At the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "President Obama makes a tough final push, going on the offensive against health insurance companies. Will it work?" Later, co-host Maggie Rodriguez gushed: "It looked like a campaign rally yesterday with President Obama center-stage taking his fight for health care reform out of Washington and into America's heartland."
White House correspondent Bill Plante followed up Rodriguez's fawning intro by reporting: "It did indeed look like a campaign. I'll tell you, the President is racing hard to get across the finish line with health care reform. He's trying to convince the public to ignore what he calls 'Washington's obsession with keeping score in politics.'" An on-screen headline read: "Obama on the Offensive; Attacks Insurers In Latest Push for Reform."
Plante ignored the Obama administration's constant political score-keeping and instead lamented how despite the President "taking on the pundits and the political establishment...polls show Mr. Obama has an uphill battle." Plante cited a recent Gallup poll showing 49% of Americans oppose ObamaCare, though failed to point out that only 42% of respondents in that poll favored the plan.
On Thursday, the Early Show claimed that ObamaCare was on the "fast-track" to being passed.
Rush mentioned this on the air as his show opened.
It comes from the Associated Press, in a later paragraph of an Obama cheerleading item ("Obama pitches health plan in spirited appearance"; AP picture at right is from that story) by Julie Pace and David Espo.
The paragraph in question opens by giving readers the impression that either Pace, Espo, or another AP person has actually seen language in whatever iteration of ObamaCare happens to be floating around House chambers these days. But then it backs down and says it's only "described by a Democratic aide," meaning that the wire service is willingly serving as a trial-balloon enabler:
In a new change sought by House Democrats, the fix-it bill would require businesses to count part-time workers when calculating penalties for failing to provide health coverage for employees. Smaller businesses would be exempt. The Senate bill would count only full-time workers in applying the penalties, but under the change, described by a Democratic aide, two part-time workers would count as one full-time worker. Businesses say that's unduly burdensome, but Democrats contend it would prevent businesses from avoiding penalties by hiring more workers part-time.
“During the presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama often used the phrase ‘fired up’ to do just that to the crowd. Democrats have been openly wondering when he was going to bring that campaign energy and fire to an issue like health care reform,” Brian Williams announced at the top of Monday’s NBC Nightly News,” and “today the President chose an event at a quiet Philadelphia suburb to get loud. He made his case and he rallied the troops and now readies to head into battle yet again on this topic.”
ABC’s Diane Sawyer noted “the President made a direct attack on the health insurance industry, accusing companies of putting profits before patient care” -- which means he was just catching up with Sawyer’s agenda. A couple of weeks ago, Sawyer demanded to know who will “keep insurance companies from jacking up premiums while making huge profits?” and touted “the growing outrage at insurance companies, the ones that raise premiums on ordinary Americans while racking up big profits.”
Jon Karl asserted Obama “hopes to tie into some of that Tea Party anger by focusing on a group that the White House believes is even more unpopular than Congress” as Karl championed a far-left group’s upcoming protest with “wanted” posters “that will highlight the CEOs of the health care companies making the argument that they are the ones to blame.”
Perhaps President Barack Obama might have preferred New York Times columnist Tom Friedman to reserve these comments for their golf outings together, but has Friedman recognized this path toward a larger government is unsustainable?
On MSNBC's March 5 "Morning Joe," host Joe Scarborough recounted his childhood in the early 1970s and the poor economy. He explained there was a different focus - that his family was hoping for the economy to turn around and could have cared less about the other issues of the day - Vietnam, Watergate, etc. It was all about the economy.
"You know Tom Friedman, I remember in the early '70s, my dad worked for Lockheed, got laid off and he was without a job for 18 months," Scarborough said. "This is in the middle of Watergate was blowing up on TV and in the middle of Vietnam, as it was grinding to a very bloody, messy ending. And my family, we just cared about one thing. When we watched Walter Cronkite at night, we wanted to know if the economy was turning around. And we didn't understand what was going on in the college campuses."
Sullivan did some number crunching and found that, due to concerns about a lack of a restriction on abortion spending in the Senate bill, Pelosi may end up being a few votes shy of the threshold to pass the legislation.
