September 8, 2009: President Obama’s Speech to Schools Causes Debate & Opposition


The crowd listens as President Barack Obama speaks at the AFL-CIO Labor Day Picnic in Cincinnati, OH on Labor Day
(President Barack Obama speaks at the AFL-CIO Labor Day Picnic in Cincinnati, OH on Labor Day.  September 7, 2009.  Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


  • After years of trashing polls, Republicans now embrace them: “New Rasmussen Poll Shows That 53 Percent of Americans Oppose Democratic Government-Run Health Plan,” read an Aug. 13 release. It cited “no fewer than five polls” that it said “showed increasing concern, if not outright opposition” to the Obama administration’s efforts…. – McClatchy Newspapers, 9-7-09
  • Obama’s declining support among whites: After a summer of health care battles and sliding approval ratings for President Obama, the White House is facing a troubling new trend: The voters losing faith in the president are the ones he had worked hardest to attract.
    New surveys show steep declines in Obama’s approval ratings among whites–including Democrats and independents– who were crucial elements of the diverse coalition that helped elect the country’s first black president.
    Among white Democrats, Obama’s job approval rating has dropped 11 points since his 100-days mark in April, according to surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. It has dropped by nine points among white independents and whites over 50, and by 12 points among white women–all voter groups that will be targeted by both parties for support in next year’s mid-term elections…. – Chicago Tribune, 9-5-09
  • Is Obama wrecking the Democrat party?: It’s no secret that President Obama’s popularity is on the skids. The current Rasmussen Poll lists his job approval rate at just 45%; down from a high of 65% in January. Perhaps more importantly, Rasmussen measures a minus 12 point gap in the number of people who “strongly disapprove” of Obama, over those who “strongly approve.” Gallup currently has Obama at a 54% approval level; as against a disapproval level of 40%…. – Examiner, 9-5-09
  • Obama’s approval rating tumbles to lowest point at 53%: The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey results released yesterday show his overall approval number at 53 percent, down from 76 percent in early February, just after he took office…. – Boston Globe, 9-1-09
  • Hostages of the Hermit Kingdom: Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the two American journalists released last month after being imprisoned in North Korea, tell their story — and remind people of the story they wanted to cover…. – LAT, 9-1-09
  • U.S. journalists say entered North Korea, arrested in China – Reuters, 9-1-09


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(President Barack Obama talks with Justice Sonia Sotomayor prior to her investiture ceremony at the Supreme Court September 8, 2009. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

  • Court signals it may loosen campaign spending: The Supreme Court signaled Wednesday it may let businesses and unions spend freely to help their favored candidates in time for next year’s elections. Such a step could roll back a century of attempts to restrain the power of corporate treasuries in American politics.
    The justices cut short their summer recess for a lively special argument that indicated the court’s conservative skeptics of campaign finance laws have the upper hand over its liberals, including new Justice Sonia Sotomayor…. – AP, 9-9-09
  • Mass. Democrats support filling Kennedy seat now: Democratic politicians urged Massachusetts lawmakers on Wednesday to pass a law that would allow an interim senator to succeed the late Edward Kennedy immediately, preserving the party’s 60-vote majority during a battle to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system…. – Reuters, 9-9-09
  • Obama tries to build momentum for health overhaul: Reaching for a game-changer, President Barack Obama is beset by conflicting goals in a prime-time address Wednesday expected to detail just how he wants to expand health care coverage and lower medical costs while signaling to a deeply divided Congress that he’s ready to deal. And show the public he’s in control…. – AP, 9-9-09
  • Obama’s back-to-school speech inspires some kids: On the very first day of the school year, 12-year-old Mileena Rodriguez was reminded by President Barack Obama himself that hard work can take you places.Mileena listened to Obama’s plea to study hard and stay in school Tuesday, watching along with several of her classmates at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School and students across the country. For all the hubbub among adults over the back-to-school speech, many youngsters took the president’s message to heart…. – AP, 9-8-09
  • Schools say no to Obama’s speech: Controversial address won’t be shown today by some area districts…. – Detroit News, 9-7-09
  • Its recess over, Congress has hands full: As Congress returns today after a month-long recess, lawmakers face a pileup of pressing legislation, from immigration to energy, that has been eclipsed by the all-consuming battle over health care…. – USA Today, 9-7-09
  • Obama faces a critical moment for his struggling presidency: President Barack Obama returned to the White House from his summer break Sunday determined to restart his struggling presidency by reasserting command of the health care debate and recalibrating expectations that some advisers believe got away from him. With his honeymoon seemingly over and his White House on the defensive, Obama faces what friends and foes alike call a make-or-break moment in his young administration. Because he has elevated health care to such a singular priority, advisers said he must force through a credible plan or risk crippling his presidency.
