August 11, 2009: President Obama, Health Care Reform Debate Heats Up

THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY:

Health Insurance Reform Reality Check

Reality Check – Health Insurance Reform

There is a lot of misinformation being spread by defenders of the status quo. Find out what’s in health insurance reform for you, and what’s not in it at all.

Learn More

The President speaks at the town hall

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • President Barack Obama’s approval rating down to 50 percent: poll: Exactly half of registered voters surveyed by Quinnipiac University said they approve of the job Obama is doing, compared with 42 percent who disapprove.That’s down from 57 percent approval and 33 percent disapproval in a poll taken in late June, according to results released Thursday…. – Ny Daily News, 8-7-09
  • A Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday found 52 percent of voters disapprove of Obama’s handling of healthcare while 39 percent approve. That was a shift from 46 percent approval against 42 percent disapproval in a July 1 survey…. – Reuter, 8-5-09
  • Obama’s approval rating back above 50 percent: President Barack Obama’s job approval has bounced back above 50 percent, in the latest Zogby International national poll. In a telephone poll of 1,005 likely voters, from July 31 to Aug. 4, 53 percent said they approve of Obama’s job performance, and 38 percent disapprove, with a 3.2 percent margin of error…. – Daytona Business Journal, 8-5-09

THE HEADLINES:

Health Insurance Reform Reality Check

Reality Check – Health Insurance Reform

There is a lot of misinformation being spread by defenders of the status quo. Find out what’s in health insurance reform for you, and what’s not in it at all.

Learn More

The President speaks at the town hall

White House Photo, Pete Souza, 8/11/09

Health Reform Town Hall Portsmouth

The President makes the case forcefully for health insurance reform, and calls out defenders of the status quo to debate on the merits — not blatant falsehoods.