Sullivan's advice to the Speaker? She just needs to moderate her testy tone to dupe enough pro-life Democrats to voting for a bill that lacks the Stupak amendment which was passed in the House version of the bill (emphasis mine):
NBC's Tom Brokaw, in searching for a reason as to why Obamacare faced so much opposition, on Thursday's Today show, determined it was because the people can't quite grasp it, as he sniffed: "The public is very confused." The former NBC Nightly News anchor, on to promote his CNBC documentary about the Baby Boom generation, also told Today co-anchor Matt Lauer that the GOP was fighting the current version of the health care bill for merely "political" and not principled reasons and depicted the uninsured as victims to the now powerful tea party.[audio available here]
For his part, a bewildered Lauer expressed disbelief at the unpopular state of the Democratic Party right now as he questioned Brokaw:
Introducing a story on the latest effort pass health care reform on Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "This morning President Obama is putting health care reform on the fast-track, declaring that it's year-long journey must be completed in Congress quickly."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith had similarly declared: "President Obama says the health care debate is over. He wants a reform bill on his desk in the next few weeks." A Headline on screen read: "Health Care Fast-Track."
White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the so-called "fast-track" plan: "The President yesterday rejected Republican calls to start over, saying that it is time to make a decision on health care....he made it clear that he's willing to get this done with a legislative maneuver requiring no Republican support." At the end of his report, Plante acknowledged things weren't quite so simple: "this is by no means a done deal....Republicans united in opposition, Democrats wavering because of elections this fall."
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Thursday put the responsibility for passing health care on the shoulders of the pro-life Bart Stupak, worrying that the Congressman is "now threatening a mutiny over the issue of abortion." The GMA host interviewed Stupak and pressed him three times on voting for the legislation. [Audio available here.]
At one point, he solemnly queried, "If the President doesn't change the language, if your language is not accepted, you and your 11 colleagues who voted yes the last time will vote no this time. Does that mean you're prepared to take responsibility for bringing down this whole bill?"
Notice that Stephanopoulos placed the obligation on Stupak and not on pro-abortion Democrats who, one could argue, are more concerned with that issue than with passing health care. Earlier in the segment, the ABC journalist grilled, "So, if the President doesn't change the Senate bill, you can't vote for it?"
Someone submit the Morning Joe java to Henry Waxman for analysis. There seems to be something in it causing top Dems to experience serious delusions . . .
On today's show, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius claimed that the people of her home state of Kansas are "wildly supportive" of the substance of ObamaCare. Unfortunately, suggested Sebelius, they're just too ignorant to know what's in the blessed bill.
Later, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine didn't deny that the Obama admin had engaged in two sleazy patronage deals, involving Joe Sestak and Scott Matheson. Instead, the DNC Chairman laughed off the cynical, and possibly illegal, arrangements. "Life is life," smirked Kaine.
To Morning Joe's credit, the patronage deals and the Charlie Rangel situation were discussed throughout the show. The withdrawal of Dem Rep. Eric Massa from his re-election race, amidst allegations he sexually harrassed a male staffer, was also discussed, though not raised with Kaine. Would an RNC Chairman appearing on the show the day after the Mark Foley affair erupted have gotten a similar pass?
Without big government, Americans are nossink, nossink—do you hear me!?
On his MSNBC show this evening, Ed Schultz bellowed that "small government has never gotten anybody any health care." Got that, you weak, dependent Americans? You are incapable of getting anything done for yourself. Only big government can save you.
Here's how Schultz denigrated the ability of Americans to fend for themselves.
Why can't President Obama get a health care bill through Congress? Nope, it has nothing to do with the fact that a clear majority of the country doesn't want the federal government overhauling seventeen percent of the economy. The problem is he is just too darn reasonable.
So posits Newsweek's Andrew Romano, who notes that Obama could have gone wholesale-government-takeover on health care and a number of other legislative proposals during the past year. He opted for mandates and regulations rather than single-payer and hundreds of billions of dollars in wasteful stimulus spending instead of a trillion plus.
"Obama has chosen to support what he believes to be the best possible proposal instead of what he believes to be the best imaginable proposal," Romano states. Reasonableness in this context is simply a moderation in the president's march towards statism. He COULD be sprinting towards socialized medicine. Instead, his movement towards government control is more of a leisurely stroll. Unfortunately for the president the American people have rejected that approach as well.
"As the House prepares for its final push on health care, there are Democratic members, particularly those from conservative districts, who are facing a hard truth: This is the kind of vote that can end a career," Time magazine's Karen Tumulty lamented in a March 3 Swampland blog post entitled "When A Hard Vote Ends A Political Career."