    “It goes without saying that a lot is riding now on his ability to re-energize the health care debate and bring it home to a successful conclusion,” said John Podesta, who ran Obama’s transition and still advises him on health care, energy and other issues. “Nothing will influence the perception of the presidency more than whether he can be successful in getting a health care bill through the Congress.”… – NYT, 9-6-09
  • Obama to make Bloom manufacturing czar: President Barack Obama is to name auto adviser Ron Bloom as the administration’s manufacturing czar Monday, responsible for creating policies to boost the long-struggling industries…. – Detroit Free Press, 9-6-09
  • Critics charge ‘indoctrination’ as Obama plans busy speaking week: President Obama will be delivering high-profile speeches three days in a row next week: On Monday, he’ll be the featured attraction at the AFL-CIO’s Labor Day picnic in Cincinnati. Not so coincidentally, that trip will put Obama in the backyard of Rep. Steven Driehaus, a freshman Democrat who faces a tough re-election battle in a district that Republicans held for 14 years before last November…. USA Today, 9-6-09
  • Analysis: More wrangling could doom health care: The patient isn’t dead yet. A few more months of wrangling and indecision, and health care legislation to remedy America’s coverage and costs problem could be drawing its last gasps. As Congress returns to work this week, President Barack Obama and lawmakers have three broad options — competing treatment plans for a patient whose vital signs are growing weak. It’s not clear which one, if any, will work…. – AP, 9-6-09
  • Financial Bailout Package, a Year Later: Obama has said he inherited the financial crisis from President George W. Bush. But he also received a powerful arsenal from his predecessor — the $700 billion financial bailout package…. – WaPo, 9-6-09
  • Obama ‘green jobs’ adviser quits amid controversy: President Barack Obama’s adviser Van Jones has resigned amid controversy over past inflammatory statements, the White House said early Sunday. Jones, an administration official specializing in environmentally friendly “green jobs” with the White House Council on Environmental Quality was linked to efforts suggesting a government role in the 2001 terror attacks and to derogatory comments about Republicans. The resignation comes as Obama is working to regain his footing in the contentious health care debate.
    “On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me,” Jones said in his resignation statement. “They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide.”… – AP, 9-5-09
  • Senate Democrat aims to end healthcare deadlock: A key U.S. Senate Democrat, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus may seek to end a stalemate on healthcare legislation by offering a proposal next week prior to President Barack Obama’s highly anticipated address to Congress, Democratic aides said on Saturday…. – AP, 9-5-09
  • FACT CHECK: Biden overlooked stimulus problems: Vice President Joe Biden proclaimed success beyond expectations for the $787 billion economic stimulus, but his glowing assessment overlooks many of the program’s problems, including delays in releasing money, questionable spending priorities and project picks that are under investigation…. – AP, 9-5-09
  • Politics, not race, likely behind Obama speech uproar: After decades of criticizing public schools as places where hardly anybody learns anything, suddenly conservatives are upset that a 15- to 20-minute Web cast in schools might teach too much. That’s because the Web cast is by President Barack Obama. His critics fear he might teach something that they’d rather not have our schoolchildren hear…. – Houston Chronicle, 9-5-09
  • Passing a health bill: What are the odds?: We look at the likely scenarios ahead and predict which results you can bet on… – Houston Chronicle, 9-5-09
  • Obama To Meet With Liberals: Liberal Democrats in the House will get their wish: President Obama will meet with them face to face Tuesday or Wednesday to discuss health reform legislation. Atlantic, 9-4-09
  • Calls to boycott Obama’s speech to kids offer a disturbing lesson in paranoia: Those who are whipping up hysteria over the president’s address are playing a dangerous game with an unhinged segment of public opinion….. – LAT, 9-4-09
  • Kennedy death could impact Wall Street oversight: President Barack Obama’s plan to recast how the government regulates Wall Street could be thrown a curve this fall if Sen. Tim Johnson, a Democrat whose home state is a major hub for credit card companies, takes over the chairmanship of the Senate’s banking committee…. – AP, 9-4-09