Learn More

The President applauds Justice Sotomayor's confirmation

  • Obama takes the stand on healthcare: Reform won’t mean ‘death panels’ or rationed care, he tells a town hall in New Hampshire. The audience is polite, but Democrats elsewhere face hecklers…. – AP, 8-11-09
  • Lawmakers face angry crowds on health care: Jeers and taunts drowned out Democrats calling for a health care overhaul at town halls Tuesday, and one lawmaker said a swastika was spray-painted at his office as debate turned to noisy confrontation over President Barack Obama’s plan. The president himself was treated more respectfully. “You’ll be gone, by God the bureaucrats will still be here,” one man told Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., at a town hall in Lebanon, Pa…. – AP, 8-11-09
  • Senator Goes Face to Face With Dissent: More than 1,000 people showed up here Tuesday morning in this largely Republican town in central Pennsylvania for a town-hall-style meeting with Senator Arlen Specter, though the auditorium could seat only 250. Like many of the dozens of such meetings held by members of Congress over the last few weeks, this one was punctuated with rowdy moments, and interviews with many of those who showed up made it clear just how much underlying dissent motivated them…. – NYT, 8-11-09
  • Rove involvement in US attorney firing detailed: Former White House political adviser Karl Rove played a central role in the ouster of a U.S. attorney in New Mexico, one of nine prosecutors fired in a scandal in 2006 over political interference with the Justice Department, according to transcripts of closed-door testimony released Tuesday…. – AP, 8-11-09
  • In healthcare debate, ‘reality’ is in dispute: The White House launches an online ‘reality check’ to fight ‘myths’ about Democrats’ legislation. Republicans say the site is full of errors and worse… – LAT, 8-10-09
  • Obama pitching health care plan to the insured: President Barack Obama is switching his message on his overhaul of the nation’s health care system, readying a fresh pitch designed for those who already have insurance…. – AP, 8-11-09
  • Democrat Takes Heat During August Recess: Washington Post: Blue Dog Leader Baron P. Hill Feels the Pressure After Voting for House Health…. – WaPo, CBS News, 8-10-09
  • Alaska lawmakers override Palin veto: In a final spat with former Gov. Sarah Palin, the Alaska Legislature voted Monday to override her veto of $28.6 million in federal stimulus funds intended for energy efficiency projects…. – AP, 8-10-09
  • White House Adapts to New Playbook in Health Care Debate: The White House on Monday started a new Web site to fight questionable but potentially damaging charges that President Obama’s proposed overhaul of the nation’s health care system would inevitably lead to “socialized medicine,” “rationed care” and even forced euthanasia for the elderly…. – NYT, 8-10-09
  • It’s the Hillary & Bill show. Deal with it: The U.S. power couple is gloriously equal. Yet, when we’re not pitting Hill against Bill, we’re accusing them of planning a ‘shadow presidency’… – Globe and Mail, 8-9-09
  • Obama attending first US-Canada-Mexico summit – AP, 8-9-09
  • Obama Arrives in Mexico for Start of Summit: President Barack Obama began a summit meeting here Sunday night with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts that touched on a broad range of issues including climate change, the economic crisis, the swine flu pandemic and the battle against illegal drugs. NYT, 8-9-09
  • After July’s Turmoil, Obama Needs ‘a New Chapter’ in August: President Obama once looked to the August congressional recess as the moment to gain a decisive advantage in the fight to overhaul the nation’s health-care system. Instead, he needs to use the month to rebalance his presidency…. – WaPo, 8-8-09
  • A Jobs Bottom Another sign that a rebound is coming: Yesterday’s jobs report for July is undeniably good news, even if the economy did shed another quarter-million jobs for the month. The pace of job loss is slowing, confirming the view we expressed after last week’s GDP report that the economy is now poised for a rebound from its fall and winter depths…. – WSJ, 8-7-09
  • Health Care Debate Shifting Into Free Speech Battle: Both sides of the aisle are playing hardball. Though Democrats first accused Republicans of leading “mob rule” at health care meetings, health care reform supporters are responding in kind…. – Fox News, 8-7-09
  • ‘Cash-for-clunkers’ program gets $2B refill: Car shoppers caught up in the frenzy of the “cash-for-clunkers” program now have more time and a $2 billion reason to trade in their old gas guzzlers. President Barack Obama signed into law Friday a measure tripling the budget of the $1 billion incentive program that has drawn big crowds to formerly deserted showrooms. The Senate on Thursday passed the legislation extending the two-week-old program into Labor Day and preventing it from running out of money…. – AP, 8-7-09
  • Mitt Romney’s Big-Government Health Care Plan: The governor’s program is hardly a model for the nation–it’s a mess…. – Forbes, 8-6-09
  • White House Vows to Defend Democrats on Health Reform – WSJ, 8-6-09
  • Obama’s counter-terrorism advisor denounces Bush-era policies: John Brennan accuses the previous administration of promoting a ‘global war’ mind-set that served only to ‘validate Al Qaeda’s twisted worldview.’… – LAT, 8-6-09
  • Doubt Raised on Gitmo Closing Date: The Obama administration’s counterterrorism chief appeared to provide the first indication the administration may not make its January deadline for closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay in remarks Thursday that aimed to outline a new path for combating terrorism…. – WSJ, 8-6-09
  • Mitt Romney picks publisher, title, date for new book: St. Martin’s Press will publish, “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.” It’s due out next March, just as mid-term election campaigns are heating up…. – Boston Herald, 8-6-09
  • Obama promises health overhaul with or without GOP: President Barack Obama said Wednesday he’s determined to get an overhaul of the health care system before the end of the year and, if necessary, without bipartisan support…. – AP, 8-5-09
  • GOP Gaining Traction Against Obama: The Republican Party seems to be gaining some traction in attacking President Obama’s agenda and pulling him down a peg or two in public esteem…. – AP, 8-5-09
  • GOP Sen. Gregg to vote for Sotomayor: Republican Sen. Judd Gregg says he’ll vote for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, breaking with most of his fellow Republicans…. – AP, 8-5-09
  • Funds Flow to Electric Cars: White House Unveils $2.4 Billion in Grants to Jump-Start an Electric-Vehicle Industry in Midwest – WSJ, 8-5-09
  • What are two Russian subs doing off the US coast?: The Pentagon doesn’t know. But it’s the first such incident in nearly 10 years, suggesting that the Russian military is flexing its muscle…. – CS Monitor, 8-5-09
  • Obama Setting Out to Put Brighter Face on Economy: The White House is making a major push this week to persuade Americans that President Obama’s policies are helping bring the nation out of recession. But a four-letter word — jobs — may well get in the way…. – NYT, 8-4-09
  • Dealers in neutral as Senate debates ‘clunkers’: As dealerships and car shoppers alike wait for the Senate to decide the fate of “cash for clunkers,” one question reigns: Deal or no deal? Many dealerships have stopped selling cars and trucks through the program while Washington decides whether to approve more money for it. In some cases, salesmen are only taking deposits and not letting customers drive new vehicles off the lot…. – AP, 8-4-09
  • Seniors defend Medicare plan Obama calls ‘wasteful’: One of the largest spending cuts Congress could rely on to pay for an overhaul of the nation’s health care system comes from a Medicare program President Obama has called a “wasteful” subsidy for the health insurance industry….A Gallup Poll last week found 20% of Americans over 65 say an overhaul will improve their health care — the lowest showing of three age groups…. – USA Today, 8-4-09
  • Does House Healthcare Bill Fund Abortion? Depends on Whom You Ask… – US News, 8-4-09
  • No middle-class tax increases, White House insists: ‘The president’s clear commitment is not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year,’ a spokesman says after Geithner and Summers suggested increases had not been ruled out…. – LAT, 8-3-09
  • Different US locations weighed for Gitmo trials: Staring at a January deadline, the Obama administration is debating between two dramatically different schemes for putting Guantanamo Bay detainees on trial: big-city courtrooms in the nation’s capital, New York and Virginia — or a one-of-a-kind superjail in the Midwest…. – AP, 8-3-09
  • Senate Democrats impatient with healthcare pace: With President Barack Obama’s political fortunes on the line, Democrats in Congress vowed on Monday to push healthcare reform through the Senate with or without Republican support…. – Reuters, 8-3-09
  • McCain to oppose Sotomayor (though she has the votes to prevail) – USA Today, 8-3-09
  • Proposed Tax Tests Obama on Campaign Vow: A proposed tax on generous health-insurance packages presents a challenge to President Barack Obama, who promised during his campaign not to raise taxes on the middle class. A plan under debate in Congress would impose a new tax on insurers or employers who provide so-called gold-plated health-care plans…. – WSJ, 8-2-09
  • Greenspan says no need yet to raise interest rates: Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says he doesn’t think the Fed should be considering raising interest rates to ward off inflation — at least not yet…. – AP, 8-2-09
  • Franken relishes policy role in new position: Just weeks into his Senate term, Al Franken’s portfolio compares favorably to any of the Senate’s freshman members. He loves policy. He has signed on as co-sponsor to a half dozen bills, asked thoughtful questions of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, and immersed himself in a thorny debate over health care reform…. – AP, 8-2-09
  • FACT CHECK: Distortions rife in health care debate: Confusing claims and outright distortions have animated the national debate over changes in the health care system. Opponents of proposals by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats falsely claim that government agents will force elderly people to discuss end-of-life wishes. Obama has played down the possibility that a health care overhaul would cause large numbers of people to change doctors and insurers. To complicate matters, there is no clear-cut “Obama plan” or “Democratic plan.” Obama has listed several goals, but he has drawn few lines in the sand…. – AP, 8-2-09
  • GOP: Dem healthcare plans ‘fall short’: Democratic healthcare reform proposals “fall short” in bringing down costs for U.S. families and small businesses, a Republican Party leader said Saturday.”Republicans want healthcare reform that works,” Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. said. “Reform that brings down costs for families and small businesses, and refor m that provides better care to more people. On all these points, the current proposals by the president and the … Democrat leadership in Congress fall short.” Thune claimed the Democratic plan would “spend more than $2 trillion and further increase our exploding deficit.”… – UPI, 8-1-09
  • Seniors uneasy over Medicare cuts in overhaul: Democrats are pushing for Medicare cuts on a scale not seen in years to underwrite health care for all. Many seniors now covered under the program don’t like that one bit….”Nobody is talking about reducing Medicare benefits,” Obama said. “Medicare benefits are there because people contributed into a system. It works. We don’t want to change it. What we do want is to eliminate some of the waste that is being paid for out of the Medicare trust fund that could be used more effectively to cover more people and to strengthen the system.”… – AP, 8-1-09
  • Obama, Cabinet meet for mid-year assessment: President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, senior officials and Cabinet members were gathering away from the White House this weekend to discuss administration progress at the six-month mark and plot a course ahead…. – AP, 7-31-09

