilstein | July 23, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

"...Lindsey Graham (R) explaining to CNN's Wolf Blitzer why he is supporting Sonia Sotomayor's nomination..."

I remind all that our Sotomayor pool predictions can be found at:

Morning Fix: Winners and Losers, Sotomayor Day 4

I am feeling pretty good about my picks:
I predict that LG, Cornyn, and Grassley will join the Ds on the SJC in recommending her to the floor and that she will pick up 14 R Senators on the confirmation vote.

Pool, anyone?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 17, 2009 7:38 AM

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 23, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

ATTENTION POTUS (c/o R. Emanuel, D. Axelrod, V. Jarrett)

What happened to Prof. Gates is emblematic of...





"CIA Assassination Ring" a Cover Story to Shield a Nationwide American Gestapo?


• Bush-legacy extrajudicial targeting/punishment network makes a mockery of the rule of law at the grassroots -- violating civil and human rights.

President Obama has been co-opted into becoming the enabler of a federally-funded and overseen "multi-agency coordinated action" program of nationwide extrajudicial targeting and punishment...

...a vigilante Gestapo "torture matrix" that is misusing federally-funded volunteer programs to subvert the rule of law. This nationwide civilian vigilante army covertly implants GPS tracking devices to stalk, persecute, vandalize and harass unjustly targeted citizens and their families -- with no court warrant.

This secretive multi-agency "program" also misuses government surveillance operations to censor, and maliciously tamper with, the telecommunications of many thousands of the unjustly targeted -- and funnels surveillance data to citizen "gang stalker" harassers.

An array of "programs of personal financial destruction" decimates the finances of "target" families -- contributing to economic distress. And microwave "directed energy weapons" are being used to degrade their very lives -- a gross violation of human rights, government-enabled crimes against humanity.

And no authorities will investigate -- invoking the "Gulag" tactic of dismissing those who seek justice as "delusional."

Please, Team Obama: Wake up and smell the police state that is co-opting your administration and making POTUS a pitchman and enabler for an American Gestapo.

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled): (see "stream" or "stories" list; malicious hackers have removed the story link from my main blog page.)

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 23, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

time for your pill, zouk. Even when he's talking to him self he's insulting, LOL!!!
seriously folks, check out the article about how big companies aren't unified in their opposition of healthcare reform. Not a big surprise but I'm shocked that wapo would carry an article that didn't show strict adherence to the GOP meme. OK, that's not fair of me, but this split the difference journalism, and the overwhelmingly conservative stable of op-ed writers is getting tiresome. Especially when suppositions like MAY are used in a headline, that's guessing that's not news.
I have to tell you I very much enjoyed reading the comments from I think last thursdays FIX, when chrisfox and bobbyWC, I think, and a couple of others had a nice long discussion with facts and figures and some give and take. It was what I always want to see when I sign in. Insults and namecalling posts too often distract, but that was a great discussion. Agreeing to disagree can be a wonderful exchange of ideas sometimes, and while no one is convinced off of their position, understanding why the other person feels the way they do helps for better relations. Sometimes, in some comments, it's hard to believe you're all from the same country. So here's to CIVIL DISCOURSE and intelligent, thoughtful posts!!

Posted by: katem1 | July 23, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

The White House hopes people tuned in for the knock-out opening statement...and then turned the TV off for the very wonkish and uninspiring Q&A.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | July 23, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Earlier this week, the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol urged conservative activists and Republicans to “resist the temptation” to work with Democrats in crafting health reform and instead “go for the kill.” Kristol famously wrote a memo before the Clinton health care debate similarly urging Republicans, and then Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA), “to defeat any Democratic health reform bill” as a political strategy to “send them to voters empty-handed.”

Posted by: drindl | July 23, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

More republican fascism:

tate Rep. John Adams (R-OH) has re-introduced radical legislation that would prevent a woman from having an abortion until she gets written consent from the biological father. As proposed, the bill triggers criminal penalties against women for “providing a false biological father.” Adams says the “first-degree misdemeanor” would be punishable with up to “six months” in jail and a “$1,000 fine.” Labeled by Adams as a “father’s right bill,” the lawmaker would give men the final say on abortion in the state of Ohio:

In the case where the father isn’t known, House Bill 252 would compel the woman to provide a list of names of people who may be the father in an effort to determine paternity. The bill also would make it a crime for women to lie about who the father is, and make it illegal for doctors to perform abortions without the father’s consent.

The bill would force a woman to have a child if the father does not agree to an abortion.

Posted by: drindl | July 23, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

en. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has been aggressively attacking President Obama recently, saying his efforts to reform health care will be his “Waterloo” and that it will ultimately “break him.” He’s also said the health care debate is “a real showdown between socialism and freedom.” When asked about DeMint’s charges during a conference call with local reporters, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) called them “way off base.” The Hill reports:

“I didn’t like particularly the way that Sen. DeMint said it,” Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) said in a conference call with Missouri reporters when asked if he agreed with DeMint’s sentiments on stopping the president’s spending.

“I think he was way off-base in his attack on the president,” added Bond, who is retiring from the Senate at the end of this term.

Posted by: drindl | July 23, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

'Get a job."


Who clearly is unemployed.

Posted by: drindl | July 23, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Dems may be liberal but they are not socialist. They have ruined his presidency.

Thin skin wants to blame repubs. Starting to become laughingstock like Carter.

More coverage, less cost. Hurry hurry. I promise. Just like unemployment won't go above eight. Does it seem like he knows anything?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 23, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Can't blog right now. Got to conduct some "far out" transactions before they are outlawed.

It's called capitalism. Get a job.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 23, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

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