  • White House to Open Visitor Logs to Public: President Obama announced Friday that he will open up White House visitor logs on a regular basis for the first time in modern history, providing the public an unusually extensive look at who gets the opportunity to help shape American policy at the highest levels. “Americans have a right to know whose voices are being heard in the policymaking process,” the president said in a written statement issued by the White House while he vacationed with his family at Camp David. The new policy settles four lawsuits against the government seeking such records. NYT, 9-4-09
  • Obama runs into resistance over school speech: The president is scheduled to address students next week about responsibility and goals. Florida’s Republican Party chairman issues a statement denouncing ‘Obama’s socialist ideology.’ LAT, 9-3-09
  • Obama aims to take control of health care debate: Aside from State of the Union speeches, presidents rarely use joint sessions of Congress as backdrops for their remarks to the nation. But President Barack Obama will do just that next week to discuss health care. He hopes to gain control of a high-stakes debate that has been slipping from his grasp under relentless Republican-led attacks. AP, 9-3-09
  • Obama’s big gamble on healthcare debate: The president seeks to retake control of the healthcare debate with his speech to a joint session of Congress next week. But it carries great risk as well…. – LAT, 9-2-09
  • Obama faces a pivotal autumn: Americans are showing signs of impatience with their new president as Barack Obama enters a pivotal period facing a raft of critical decisions ranging from healthcare to Afghanistan. A wide variety of public opinion polls paint a difficult picture for Obama, with Americans expressing doubts about his handling of the U.S. economy, healthcare and Afghanistan. His job approval rating has drifted down to around 50 percent. It was at 68 percent when he took office in January. Reuters, 9-2-09
  • Kennedy memoir reveals remorse over Chappaquiddick: In a posthumous memoir, Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy writes of fear and remorse surrounding the fateful events on Chappaquiddick Island in 1969, when his car accident left a woman dead, and says he accepted the finding that a lone gunman assassinated his brother President John F. Kennedy. The memoir, “True Compass,” is to be published Sept. 14 by Twelve, a division of the Hachette book group. The 532-page book was obtained early by The New York Times…. – AP, 9-2-09
  • Kennedy-Obama Bond Put Health Care on Fast Track: Other than his victory in the Iowa Democratic caucuses, no moment catalyzed Barack Obama’s historic presidential campaign more than winning the endorsement of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy…. – AP, 9-1-09
  • GOP senators seek go-slow approach on health care: An odd couple of Republican senators have hit the road, arguing for a go-slow approach to President Barack Obama’s push to revamp health care. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and 2008 presidential nominee John McCain are headlining the GOP’s answer to the raucous town hall meetings of August in which congressional Democrats had to shout over angry constituents about health care, growing deficits and the increasing role of the federal government…. – AP, 9-1-09
  • Politician won’t apologize for ‘Obama tags’ remark: Idaho Republican Rex Rammell said Tuesday the hoopla over his remarks about hunting President Barack Obama has been a boon to his campaign, and he again refused to apologize for what he called a joke. “This country needs to lighten up,” the GOP gubernatorial candidate said during a press conference in a Boise park Tuesday…. – AP, 9-1-09
  • Obama reduces 2010 pay increases to 2 percent: President Barack Obama notified Congress on Monday he is reducing pay increases for federal workers from 2.4 percent to 2 percent. Using powers employed by his two most recent predecessors, the president cited the national unemployment rate and the budget busting federal payroll…. – AP, 8-31-09
  • Burr, McCain, McConnell to hold NC health forum: McCain will join North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell at event in Charlotte on Tuesday morning. McCain and McConnell are traveling around the country to discuss health care and take questions from those involved in the debate. The GOP lawmakers have been mounting a challenge to the plan offered by President Barack Obama that would create a government option to compete with private insurers. Burr’s plan would raise money by taxing health benefits and use the revenue to give people tax credits to buy their own care. AP, 8-31-09
  • White House Not Pleased With Two Republican Senators: Senator Mike Enzi, the ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, among copies of the health care reform bill before a committee meeting in June.