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

  • GOP officials: Heller won’t take on Reid: The GOP’s top choice to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid next year has told party officials he’s decided against a run for the Senate…. – AP, 8-11-09
  • Maloney won’t challenge Gillibrand for NY Senate: U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, whose appointment to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton angered some New York Democrats, cleared a major hurdle Friday when a potential primary opponent abandoned a promised challenge…. – AP, 8-7-09
  • Fla. GOP Sen. Martinez says he’s resigning early: Republican Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida said Friday he will step down from the Senate as soon as possible — more than a year before his term ends — adding fresh intrigue over who will fill the seat…. – AP, 8-7-09
  • Results of State Elections May Show How Obama Is Doing: President Obama has returned to the campaign trail. He is appearing in television advertisements in New Jersey this week on behalf of Gov. Jon S. Corzine, the embattled Democrat struggling to win a second term. And he campaigned on Thursday evening alongside R. Creigh Deeds, the candidate for governor fighting to keep Virginia in the Democratic column…. – NYT, 8-6-09
  • Rep. Sestak will try to unseat Sen. Specter of Pa.: Three years after he knocked off a veteran House incumbent, Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak will seek a bigger prize and challenge Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter for his long-held U.S. Senate seat…. – AP, 8-4-09
  • Conn. Senate race pauses for Dodd, who has cancer: The state’s senior U.S. senator, Christopher Dodd, has been heavily criticized for months, suffering from poor poll numbers and questions about discount mortgages he received. The criticisms stopped Friday, when the 65-year-old Democrat announced he’s been diagnosed with an early stage of prostate cancer and will have surgery soon…. – AP, 8-1-09

