About a year ago, then-Senator and Democratic nominee Barack Obama managed to seize control of the issue of taxes from the Republican Party by promising lower taxes for "95 percent of Americans."
But today it's a drastically different situation. Obama's $787-billion stimulus has been passed into law and the administration is taking on higher deficits, which will only increase if a Democrat health care reform bill passes. It looks as though the president's hand will be forced and he will have to raise taxes. That's begs question - where were the media on this a year ago?
CNBC's Erin Burnett asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at a CNBC made-for-television town hall on Sept. 10 if taxes would be raised. Geithner dodged the question, but Burnett interpreted the dodge to mean yes, as she explained on NBC's Sept. 13 "Meet the Press."
In a Sunday "uh-oh" review of 2010's electoral landscape as it applies to nationwide congressional races, the Associated Press's Beth Fouhy insulted GOP voters while effectively implying that they are the only ones who oppose ObamaCare, "reckless spending, and high debt."
The foundation of Fouhy's piece is a fear that Democrats may be in peril of losing their House majority in 2010. Funny, when they were in the minority and gaining ground in national sentiment, I recall that the press meme was "Democrats Gaining!" Now that they're in control and faltering, it's "Democrats in Danger of Losing (Somebody Do Something)!" The perspective always seems to be about the rising or falling fortunes of Democrats, which of course serves to validate the contention of those who say that the establishment press is the mouthpiece of the Left and the Democratic Party.
Now let's look at Fouhy's infuriating fulminations (red underline is mine):
60 Minutes on Sunday night gave President Barack Obama at least his fourth interview platform since his election (not counting re-runs), and while Steve Kroft framed the segment around how Obama “seemed confident that he had succeeded” in his Wednesday night speech and asked him, in the context of how the health care debate “has brought out the worst in us,” how “you were heckled. Not at a town meeting. Not on the campaign trail, but in a joint session of Congress,” whether “Congressman Wilson should be rebuked?,” he also gently challenged Obama from the right. Unfortunately, Kroft did not follow up when Obama delivered his usual liberal platitudes.
After Obama touted how he had reached out to Republicans on tort reform, Kroft pressed: “Would you be willing to do more in the area of tort reform and malpractice insurance? Would you be willing to agree to caps, for example, on malpractice judgments?” Kroft raised how to pay for it all: “There is still a great deal of skepticism about how this plan is going to be paid for. What you promised is essentially you promised not to affect anybody who has coverage now at all. You have promised to add another 30 million people into the system and you're saying that you can do all of this or want to do all this without impacting or increasing the deficit by a dime. How do you do that?”
You wouldn't know it from reading much of the mainstream media's coverage of the legislative battles over health care reform, but Republicans and President Obama share a number of prominent goals. Republican lawmakers have tried address the same problems that the President highlights, but congressional Democrats won't allow GOP amendments to get past committee votes.
With the exception of the public option, President Obama and GOP lawmakers agree on most major provisions on health care reform: increasing competition in the health insurance market; keeping bureaucrats out of the doctor's office; passing a health care bill that helps, or at least does not hurt, the economy; keeping legislation deficit neutral; preventing increases in taxes for the vast majority of citizens; preserving Medicare benefits for seniors; and preventing taxpayer dollars from funding abortions.
If you get your news from the New York Times, however, you are most likely oblivious to the many areas in which congressional Republicans and President Obama agree. The Times declared in an editorial last week that the President has "waited in vain for a bipartisan compromise to emerge — a virtual impossibility from the start given the determination of top Republicans to kill his effort and cripple his administration." The Times also insisted that the President "has been far too passive — for the sake of an unrequited bipartisanship — as his opponents have twisted and distorted the health care debate."
President Obama's address before a joint session of Congress “to rescue health care reform” caused “a 12-point improvement from last week” so “52 percent now approve of the way he's handling health care,” Katie Couric announced at the top of Friday's CBS Evening News in touting how a new CBS News poll discovered that “among those who say they watched the speech” -- a group she failed to point out was predisposed to Obama's policies -- “support is even greater, 58 percent.”