    The White House was evidently listening when Senator Michael B. Enzi delivered the weekly Republican radio and Internet address Saturday. And the White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, did not like what he heard on health care from the Wyoming lawmaker who is supposed to be part of bipartisan talks…. – NYT, 8-31-09
  • Key Republicans bail on ‘Obama-care’; Dems’ options narrow: The Democrats are edging toward a go-it-alone approach to legislation. Part 1 of two….
    As key Republicans grow increasingly hostile to President Obama’s plans for healthcare reform, the Democrats are edging toward a go-it-alone approach to legislation. In the Senate, where normal rules require 60 votes out of 100 to halt a filibuster, the Democrats’ hopes of passing a bill that way are hanging by a thread. The death of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) of Massachusetts means the party is down to 59 votes in the Senate. It’s still possible a Republican or two could be persuaded to vote with them, but they would still need to hold onto the more conservative Democrats in their caucus, and that’s not a sure thing…. – CS Monitor, 8-31-09

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

  • First Candidate Steps Up for Kennedy Seat: Attorney General Martha Coakley of Massachusetts on Tuesday became the first candidate to begin the formal process toward running for the United States Senate seat left vacant by the death last week of Edward M. Kennedy…. – NYT, 9-1-09
  • Another Senator Kennedy in Massachusetts?: Another Kennedy just might occupy the Kennedy seat in the Senate. Amid the emotional public outpouring over the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, talk of a successor has focused on his widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, and his nephew, Joseph Kennedy II, the 56-year-old former congressman who could return to politics after a decade’s absence. “Even though he’s emotionally drained right now, he can’t help but be moved by the enormous flood of affection and respect from all over the country,” said veteran Democratic strategist Dan Payne. “He wouldn’t be human and he wouldn’t be a Kennedy if he didn’t give serious consideration to running for what is known as the ‘Kennedy seat’ in Massachusetts.”… – AP, 8-31-09
  • Va. candidate distances self from college thesis: Virginia’s Republican candidate for governor said Monday he no longer believes his argument in a graduate thesis written 20 years ago that discrimination against gays and other groups is acceptable for the benefit of straight, married couples…. – AP, 8-31-09


The President memorializes Walter Cronkite
(President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a memorial service for Walter Cronkite at Lincoln Center in
New York, September 9, 2009.  Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

  • REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT MEMORIAL SERVICE IN HONOR OF WALTER CRONKITE Lincoln Center New York, New York: He was forever there, reporting through world war and cold war; marches and milestones; scandal and success; calmly and authoritatively telling us what we needed to know. He was a voice of certainty in a world that was growing more and more uncertain. And through it all, he never lost the integrity or the plainspoken speaking style that he gained growing up in the heartland. He was a familiar and welcome voice that spoke to each and every one of us personally.
    I have benefited as a citizen from his dogged pursuit of the truth, his passionate defense of objective reporting, and his view that journalism is more than just a profession; it is a public good vital to our democracy. Even in his early career, Walter Cronkite resisted the temptation to get the story first in favor of getting it right.
    Our American story continues. It needs to be told. And if we choose to live up to Walter’s example, if we realize that the kind of journalism he embodied will not simply rekindle itself as part of a natural cycle, but will come alive only if we stand up and demand it and resolve to value it once again, then I’m convinced that the choice between profit and progress is a false one — and that the golden days of journalism still lie ahead…. – WH, 9-9-09
  • Assemblyman Mike Duvall resigns after his sex comments are broadcast: KCAL-TV in Los Angeles played a tape of the married Yorba Linda Republican speaking about sex with two women. He apparently did not realize a microphone was on during a legislative hearing
    “I am deeply saddened that my inappropriate comments have become a major distraction for my colleagues in the Assembly, who are working hard on the very serious problems facing our state,” Duvall said in a written statement. “I have come to the conclusion that it would not be fair to my family, my constituents or to my friends on both sides of the aisle to remain in office. Therefore, I have decided to resign my office, effective immediately, so that the Assembly can get back to work.” – LAT, 9-9-09
  • REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN A NATIONAL ADDRESS TO AMERICA’S SCHOOLCHILDREN Wakefield High School Arlington, Virginia: I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself. Every single one of you has something that you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.