Eh, suck it up, the veteran journalist practically counseled House Democrats wary of voting for the Democratic health care legislation, after all, there is life after politics. Just look at Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinski, who lost her seat in the 1994 midterm election which swept Republicans into control of Congress.
Margolies-Mezvinski doomed herself with a vote to hike taxes, Tumulty noted, but brought readers up to speed on the former congresswoman's life after politics to lay out the case that Mezvinski thinks her vote was worth it in the long run.
Tumulty concluded with a hint that Democrats in endangered seats need to consider leaving a "legacy" by passing ObamaCare (emphasis mine):
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer ranted against Republican Senator Jim Bunning's opposition to a spending bill: "it's unconscionable what has happened here....this is about politics. It is not – it was not about anything of substance." [Audio available here]
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez began the segment by explaining that Bunning had stopped blocking the legislation and asked Schieffer: "Isn't this just another example of why it takes so long to get things done in Congress?" Schieffer agreed, claiming: "it's another example...of why there is so much anger and disillusionment out in the country about Congress."
Schieffer went on to dismiss the Kentucky Senator's concerns over the rising deficit: "[He] claimed he was doing this because he was trying to get the Senate to go along with the Republican principle and that is pay things...before they approve them but this was emergency legislation." In reality, Democrats, not Republicans, just passed pay-as-you-go legislation last week, mandating that all new spending being paid for before passage. As for the "emergency" nature of the bill, on Tuesday's Early Show, CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid claimed it was simply "routine legislation."
On Monday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Chip Reid reported on President Obama's annual physical exam and lamented: "For all his immense power, there's at least one adversary President Obama seems unable to defeat, his addiction to cigarettes." One wonders how "immense" Obama's power is amid sinking poll numbers and an inability to pass health care reform. [Audio available here]
Reid noted how the President's smoking is "a battle he's been waging since he was a teenager" and played a clip of Obama joking with reporters last year that he was "95% cured" but adding "there are times where I mess up." Sounding like a worried mother, Reid continued: "Eight months later, he's still struggling....when and where he does smoke and where he gets the cigarettes is a White House mystery."
Near the end of the report, Reid listed a series of other Democratic president's who have enjoyed having a smoke: "FDR was a chain smoker, known for keeping his cigarette holder at a jaunty angle. JFK enjoyed the occasional cigar. And President Clinton often chewed on unlit cigars while playing golf." Is that the only thing Clinton enjoyed doing with a cigar?
Reporting on Republican Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning blocking spending legislation over deficit concerns at the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Congressional quagmire. Democrats blame one Republican senator for preventing thousands of federal workers from working."
In a later report, White House correspondent Chip Reid continued to assail Bunning: "The White House is pointing its finger at a single Republican senator who they say is standing in the way of federal aid for hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans....he is single-handedly holding up a routine piece of legislation." Rather than address Bunning's spending concerns, Reid declared: "Because of his objection, 2,000 federal transportation workers had to be furloughed without pay. 400,000 Americans risk losing their unemployment benefits over the next seven to ten days. And Medicare fees for doctors suddenly slashed by 21%."
Reid briefly noted: "Bunning wants the Democrats to come up with a way to pay the $10 billion price tag." A couple clips were played of the Kentucky Senator voicing his opposition: "And I'm going to object every time because you won't pay for this....We cannot keep adding to the debt."
Matt Lauer pressed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney mostly from the left, on Tuesday's Today, as he made the case that the economy is doing better thanks to the President as he posited "Aren't we better off?" and even questioned the relevance of a possible Romney 2012 presidential campaign.
MATT LAUER: In your new book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, you say that, "The country needs a renewal and fresh ideas to cut through complicated problems." Do you see yourself as the best person to offer those fresh ideas? And I, I ask that, with all due respect, that people had a chance to look at your ideas in the last presidential election and they weighed in on them. [audio available here]
After Lauer got through the perfunctory questions about whether Romney was going to run in 2012 the Today co-anchor actually made the case the economy is doing better thanks to Obama and also suggested Obamacare wasn't that different from the health care plan devised under Romney in Massachusetts:
These must be really desperate times for the Democrats, if the syndicated Chris Matthews Show that was aired over the weekend is any indication, as both the host and one of the guests claimed Barack Obama would need to tap into military, musical and even mystical powers to get a health care reform bill passed. During the intro of his show, Matthews declared that Obama "must now lead the band with all the music and magic he has in him" and guest panelist Michael Duffy, of Time magazine, reported that Obama is going to unleash "the infantry, the air cover, the artillery" on Congress to get health care passed. [audio available here]
The following exchanges were aired on the February 28 edition of The Chris Matthews Show:
Former Democratic aide turned journalist George Stephanopoulos interviewed current Democratic operative James Carville on Monday's Good Morning America. The two good friends agreed that Democrats simply have to pass a health care bill. Stephanopoulos wondered, "Do the Democrats really have a choice here?"