On NBC, anchor Brian Williams introduced a story on fallout from “Congressman Joe Wilson, the South Carolina Republican whose heckling of the President from the House floor continues to reverberate.” Reporter Kelly O'Donnell, who noted support for him in his district, observed what neither ABC nor CBS reported Friday night, that he made Democrats uncomfortable enough to acknowledge the current bills would let illegal immigrants get benefits: “As a result of this controversy, Senate Democrats said today they discussed options, like requiring Social Security numbers to make clear illegal immigrants will not get coverage.”
According to MSNBC’s David Shuster on Friday, South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson shouting ‘you lie’ to President Obama was racism on display: “The fact that Joe Wilson is from South Carolina...it strikes a lot of people as awfully close to the idea that maybe there was some sort of racist or bigoted element there.”
Shuster went on to add: “And especially then when you look up at the picture and you see older white men, all Republicans, sitting there. Just it gives off a strange vibe.” On Thursday, Shuster claimed that Republicans were: “...all white males with short haircuts. They look sort of angry. No women, no minorities, and it looks like they’ve sort of become unhinged.”
During the segment late in the 3PM ET hour, Shuster spoke with Reverend Jesse Jackson, wondering: “What role, if any, do you believe that bigotry is playing in some of this venom toward President Obama?” Jackson seized on the opportunity to cry racism: “Well, substantial. There is a struggle between the hope of going forward and the fear of going backwards....the big C-word, conservative, for some that means fiscal, for some, it means religious ethics, for some it means a code word for race.”
"Most people in their right-thinking mind know that the Tenth Amendment is a bunch of baloney." [audio available here]
That according to brilliant constitutional scholar MSNBC's David "biased in favor of facts" Shuster, who matter-of-factly insists the "general welfare" clause in Article 1 of the Constitution "unambiguously authorizes" social welfare spending like "social security, Medicare, veterans' care, etc."
Shuster made his comments today shortly after 4:30 p.m. EDT in reaction to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), who recently suggested that Tenth Amendment grounds could be a means of opposing as unconstitutional certain Democratic health care proposals.
Former Clinton operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared on Thursday’s O’Reilly Factor and received a declaration from Bill O'Reilly that, while obvious, probably wasn’t very welcome: "...You're a Democrat. I'm an Independent." This assertion resulted in no audible or visual protestations from Stephanopoulos.
And although the comment is demonstrably true, one might think that a supposedly independent, neutral journalist would fight back or claim to have put such partisan beliefs aside when he became a journalist. Stephanopoulos didn’t. The This Week host was appearing to discuss Barack Obama’s speech to Congress about health care and how the President has handled the issue.
Noting how the Palmetto State "has a history of rowdy politics" and that Rep. Joe Wilson (R) has made himself "the latest in a legendary line of South Carolina politicians who appeared to revel in renegade behavior," the Washington Post's Philip Rucker and Ann Gerhart turned to South Carolina Democratic operatives Don and Carol Fowler to smear Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) in their September 11 front-pager entitled "The Gentlemen From South Carolina."
Rucker and Gerhart turned to the husband-wife couple -- he was a Clinton era DNC chairman and she is the current South Carolina state Democratic chairwoman -- to practically tag-team in slamming Wilson. Rucker and Gerhart also acknowledged some Palmetto Democrats' brushes with political infamy before cuing up Don Fowler to quip that he thinks "it is something in the water."
Yet nowhere in their story did Rucker and Gerhart note Don Fowler's gaffe from August 2008, when, on a flight from the Democratic Convention, he made an inappropriate joke involving hurricane victims in New Orleans (video embedded above at right):
Media minds think alike. ABC: “It was the shout heard 'round the world.” CBS: “It was the shout heard 'round the world.” NBC, slightly creative: “The outburst heard 'round the world” and the “heckle heard 'round the world.” Congressman Joe Wilson's “you lie” shout during President Obama's Wednesday address to Congress on health care animated the Thursday evening newscasts, though it at least prompted ABC and NBC, but not CBS, to grudgingly take up, briefly, Wilson's contention illegal immigrants would receive health benefits.