POLITICAL QUOTES

(President Barack Obama, center,  with Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, and Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon, right,  at the leader’s trilateral meeting at the Cabanas Cultural Center in Guadalajara,  Monday, August 10, 2009.  Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
  • To friendly crowd, Obama assails health care foes: Braced for a fight he never got, President Barack Obama went on the offensive in support of his health care plan Tuesday, urging a town hall audience not to listen to those who seek to “scare and mislead the American people.” “For all the scare tactics out there, what is truly scary is if we do nothing,” Obama told a friendly crowd of about 1,800 in a high school auditorium and a nationwide audience watching on cable television…. – AP, 8-11-09
  • REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM TOWN HALL Portsmouth High School Portsmouth, New Hampshire – WH, 8-11-09
  • In a Tight Spot, Pelosi Calls Health Care Critics ‘Un-American’: It’s hardly the first time House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who earlier this year accused the CIA of lying to Congress and repeatedly has called Republicans unpatriotic, has employed some serious name-calling to characterize her opponents’ views….”Let the facts be heard,” they wrote. “These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades.”… – Fox News, 8-10-09
  • Obama: Health overhaul key to economic recovery: “We’ve begun to put the brakes on this recession and … the worst may be behind us,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. He cited Friday’s Labor Department report that showed a dip in unemployment, but said, “We must do more than rescue our economy from this immediate crisis. We must rebuild it stronger than before.” He added: “We must lay a new foundation for future growth and prosperity, and a key pillar of a new foundation is health insurance reform.”… – AP, 8-8-09
  • Text: Obama calls health reform key to improving economy: In his weekly radio and Internet address, President Obama said healthcare reform could bolster an economy on the rebound. In the Republican response, Bob McDonnell, the GOP nominee for Virginia governor, noted that unemployment remains too high and criticized efforts to expand the federal government’s role in healthcare…. – LAT, 8-8-09
  • Palin says Obama’s health care plan is ‘evil’: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says in the America she knows, people won’t have to “stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care.” She says such a system is “downright evil.”… – AP, 8-8-09
  • WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Calls Health Insurance Reform Key to Stronger Economy and Improvement on Status Quo – WH, 8-8-09
  • Obama vows to pass healthcare reform: “I promise you, we will pass reform by the end of this year because the American people need it,” Obama said in Wakarusa, Indiana, where he traveled to tout his economic initiatives. “We’re going to have to make it happen.”… – Reuter, 8-5-09
  • Hillary of Africa A welcome focus on failed governance: “The absence of strong, effective democratic institutions has permitted ongoing corruption, impunity, politically motivated violence, human-rights abuses and a lack of respect for the rule of law,” Mrs. Clinton said at a press conference. “These conditions helped fuel the post-election violence and they are continuing to hold Kenya back.”… Secretary Clinton was critical of the government decision not to appoint a tribunal that could hold those responsible for the election-related violence accountable. She acknowledged that prosecuting the perpetrators without igniting more unrest is “complicated” but said it’s no excuse for inaction. “There needs to be a beginning,” said Mrs. Clinton. “That’s what we’re looking for.”… – WSJ, 8-5-09
  • McCain saddened by Palin attacks but predicts resurrection: Regardless, McCain — appearing on CNN’s State of the Union said he was “…saddened by the fact that there are still such vicious attacks on her and her family.” “I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” he added…. “Sarah, I think, made, clearly, the best decision,” he added. “I think she will continue to contribute. I think she will continue to be a force.”… – CS Monitor, 8-2-09
  • Transcript: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Alan Greenspan: “This Week” Transcript with Treasury Secretary Tim Geither and former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan – ABC News, 8-2-09
  • WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Says GDP Numbers Show Recovery Act Working; Long-Term Investments Still Needed: …But history shows that you need to have economic growth before you have job growth. And the report yesterday on our economy is an important sign that we’re headed in the right direction. Business investment, which had been plummeting in the past few months, is showing signs of stabilizing. This means that eventually, businesses will start growing and hiring again. And that’s when it will really feel like a recovery to the American people…. – WH, 8-1-09

HISTORIANS’ COMMENTS

President Barack Obama speaks about the economy during a statement in the Rose Garden
(President Barack Obama speaks about the economy during a statement in the Rose Garden of the  White House Friday, August 7, 2009.  Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
  • Julian Zelizer “Commentary: When interest groups go too far”: Last week, Americans saw some disturbing images. During town hall meetings about health care reform, legislators and citizens were loudly interrupted and intimidated by members of the audience who refused to let them speak. We don’t yet have solid evidence as to whether the protesters were local citizens simply expressing their genuine concerns about the cost of the health care proposals — concerns that have been showing up in recent polls — or whether they were people primarily recruited and sent into these meetings by such groups as FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, and Conservatives for Patients’ Rights…. – CNN, 8-11-09
  • Julian Zelizer “Another Clinton in the fold”: “When she became Secretary of State, the question was: ‘What is Obama going to do with Bill Clinton?'” said Julian Zelizer, a historian at Princeton University. “Now the answer seems to be that he is going to use Bill Clinton.” Some observers now wonder whether Bill Clinton, who heads a global charitable foundation, may get future sensitive diplomatic missions. He “got the Administration out of a difficult jam, and Obama will be happy to use him again,” Zelizer said. – Sydney Morning Herald, 8-11-09
  • Drug War, H1N1 Virus Top Mexico Summit Agenda: From drug violence to H1N1 flu, President Obama, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper tackled a long list of issues at a summit Monday…. – PBS Newshour, 8-10-09
  • Lawrence Powell “Katrina anniversary visit by President Barack Obama appears unlikely”: “Nationally, Katrina is old news, ” said Tulane University historian Lawrence Powell. “I think right now the president is more focused on the economy and health care.”… – Times-Piscayne 8-10-09
  • Julian Zelizer “Obama cautious despite unemployment cheer”: “The economy has stabilized, the markets have risen and we now have improved unemployment figures, but his best bet is to let voters connect the dots themselves,” said Julian Zelizer, a Princeton University history professor. “If he and the administration boast too much, claiming credit for the good times, the danger is that bad numbers can appear in the coming months and he will hand Republicans the very argument they are looking for.”… – Reuters, 8-7-09
  • Stanley Karnow: US looks to Vietnam for Afghan tips: Top U.S. officials have reached out to a leading Vietnam war scholar to discuss the similarities of that conflict 40 years ago with American involvement in Afghanistan, where the U.S. is seeking ways to isolate an elusive guerrilla force and win over a skeptical local population. The overture to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Stanley Karnow, who opposes the Afghan war, comes as the U.S. is evaluating its strategy there…. – AP, 8-6-09
  • Victor Davis Hanson: “Obama’s great race to change America”: Why does President Barack Obama want to implement all at once radical changes in American foreign policy, environmental policy, education, health care and the tax code? The answer is easy: If he does not achieve these initiatives soon, he never will. Almost none of Obama’s proposed policies any longer enjoy majority support among voters…. – Mercury News, 8-5-09
  • Richard Norton Smith “Happy Birthday, Mr. President: Obama Turns 48 In Country’s Most Stressful Job, Presidents Rarely Age Gracefully”: “All the presidents age in office. All you have to do is look at the photos at the beginning of their terms and the end,” said presidential historian and ABC News consultant Richard Norton Smith. “And they all age for pretty much the same reason. It’s the nature of the job. It’s the demands of the job. It’s a 24-hour job. I can’t think of another job that carries the same degree of responsibility; and if that’s true in peace time, it is exponentially greater in times of war.” ABC News, 8-4-09
  • Julian Zelizer: Commentary: Why Obama’s plans are stalled: The second hundred days of Barack Obama’s presidency have in many ways been more revealing than the first hundred days.We have learned a lot, not so much about Obama’s governing style or his policy agenda, but about the political environment in which he will have to operate — at least until the 2010 midterm elections…. – CNN, 8-4-09
  • DANIEL HENNINGER Why Obama May Fail If Obama can’t sell more government, no one can: A very long time ago, it was January. Barack Obama stood at the mountain top, bathed in the new light of a historic presidency and gazing down on a congressional lake afloat with contented Democrats. Those who spoke against him were vilified for not wanting this smart, vibrant president to “succeed.” How could he fail? Eight months into his presidency, Mr. Obama may do just that—fail…. – WSJ, 8-6-09
  • E.J. Dionne Jr.: Can Republicans escape their extremists?: Things are looking up for the Republicans, relatively speaking. President Obama’s poll numbers have dipped, GOP recruitment for the 2010 elections is going better than expected, and the heath care battle has been rough on the Democrats. On top of that, the surveys show Republicans now leading in this year’s two major governor’s races, in Virginia and New Jersey. There’s just one problem: The country still doesn’t like Republicans. – SF Gate, 8-1-09
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December 1, 2008: The Obama Transition, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, First Ladies, and the Bush Legacy.