He later spun, "...The Democrats in the White House who are pushing for this strategy, pushing for passage, say that once this does pass, the country will get it. Democrats will be unified. They'll get a huge benefit." [Audio available here.]
Stephanopoulos minimized the negative effects for the party in passing a government-run health care bill by one or two votes and with no Republican support. Former top advisor to George W. Bush Matthew Dowd also appeared and offered this odd suggestion: "Well, if you're a Republican, I think they should try as hard as they can and jam it through and pass the bill. I think as a Republican, that's what you want to see happen because of how unpopular this measure is."
On Monday's CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the possibility of Democrats using reconciliation to pass a health care reform bill and noted how Republicans used the procedure when they were in the majority: "In the past it has helped the majority party push through some controversial legislation. In 2001, Republicans used it to pass a giant $1.3 trillion tax cut."
A Media Research Center special report conducted from January 20 to March 31 in 2001 found that out of 94 judgements of the size of the Bush tax cuts on ABC, NBC, and CBS, "84 percent...labeled it as 'big' or 'huge' or otherwise portrayed it as large." CBS was one of the worst offenders, with various reporters describing the cuts as large a total of 14 times in that ten-week period. Then-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather alone used the word "big" 11 times to describe the tax cuts.
Meanwhile, on Monday's Early Show, Plante did not use the "giant" label to describe the massive ObamaCare legislation, simply referring to it as a "sweeping proposal." According to a Heritage Foundation study by James C. Capretta, the total cost of the bill could add up to $2.5 trillion over ten years.
The Washington Post issued a correction on Saturday in which it apologized for a mischaracterization of the House Republican Whip's use of a printout of the Senate-passed health care bill:
In a Feb. 26 editorial, we said Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was "posturing" during the Thursday health-care summit by stacking the voluminous Senate bill before him. Mr. Cantor says that he had the bill with him, well-tabbed, not for show but so that Republicans could respond if specific provisions of the bill came up for discussion. That makes sense, and we should not have characterized his purpose as we did.
Quite a contrast in how ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas, taking her turn hosting This Week, approached House Speaker Nancy Pelosi versus Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, all before agreeing with Sam Donaldson when he urged President Obama to become “ruthless” to pass his health care reform bill since that’s what FDR and Truman “would have done.” She affirmed: “That's a good point.”
With Pelosi, she forwarded process questions about whether the Speaker has the votes to pass the health bill and whether it would have been “more helpful for you” if Obama had put up his proposal earlier, pressed the Speaker from the left on the size of the “jobs” bill and empathized with her struggles: “Are you frustrated so many bills have been stalled in the Senate? Almost 300 bills passed by the House that are sitting, languishing in the Senate?” Not to mention cuing her up: “How would you rate yourself in the past year?”
But with Alexander, the 20/20 anchor did not wonder if he’s “frustrated” by Obama’s intransigence as she challenged him to help pass the Democratic health bill, raised presumed Republican hypocrisy and rued the inability of Congress to pass “sweeping” legislation to provide “the changes we need in the country.” She demanded to know if Republicans will “play ball,” pressing: “Why not take what you consider to be an imperfect bill and at least attach some proposals that you support?” Raising GOP opposition to passing the health bill via “reconciliation” in the Senate, Vargas asked: “Why are you so opposed to this given the fact that Republicans have used reconciliation more often than the Democrats in the past?”
A report on the health care summit on Friday's CBS Early Show featured a clip of President Obama scolding lawmakers for "trading talking points" during the meeting, that was followed by correspondent Bill Plante pointing a finger at the GOP: "But from their first speaker, Republicans never backed down from their opposition to the Democrats' bill."
Plante noted that "John McCain, the President's opponent In 2008, challenged the process by which the Democrats' bill was produced." After a clip was played of McCain denouncing the lack of change in Washington, Plante touted how "the President shot back," playing a clip of Obama proclaiming "the election is over." Plante also highlighted an exchange in which Obama slammed Senator Lamar Alexander, telling the Tennessee Republican to get his "facts straight."