    Maybe you could be a great writer — maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper — but you might not know it until you write that English paper — that English class paper that’s assigned to you. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor — maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or the new medicine or vaccine — but you might not know it until you do your project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a senator or a Supreme Court justice — but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
    But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
    Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future…. – WH, 9-8-09
  • Obama says ‘it’s time to act’ on healthcare: In a speech to the AFL-CIO, the president accuses critics and special interests of using scare tactics and spreading ‘lies’ in healthcare debate….
    The president, speaking at an AFL-CIO picnic, said that “special interests” were determined to “scare the heck out of people.” “I’ve got a question for all these folks who say, you know, we’re going to pull the plug on Grandma and this is all about illegal immigrants — you’ve heard all the lies,” Obama said. “I’ve got a question for all those folks: What are you going to do? What’s your answer? What’s your solution? “And you know what? They don’t have one.” – LAT, 9-7-09
  • REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT AFL-CIO LABOR DAY PICNIC Coney Island Cincinnati, Ohio: But today we also pause. We pause to remember and to reflect and to reaffirm. We remember that the rights and benefits we enjoy today weren’t simply handed to America’s working men and women. They had to be won. They had to be fought for, by men and women of courage and conviction, from the factory floors of the Industrial Revolution to the shopping aisles of today’s superstores. They stood up and they spoke out to demand a fair shake and an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. (Applause.)
    Many risked their lives. Some gave their lives. Some made it a cause of their lives — like Senator Ted Kennedy, who we remember today. (Applause.)
    So let us never forget: much of what we take for granted — the 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, health insurance, paid leave, pensions, Social Security, Medicare — they all bear the union label. (Applause.) It was the American worker — men and women just like you — who returned from World War II to make our economy the envy of the world. It was labor that helped build the largest middle class in history. Even if you’re not a union member, every American owes something to America’s labor movement. (Applause)…. – WH, 9-7-09
  • VP Joe Biden pledges to back workers in Pa. stop: Vice President Joe Biden told a rally at Pittsburgh’s Labor Day parade that organized labor was the backbone of the country and that he and Sen. Arlen Specter would continue fighting for workers. “You built the middle class. The middle class cannot be rebuilt without a growth in labor,” Biden told a crowd of about 300 Monday morning outside Mellon Arena…. – AP, 9-7-09
  • WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Announces New Initiatives for Retirement Savings: As we spend time with family and friends this Labor Day weekend, many of us will also be thinking about the state of working America. Yesterday, we received a report showing that job losses have slowed dramatically compared to just a few months ago. Earlier in the week, we learned that the manufacturing sector has posted its first gains in eighteen months, and that many of the banks that borrowed money at the height of the financial crisis are now returning it to taxpayers with interest.
    These are only the most recent signs that the economy is turning around, though these signs are little comfort to those who’ve experienced the pain of losing a job in the previous month, or in the previous two years of this recession. That’s why it is so important that we remain focused on speeding our economic recovery. Throughout America today, tens of thousands of recovery projects are underway, repairing our nation’s roads, bridges, ports and waterways; renovating schools; and developing renewable energy. We’re putting Americans back to work doing to the work America needs done – and mostly in private sector jobs…. – WH, 9-5-09
  • Obama hosts dinner for Islamic holy month: President Barack Obama on Tuesday praised American Muslims for enriching the nation’s culture at a dinner to celebrate the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
    “The contribution of Muslims to the United States are too long to catalog because Muslims are so interwoven into the fabric of our communities and our country,” Obama said at the iftar, the dinner that breaks the holiday’s daily fast…. – AP, 9-1-09
  • WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Marks Fourth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina; Will Visit New Orleans Later This Year: This weekend marks the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of the Gulf Coast. As we remember all that was lost, we must take stock of the work being done on recovery, while preparing for future disasters. And that is what I want to speak with you about today.