POLITICS & PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION WATCH:

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Barack Obama’s national security team is to include, from left, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Gen. James L. Jones, a retired Marine commandant.

Stats:

  • A timeline of the Obama campaign – Newsday
  • Get to know the Obamas: Bios of Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha – Newsday

The Headlines…

    President-Elect Barack Obama Transition office: http://change.gov/

  • Consensus emerging on universal healthcare The prospect of bold government action appears to be accepted among key players across the ideological and political spectrum, including those who staunchly opposed the idea in the 1990s. – LA Times, 12-1-08
  • Hillary Clinton’s test at State: How she’ll work with Obama – USA Today, 11-30-08
  • Jonah Goldberg: The Obama School Scandal? National Review Online: Public Schools Are Unacceptable To Pretty Much Anyone, Liberal Or Conservative – NRO, CBS News, 11-30-08
  • Obama turns to friends, foes for White House posts – AP, 11-30-08
  • Obama’s small-donor ‘myth’ The campaign’s base was dominated by those who gave less than $200, the political standard for small donors. But a new study asks, are you still a small donor if you do that five times? – La Times, 11-30-08
  • Officials: Obama set to introduce Clinton Monday: A deal with Bill Clinton over his post-White House work helped clear the way for Hillary Rodham Clinton to join President-elect Barack Obama’s national security team as secretary of state, reshaping a once-bitter rivalry into a high-profile strategic and diplomatic union. Obama was to be joined by the New York senator at a Chicago news conference Monday, Democratic officials said, where he also planned to announce that Defense Secretary Robert Gates would remain in his job for a year or more and that retired Marine General James L. Jones would serve as national security adviser. – AP, 11-30-08
  • Obama’s strong-willed national security team: With Clinton as secretary of State, retired Marine Gen. James Jones Jr. as national security advisor and Gates remaining in Defense, Obama will have a choice among often starkly differing views. – LA Times, 11-30-08
  • Liberals Angry Over Obama Keeping Gates as Pentagon Chief President-elect Obama’s expected selection of Robert Gates as his defense secretary and retired Gen. Jim Jones as his national security adviser is raising eyebrows among liberals. – Fox News, 11-29-08
  • Bill Clinton agrees to release donor’s names – Reuters, 11-30-08
  • Inauguration turning into D.C. windfall Frenzy to find accommodations sparks complaints of price-gouging – Houston Chronicle, NYT, 11-29-08
  • Bush Offers Support To India After Attacks Terror Ends With At Least 195 Dead; Tensions High Between India And Pakistan – CBS News, 11-29-08
  • Obama’s Supporters Spoke With Wallets – The Tampa Tribune, 11-30-08
  • on the Bush legacy: The most damaging president since Herbert Hoover – National Post, 11-29-08
  • Bush legacy remains to be written – National Post, 11-21-08
  • Remembered Unkindly Some say Bush will displace Buchanan as worst president – National Post, 11-21-08
  • Meet Obama’s financial SWAT team Three star advisers have formidable reputations and loads of experience. Now all they have to do is get the derailed U.S. economic engine back on trackAll three star nominees: Timothy Geithner, head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as the new treasury secretary, and prominent academic economists Lawrence Summers and Christina Romer as top advisers – looked decidedly glum as they were introduced by a beaming Mr. Obama. – Globe & Mail, 11-29-08
  • National Security Pick: From a Marine to a Mediator: James L. Jones, a retired four-star general, was among a mostly Republican crowd watching a presidential debate in October when Barack Obama casually mentioned that he got a lot of his advice on foreign policy from General Jones. – – NYT, 11-29-08
  • Obama to Name Defense Secretary on Monday President-elect Barack Obama is expected to announce Monday who will be his secretary of defense. – Fox News, 11-28-08
  • Barack Obama set to roll out national security team; Hillary could be first: President-elect Barack Obama plans to roll out his national security team next week and could officially name Hillary Clinton secretary of state as early as Monday, Democratic sources said. – Ny Daily News, 11-28-08
  • Hillary Clinton as diplomat Obama’s bold choice for his secretary of State shows the two can be partners on the world stage. – LAT, 11-28-08
  • Obama Picks May Leave Big Holes As Elected Officials Migrate, Democratic Seats Are Vulnerable – WaPo, 11-28-08
  • Malia Obama Calls Dibs on Lincoln’s Desk Obama Talks to Barbara Walters About Homework, History and Happy Family – ABC News, 11-26-08
  • Obama’s Speechwriter Moves to the White House: In his latest round of White House staff announcements, Mr. Obama said Wednesday that he was naming Jon Favreau as his director of speechwriting. Mr. Favreau, 27, has had a hand in practically every speech that the president-elect has delivered over the last four years, following Mr. Obama from his Senate office to the presidential campaign. – NYT, 11-26-08
  • Bush twins show Obama girls fun White House tricks – AP, 11-26-08
  • McCain Plans to Run Again (for the Senate) – NYT, 11-25-08
  • Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware will be replaced in the United States Senate by his longtime aide, Edward Kaufman, when Mr. Biden resigns the seat to become vice president. – NYT, 11-24-08