Oddly, after displaying the President's clearly partisan attacks, Plante concluded: "Democrats emerged from the meeting saying they still want bipartisanship. Republicans said they don't see that happening."
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, White House correspondent Chip Reid described how "exasperated" President Obama was with Republicans, who proved they were the "party of no."
What good is the liberal media's "truth squadding" or "fact-checking" when it doesn't reveal any facts and is completely divorced from the truth?
MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell gave a stark answer to that question this morning, when she appeared on "Morning Joe" to discuss yesterday's health care summit. O'Donnell heaped praise on the President for being "in command of some of the facts", like the "fact" that premiums would decline 10-13 percent under his plan. If she had actually looked at the CBO report she was citing, however, she would know that the plan is expected to raise, not lower, premiums for individuals by 10-13 percent.
So for all her "truth-squadding" and "fact-checking", O'Donnell is still confused about the difference between up and down. Either that, or she didn't truth-squad or fact-check anything, but simply said what she wanted to believe. Maybe she should spend less time devising her awkward hyphenated verbs , and more actually examining the facts.
Conservative dominance of the talk radio airwaves continues, but liberals are making concerted efforts to get their voices heard through large top-down campaigns.
Organizing for America--the campaign arm of the Obama administration--is rolling out the astroturf in an effort to get liberal voices heard on the nation's most popular (i.e. conservative) talk radio shows. The campaign is called "On the Air."
Visitors at radio.barackobama.com (talk about grassroots!) are provided with a phone number of a conservative talk radio show, and a list of health care talking points. They are instructed to call when health care comes up and reissue these points for the benefit of that station's audience.
OFA makes sure to note that the talking points are "only to provide extra information and suggestions." Tell that to Ellie Light.
Although the Canadian health care system may kind of work for its roughly 33 million people and still have a myriad of downsides, its hard to imagine it could be sustainable in the United States, with 304 million people. But looking at the Canadian system was how NBC News decided to handle its follow-up to the health care summit.
"As Washington grapples with its seemingly irreconcilable differences over health care, here in Canada that question was settled decades ago," Williams said. "Canada has universal health insurance, what's known in the U.S. as a single-payer system. Who's to say it's a better way?"
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Friday offered liberal spin for the issue of using reconciliation to pass the health care bill, a process that would allow legislation to go through the Senate with only 51 votes: "Reconciliation has been used for President Bush's tax cuts, for welfare reform, for other health care bills in the past." [Audio available here.]
Stephanopoulos' guest, John McCain, quickly dismissed this obvious talking point: "George, it's not been used for one-sixth of the Gross National Product."The ex-Clinton aide turned journalist also promoted the idea that Barack Obama has been bipartisan on the health care divide. He challenged the Arizona Senator, "But, the President said you had a point there. He also said he was willing to work with Republicans on malpractice reform, on health savings."
Before playing a clip of Obama at the health care summit, Stephanopoulos defended, "And all he closed with was a plea for Republicans to look at his ideas." Interestingly in the 8am hour, Stephanopoulos let his pessimistic view of the future of the health care legislation be known.
CNN, both on-air and on its website, highlighted how Democratic leaders and President Obama spoke more than twice as long as Republican leaders at Thursday's health care summit. CNN.com's Political Ticker on Thursday noted how Republicans "spoke for just 111 minutes, about 30 percent of the total speaking time." The statistic was also cited on Campbell Brown on Thursday and American Morning on Friday.
The network's Jeff Simon and Charles Riley put up a six-paragraph article on the lopsided figures on CNN.com at 7:12 pm Eastern time: "A CNN analysis of the meeting shows that Democrats - including President Obama, who helmed the meeting - were granted more than twice the amount of speaking time as Republicans. Democrats spoke for a total of 135 minutes while President Obama spoke for 122 minutes, for a total of 257 minutes. Republicans, meanwhile, spoke for just 111 minutes, about 30 percent of the total speaking time."
"Are we on seven-second delay?"--Mark Halperin on Morning Joe, prefacing his criticism of Pres. Obama's performance at the health-care summit.
Halperin was surely being facetious, but the point about MSNBC's pro-Obama predilection was made.
The Time editor went on to rather comprehensively pan PBO's petulant performance. His comments were preceded by a clip of Pres. Obama rudely reminding Sen. John McCain of just who had won the presidential election.