    None of us can forget how we felt when those winds battered the shore, the floodwaters began to rise, and Americans were stranded on rooftops and in stadiums. Over a thousand people would lose their lives. Over a million people were displaced. Whole neighborhoods of a great American city were left in ruins. Communities across the Gulf Coast were forever changed. And many Americans questioned whether government could fulfill its responsibility to respond in a crisis, or contribute to a recovery that covered parts of four states…. – WH, 8-29-09


The President records the Weekly Address

  • Julian Zelizer “New rallying cry: ‘Win one for Teddy’ Dems look to unite pols on health care”: Julian Zelizer, a Princeton University political scientist, said Kennedy colleagues’ love for the departed senator isn’t going to be enough. “The reality is we saw in August a Congress that is very polarized, and the opposition is pretty set,” Zelizer said. “It’s hard to imagine they’d switch their vote because it’s called Kennedycare. That’s not the era we live in.” In an earlier era, the death of another Kennedy – President Kennedy – was invoked to pass long-stalled civil rights and Medicare legislation backed by the slain leader. But Zelizer said it was as much President Johnson’s legislative skill as Kennedy’s memory that got the bills passed. Besides, he said, in this case the sponsor died an old man. “It’s about the bill and not the name on the bill,” Zelizer said. – Boston Herald, 9-7-09
  • Julian Zelizer “Commentary: Did Obama underestimate his critics?”: One of the great puzzles this summer has been why President Obama seemed to have underestimated the intensity of the counter-mobilization he would face in proposing health care reform.
    Historically, each time an American president has sought to reform the health care system, opponents mounted a fierce and unrelenting attack to undermine public support…. CNN, 9-1-09
  • H.W. Brands: “As support fades, Obama attempts to reinvigorate agenda, Scholars say it’s time for Obama to step up leadership”: H.W. Brands , a University of Texas professor who was among a small group of historians who joined the president earlier this summer for a private dinner, said that much of what had happened to Obama this summer had been “entirely predictable.”
    “He sometimes sounds as if he’s still running a campaign. But once you get to be president, you’ve got to figure out who the bad guys are,” Brands said. “And you’ve got to convince Americans that the ones you think are the bad guys really are the bad guys.” – McClatchy Newspapers, 9-1-09
  • Harold Cox “As support fades, Obama attempts to reinvigorate agenda, Scholars say it’s time for Obama to step up leadership”: Harold Cox , a presidential scholar and archivist at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, recalled how Ronald Reagan had great success in his first eight months, winning approval of a major tax cut and the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to the U.S. Supreme Court . When Congress returned in September, however, budget fights and a staggering economy made it hard for Reagan to control policy, and his approval numbers slipped.
    Bill Clinton suffered a similar fate in 1993 after he won approval of his massive deficit-reduction bill early in his term. Cox recalled how Clinton was distracted by the gays-in-the-military debate.
    Obama “needs to understand the glow can disappear awfully fast,” Cox said. “Even now, I’d say he’s got only a 50-50 chance at getting health care.” – McClatchy Newspapers, 9-1-09
  • Ross Baker “As support fades, Obama attempts to reinvigorate agenda, Scholars say it’s time for Obama to step up leadership”: “Unless a president lays down a very visible, strong marker, Congress tends to wander,” said Ross Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University.” Congress is historically a ship without a keel, and the president provides the keel. There comes a time when he has to step up and put his imprint on policy.” – McClatchy Newspapers, 9-1-09
  • Kennedy letter to pope sought support: Scholars examine message, meaning… – Boston Globe, 9-1-09
  • Julian Zelizer “Commentary: Ted Kennedy was a true believer”: …Americans suspect that a majority of politicians are willing to switch their position on any given day, depending on which way the political winds are blowing. Everyone, we sometimes fear, is a flip-flopper.
    This was certainly not the case with Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy. He was a refreshing presence in Washington for many Americans, even those on the right who hated the political ideas that he championed. Love him or hate him, as Walter Sobchak might say, at least Kennedy stood for something…. CNN, 8-27-09
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