President-elect Barack Obama, flanked by National Economic Council ...

AP

Mon Nov 24, 1:16 PM ET

Political Quotes

  • First Lady Laura Bush describes post-White House plans: I’ll miss being with the military, too, and that’s one of the things about Camp David that we liked so much, and that’s going to church at Camp David with the people who are posted there. I’ll miss all the people that are around us all the time. From the ushers and the butlers who are there for every president and have been there four or five administrations, to our own staff, of course, that we love to laugh with and talk with and solve problems with. And so I’ll miss the people the most….
    She also said her husband “is going to build a freedom institute with his presidential library and museum at SMU [Southern Methodist University] in Dallas, and that’ll be a really good vehicle, I think, for me to continue to work with, especially, women and children in Afghanistan.”…
    “The main point I wanted to say to her is that this is — the White House is a home, and it can be a very happy home for her and for her children and her husband, and it certainly has been for us.” – CNN, 11-30-08

Mrs. Laura Bush is framed by equipment on the set of "Meet the Press" as she joins NBC host Tom Brokaw for the Sunday, Nov. 30, 2008, edition of the weekly TV show at the NBC studios in Washington, D.C. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Mrs. Laura Bush is framed by equipment on the set of “Meet the Press” as she joins NBC host Tom Brokaw for the Sunday, Nov. 30, 2008, edition of the weekly TV show at the NBC studios in Washington, D.C. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