“As the President spoke last night, there was a stunning moment. As the President tried to refute criticisms of his health care reform, a Republican Congressman from South Carolina yelled out 'you lie,'” ABC anchor Charles Gibson announced. On CBS, Katie Couric maintained “Presidents appearing there as respected guests have been interrupted before by boos and hisses, but this was different. A Congressman last night calling a President an outright liar to his face. Just the latest indication of how ugly the debate over reforming health care has gotten.”
Brian Williams teased the NBC Nightly News: “On our broadcast tonight, the speech on health care and the outburst heard 'round the world.” In the subsequent story Kelly O'Donnell portrayed “a stunning outburst. South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson accused the President of lying in a fit of anger that reverberated today.”
CNN’s Rick Sanchez conducted a softball interview of Senator Bernie Sanders on Thursday’s Newsroom, during which the two railed against the influence of the wealthy in politics. Sanchez omitted the large donations Sanders has received from unions while taking other senators to task for receiving corporate money, and seemed to endorse the senator’s push for the public financing of elections.
The CNN anchor began the segment by lamenting how $375 million has apparently been spent “mostly by the health and insurance industry...to influence this important debate” on health care “reform,” barely mentioning the spending by “those who back the President.” He then introduced Senator Sanders as an “an independent from Vermont who is convinced that politics has become way too corporatized, if not controlled.” Sanchez did not mention how the Vermont Senator self-identifies as “democratic socialist” and has almost consistently supported left-wing causes throughout his political career.
You know Cindy Sheehan's star has really fallen with the liberal media when the likes of Mike Barnicle, compare her to GOP Congressman Joe "You lie!" Wilson. On Thursday's "Hardball," Barnicle, substitute hosting for Chris Matthews, declared, "Democrats hope to turn Wilson into the Cindy Sheehan of the anti-health care reform movement. A clownish figure of ridicule who hurts his own side, more than he helps." As the MRC's Brent Baker noted, now that she is opposing a Democratic president, the media have turned on Sheehan.
The following is from Barnicle's opening to the September 10 edition of "Hardball":
During the 4PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC Thursday, co-host David Shuster denounced the behavior of Republicans at President Obama’s address to Congress, declaring: “You look at the image of the Republican Party, all white males with short haircuts. They look sort of angry. No women, no minorities, and it looks like they’ve sort of become unhinged.”
Shuster and co-host Tamron Hall moderated a debate between Democratic strategist Patrick Murphy and Republican strategist Alex Conant, over the impact of Republican Congressman Joe Wilson shouting out ‘you lie!’ during the President’s speech. Shuster claimed: “The video of the Republican lawmakers was almost as striking as the speech itself....Did the Republican image change last night for the worse or was it something minor that may have only had an impact on the conservative base that was energized and wants to kill reform?”
Following the discussion, Hall observed: “...this pride in being an American and what it means to have class in this country and to see something like that. It is hurtful when you know that it is a prestigious place we have in this world and when we are reduced to behavior like that, it is very telling to all of us. We love this country and it is hurtful to see someone play out their – their emotions in such a loser way – I think I can say that.” Shuster replied: “Tamron you said it perfectly. I agree with you 100%.” Hall admitted: “I don’t think my mother would like I said loser, but oh well.”
ABC’s Terry Moran on Wednesday hyperbolically spun Barack Obama’s congressional speech as a "bold call to action" and theatrically visualized, "There was another ghost in the chamber tonight, the spirit of Senator Ted Kennedy, who fought for decades for universal care."
Earlier in the Nightline segment, which recapped the President’s health care address, the co-anchor introduced his political revision of A Christmas Carol: "Yes, there were ghosts in that chamber tonight. The other Presidents who tried to reform the health care system and failed."
After discussing the outburst by South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson, who accused the President of being a liar, Moran declared, "The President simply moved on. Focusing on his message. Trying to take the high road. Leaving Wilson and others behind."
CNN/Opinion Research Corporation’s poll on President Obama’s health care speech to Congress on Wednesday significantly oversampled Democrats. The pollsters interviewed 427 Americans before and after their speech- only 18% were Republicans, while 45% were Democrats. Due to this skewing, CNN didn’t really play up the poll’s results on air, but they tried to do that on their CNN.com website.
The joint poll asked two questions before and after the speech. The polled were asked, “Do you think the policies being proposed by Barack Obama will move the country in the right direction or the wrong direction?” During the pre-speech period between September 5 and 8, 60% answered “right direction,” and 35% answered “wrong direction.” Immediately after the speech, the pollsters found that the “right direction” statistic went up to 70%, while the “wrong direction” number went down to 27%.
ABC correspondent Jake Tapper on Thursday condescendingly described Barack Obama’s address to Congress this way: "At times, it was almost like the President were a principal and Congress a bunch of unruly school kids." The usually restrained reporter announced, "He [Obama] made outreach to his conservative opponents, while also refuting many of their ideas."
Refuted? Wouldn’t challenged or attacked have been the neutral description? Tapper also repeated that Obama "blames misinformation for why many Americans are nervous about reform." Good Morning America on Thursday ignored the AP’s fact check from the previous night that debunked some of the things the President supposedly "refuted:"
After plugging his latest column in a September 10 post on the magazine's Swampland blog, Time's Joe Klein (shown in file photo at right) pegged Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) as "vile" before defending taxpayer-funded health care for illegal immigrants:
On this whole question of whether illegal immigrants will be included in the plan, which caused the vile Congressman from South Carolina to shout "You lie" when the President said they wouldn't be covered. Why shouldn't they be? After all, when an illegal immigrant cuts his hand while chopping cabbage and goes to the emergency room, the rest of us pay for it. Isn't the point to expand the risk pool as much as possible, to lure the insurance companies into concessions and lower prices?
I know it 's not going to happen. Congress will never vote to subsidize the health care of those who arrived here illegally. But, given the fact that we're already subsidizing them through the back door, it does make sense, doesn't it?
"The media must expose Obama's calculated scare tactics and lying on 'reform.' Failing to do so gives him a green light to lie and cry wolf about whatever he wants, whenever he wants," Media Research Center President Brent Bozell asserted in a statement released today.
Last night Obama told a litany of lies. He said the total cost of his health reform would be $900 billion over ten years, but even the government-run Congressional Budget Office found it would cost $1.6 trillion. He claimed his reform would not cover illegal immigrants or abortions, but nothing in any of the Democrat bills requires citizen verification and several organizations including the National Right to Life Committee have shown exactly how federal funds would be used to pay for abortion-on-demand. He knows these are lies and he tells them because he is confident the left wing ‘news' media will let him get away with it.
In his health care speech last night, President Obama cast himself as a truth-teller combating “bogus claims” and “misinformation” about his big government health care plan. “If you misrepresent what’s in the plan, we will call you out,” Obama warned his critics.
But within hours, the Associated Press had “fact-checked” the President’s speech and found the Fact-Checker-in-Chief is guilty of misrepresenting a few facts himself. AP writers Calvin Woodward and Erica Werner said the President uttered “a variety of oversimplifications and omissions,” and used “only-in Washington accounting” to claim his plan would not add “one dime” to the deficit.
What's 16-17 million uninsured among 300 million Americans?
Apparently not much to President Barack Obama, who slipped a not-so-subtle change to a statistic he had cited previously different during his Sept. 9 address to a joint session of Congress. The president pointed out there are "more than 30 million American citizens" who are having difficulty obtaining health insurance (emphasis added).