  • President Bush Weighs In on His Legacy: “I came to Washington with a set of values, and I’m leaving with the same set of values. And I darn sure wasn’t going to sacrifice those values; that I was a President that had to make tough choices and was willing to make them. I surrounded myself with good people. I carefully considered the advice of smart, capable people and made tough decisions.”…
    But he said he wanted to be known “as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace; that focused on individuals rather than process; that rallied people to serve their neighbor; that led an effort to help relieve HIV/AIDS and malaria on places like the continent of Africa; that helped elderly people get prescription drugs and Medicare as a part of the basic package; that came to Washington, D.C., with a set of political statements and worked as hard as I possibly could to do what I told the American people I would do.”…. “I’ve been in the Bible every day since I’ve been the President, and I have been affected by people’s prayers a lot. I have found that faith is comforting, faith is strengthening, faith has been important…. “And the greatness of America — it really is — is that you can worship or not worship and be equally American. And it doesn’t matter how you choose to worship; you’re equally American. And it’s very important for any President to jealously protect, guard, and strengthen that freedom.” – NYT, 11-28-08
  • Barack Obama: Your Weekly Address from the President-Elect: In a preview of his weekly address, President-elect Barack Obama addressed the nation on the occasion of Thanksgiving, nearly one hundred and fifty years after President Lincoln called for the last Thursday in November to be set aside to acknowledge our blessings. You Tube, 11-26-08
  • Swing voters give Obama flexibility to solve US economic crisis: Even President-elect Barack Obama’s least enthusiastic supporters seem willing to cut him slack in solving the nation’s problems.That is one conclusion of a focus group conducted Nov. 22 by pollster Peter Hart among Virginia voters who might not have been expected to vote for Obama. Eight of the 12 voted for George Bush in 2004, nine considered backing John McCain. The focus group session, conducted for the Annenberg Public Policy Center, will air Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. on C-SPAN. – Christian Science Monitor, 11-28-08
  • President-elect Obama announces two more leaders of economic team: At a press conference in Chicago today, President-elect Barack Obama announced additional members of his economic team — nominating Peter Orszag as Director and Rob Nabors as Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. – You Tube, 11-25-08
  • President-elect Obama announces economic team: At a press conference in Chicago today, President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden officially announced key members of their economic team, naming Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury and Lawrence Summers as Director of the National Economic Council. – You Tube, 11-24-08
  • A Barbara Walters Special: Barack and Michelle Obama Watch the Full Special With Barbara Walters and the President-Elect on ABC.com – ABC News, 11-27-08 Video: Barack and Michelle Obama on ‘Barbara Walters Special’ – Ace Showbiz, 11-27-08
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman: Obama ‘about perfect’ in Cabinet picks: “Everything that President-elect Obama has done since election night has been just about perfect, both in terms of a tone and also in terms of the strength of the names that have either been announced or are being discussed to fill his administration….
    I will ask them to judge me by my record. Generally speaking, I’ve had a record, a voting record, which is really ultimately what it’s about, not unlike most Democrats….
    It appears to me that the war in Iraq is coming to a successful — I don’t want to say conclusion yet, but it’s moving in a way that it will not be a divisive issue either in the Democratic Party or between Democrats and Republicans in the time ahead. And therefore, I think we’ll return to more normal times, which I welcome. – AP, 11-26-08
  • Obama reassures nervous nation on ailing economy: “Help is on the way…There is no doubt that during tough economic times family budgets are going to be pinched. I think it is important for the American people, though, to have confidence that we’ve gone through recessions before, we’ve gone through difficult times before, that my administration intends to get this economy back on track….
    “People should understand that help is on the way. And as they think about this Thanksgiving shopping weekend, and as they think about the Christmas season that is coming up, I hope that everybody understands that we are going to be able to get through these difficult times, We’re just going to have to make some good choices….
    The American people would be troubled if I selected a treasury secretary or a chairman of the National Economic Council at one of the most critical economic times in our history who had no experience in government whatsoever. What we are going to do is combine experience with fresh thinking. But understand where the vision for change comes from. First and foremost, it comes from me. That’s my job.
    What I don’t want to do is to somehow suggest that because you served in the last Democratic administration, that you’re somehow barred from serving again. Because we need people who are going to be able to hit the ground running – AP, 11-26-08
  • Obama and the Budget: “This isn’t about big government or small government; it’s about building a smarter government that focuses on what works.”…. Mr. Obama gave an example of the kind of cuts he intends to make (look out, subsidized farmers, here may come the ax): “There’s a report today that from 2003 to 2006, millionaire farmers received $49 million in crop subsidies even though they were earning more than the $2.5 million cutoff for such subsidies,” he said. “If this is true, it is a prime example of the kind of waste I intend to end as President.” “We had a decisive win. I don’t think that there’s any question that we have a mandate to move the country in a new direction and not continue the same old practices that have gotten us into the fix we’re in.”… “Friendship doesn’t come into this. That’s part of the old way of doing business.” He says he wants to undertake projects that will “give the American economy the most bang for the buck.”… – NYT, 11-25-08
  • Obama urges Congress to pass costly stimulus bill: “If we do not act swiftly and boldly, most experts now believe that we could lose millions of jobs next year.”…. “The economy is likely to get worse before it gets better. Full recovery will not happen immediately. I know we can work our way out of this crisis because we have done it before.” – AP, 11-24-08
President-elect Barack Obama, with his wife, Michelle, left, and daughters Sasha and Malia, handed out food for Thanksgiving during a visit yesterday to Chicago's St. Columbanus Parish.
President-elect Barack Obama, with his wife, Michelle, left, and daughters Sasha and Malia, handed out food for Thanksgiving during a visit yesterday to Chicago’s St. Columbanus Parish. (Jim Watson/ AFP/ Getty Images

Historians’ Comments

  • George Herring: “Will Obama and Clinton work as a team? They’ve had differences, but Obama is expected to name her as secretary of State.”: “I do think the differences between them on some of these foreign-policy issues were magnified by the heat of campaign rhetoric,” says George Herring, a historian and professor emeritus at the University of Kentucky. “I don’t buy into the whole idea that Obama is, more than anything else, viewing Clinton as a rival.”…. “Nixon and Kissinger had a close but very weird relationship, suspicious of each other and each demeaning the other when he wasn’t around. But they respected each other’s views and capabilities, and they worked together,” he says. – Christian Science Monitor, 11-30-08
  • Paul C. Light: “For Obama, a chance to push big changes”: “Everything that he talked about during the campaign that can be seen as stimulus is going to be in that package,” predicted Paul C. Light, a professor at New York University’s graduate school of public service. “It will be one of the heaviest pieces of legislation passed by Congress in the last 20 years, and I mean heavy in terms of actual weight and page numbers.” – Boston Globe, 11-30-08
  • Paul Light “Liberals to keep pressure on Obama for results”: “I think he’s moving center-left, rather than left-center. It’s fair to call him pragmatic,” said Paul Light, a public policy professor and presidential historian at New York University. “I think labor is going to get a lot from him. I think his liberal supporters are going to get a lot from him. But they’re going to be disappointed if they want all liberal all the time.” – AP, 11-30-08
  • Carl Anthony “FIRST LADIES Very Little in Common But That ‘O'”: “There seems to be this moving train that simply insists that Mrs. Obama is the new Mrs. Kennedy,” says Carl Anthony, historian for the National First Ladies’ Library, who has been fielding calls from reporters eager to connect the dots. But Anthony thinks they’re worlds apart. – Newsweek, 11-30-08
  • Michael Beschloss: “Historian: Obama’s message also liability lower expectations”: Hope is the greatest asset and greatest liability for Barack Obama, said Michael Beschloss, author and scholar on presidential history. “He knows how damaging it could be to a new president (for voters) to expect a Superman, especially at a time when the problems are so great that everyone is looking for miracles,” Mr. Beschloss said…. “many people had doubts about, I would say, down to the evening of Nov. 3,” he said, adding some predicted a last-minute swelling of racial prejudice to bare itself at the polls. “That did not happen.” “If al-Qaida is saying that America has been captured by a white reactionary clique … Barack Obama does not look that way, and I think they’re going to have a much harder time recruiting,” Mr. Beschloss said. – The Times Tribune, 11-14-08
  • Betty Caroli: “Defining the job has challenged first ladies”: Many a first lady has said, in retrospect, that she had no idea how hard being first lady would be. Even the current one, Laura Bush, according to author and first lady historian Betty Caroli. Of all the first ladies, she should have known what was in store: Her mother-in-law, Barbara, was first lady from 1989-1993. “So no matter I suppose how well prepared … she’s probably going to be surprised by the enormity of the publicity, the focus, the demands and so forth,” Caroli said of Michelle Obama. – AP, 11-28-08
  • Robert P. Watson: “Defining the job has challenged first ladies”: Still, the job description is ill-defined, said Robert P. Watson, who has written two books about first ladies and directs the American studies program at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. “The first lady has to find her own way and match that with her husband’s interests,” Watson said. – AP, 11-28-08
  • Gerald Gawalt: “Scenes from Obamas’ love story Their affection stands out among presidential pairs”: Historians say Ronald and Nancy Reagan were perhaps the most adoring first couple. Like the Obamas, they appeared to genuinely enjoy being together. They often exchanged love notes and cards, including one in which the president declared his wife “my valentine forever.” “They seemed to be one of these couples that were head over heels in love with each other, even as they got older,” said Gerald Gawalt, a Library of Congress historian. – Chicago Tribune, 11-30-08
  • Michael Beschloss “Barack and Michelle: A more perfect union? First Couple-to-be could be relationship role models for nation, experts say”: In general, the relationship between the American president and his wife has always been an important one, and does have an impact on the public, said NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss. “We know that a person’s partner [choice] is one of the biggest clues to what that person is all about,” he said. Beschloss said that in the past, how a political figure interacted with his or her spouse didn’t matter as much, and as with the Kennedys, the media often looked the other way when it came to philandering. “Presidents are so intensely covered, we know so much about their personal lives that it’s inevitable that the public is going to know a lot about, and make judgments on, what happens between political wives and husbands,” he said. “John and Jackie Kennedy almost never held hands or showed affection in public — nowadays, people would think something was wrong.” – MSNBC, 11-29-08
  • Gil Troy “Barack and Michelle: A more perfect union? First Couple-to-be could be relationship role models for nation, experts say”: The Obamas have the best of both worlds, said Gil Troy, professor of history at McGill University and author of “Mr. and Mrs. President: From the Trumans to the Clintons.” “The Obama marriage is a modern partnership between equals; they are a working couple just like the Clintons,” he said. “But, unlike the Clintons — and more like the Bushes — the Obamas appear to be a solid couple, devoted to each other, with no fidelity questions hovering overhead.” – MSNBC, 11-29-08
  • Liza Mundy “Barack and Michelle: A more perfect union? First Couple-to-be could be relationship role models for nation, experts say”: “Their friends have observed that they have a very positive relationship,” said Liza Mundy, author of “Michelle: A Biography.” “One of Barack’s friends pointed out how effusive he is in his praise of Michelle — he knows how much his career has demanded of her, and he’s very appreciative of that.” – – MSNBC, 11-29-08
  • Stephen J. Wayne “Obama has a hand on the helm weeks before taking oath of office”: – “It’s a consequence of the state of the economy and the invisibility of President Bush,” said Georgetown University’s presidential historian, Stephen J. Wayne. “I don’t think Obama expected it.” Kasas City Star, 11-29-08
  • David Bercuson “Bush legacy remains to be written:” “Kennedy’s got a great legacy. But what did he ever do? He got killed before he did anything,” suggests David Bercuson, a University of Calgary historian. After Kennedy dragged his heels on civil rights, it was Lyndon Johnson who finally advanced the cause. But “all poor old Johnson gets credit for is the Vietnam War,” which Kennedy set in motion, Prof. Bercuson argues….
    “He [Bush] will wear this recession, rightly or wrongly, the same way [Herbert] Hoover wore the Depression and the great crash,” says Prof. Bercuson. National Post, 11-29-08
  • Bush legacy remains to be written – Mr. Bush’s legacy in the academy is not off to a propitious start: Princeton University’s Sean Wilentz, one of the country’s leading historians, speculated a couple years ago that Mr. Bush could be the “worst president in all of American history.” In an unscientific poll earlier this year of 109 historians by the History News Network, 98.2% rated the Bush presidency a failure; 61% called it the worst ever. National Post, 11-29-08
  • Allen C. Guelzo: The Bush legacy: The five best things he ever did The war in Iraq, ‘Axis of Evil’ speech, Faith-based initiatives, Blunting the metastasis of abortion, Balancing the bench – National Post, 11-21-08
  • Robert S. McElvaine “The Bush legacy: The five worst things he did”: Fight against terror, ‘Pre-emptive war’, Economic policies, Trashed the constitution, ‘Gulf coast war’ – – National Post, 11-21-08
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