"We are the only advanced democracy on Earth - the only wealthy nation - that allows such hardships for millions of its people," Obama said. "There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage. In just a two year period, one in every three Americans goes without health care coverage at some point. And every day, 14,000 Americans lose their coverage. In other words, it can happen to anyone."
While none of the other cable networks experienced any technical delays leading into Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., CNBC - the business arm of NBC Universal's cable empire didn't quite get there on time.
Boustany was cheated out of a little over a minute and a half giving his response on CNBC. However, its sister network - MSNBC, and the major cable networks caught up with the Republican response to President Barack Obama's Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress.
Instead, viewers were treated to "The Kudlow Report" host Larry Kudlow and CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood, reflecting on the president's speech. It is worth noting that Harwood earlier this week called parents that were opponents of the president's Sept. 8 school address weren't "smart enough" to raise their kids.
Some very friendly assessments of President Barack Obama's health care address Wednesday night to a joint session of Congress, most gathered from the quick analysis in the short time between Obama and the Republican response:
♦ MSNBC's Keith Olbermann hailed it as “a broad and forward thinking speech” with “a touch of greatness.” (MP3 audio)
♦ On ABC, George Stephanopoulos saw “a pretty remarkable speech” and suggested “this might have been the most emotional speech I've seen President Obama give” as “there was even a catch in his voice” because “this is very close to President Obama's heart.” (MP3 audio)
♦ Chuck Todd, on NBC, recited how Obama endorsed an insurance mandate for all citizens, “came down pretty strongly for the so-called public option” and proposed paying for it all by “taxing benefits for the wealthiest.” Yet after that liberal litany, Todd insisted the address was “about re-branding the President himself as a centrist and a pragmatist.”
♦ CNN's Gloria Borger trumpeted how “there was something in there for everybody” before David Gergen lamented Obama's lost opportunity: “Had he given this speech three months ago, when there was a glow about his presidency, I think he could have swept the country...”
♦ [UPDATE] Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, during a 11:15 PM EDT edition of MSNBC's The Ed Show, celebrated: “The great news tonight is this bill is on track for passage. Historic change is coming to the United States.” (MP3 audio)
“The new President has been bruised along the way as poll numbers are falling and he has seen his message hijacked as town meetings have exploded with wild and false rumors of 'death panels' deciding when a human life should end,” Brian Williams declared at the top of Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, in adopting as fact the liberal presumption that conservatives, not liberals, are guilty of the misrepresentations.
In advance of President Obama's prime time speech before Congress to push his health care agenda, Williams began his September 9 newscast for the Eastern and Central time zones:
President Obama is asking Congress to reform health care -- and while we are just 233 days into the Obama presidency -- the new President has been bruised along the way as poll numbers are falling and he has seen his message hijacked as town meetings have exploded with wild and false rumors of 'death panels' deciding when a human life should end. So tonight, beneath the Capitol dome, the stakes are high...
With the health care debate getting loud and furious, you have to wonder why Hollywood has been so remarkably silent. Maybe the Celeberati don’t care whether citizens have health care, or maybe they are happy with the generous coverage they get from SAG and AFTRA, and believe the President who tells them they will get to keep their current coverage.
It can’t be accidental. Certainly there must be one celebutard who has an opinion on the debate. I long for a wonderful bit of wisdom from Sheryl Crow, perhaps a suggestion to save costs and the environment by washing and re-using band-aids.
Where is Barbra Streisand? Barbra has been noticeably absent from all political debate lately. Probably not coincidentally, she just released a new album. Perhaps her handlers advised Babs to tone it down; that her target audience is composed primarily of senior sitizens now, a demographic that has a tendency to skew conservative and worry greatly about their health care. (The profit motivation is an awesome force, strong enough to restrain torrents of wisdom from the Great Barbra Streisand.)
Even Mike Farrell, a frequent advocate of government health care, has been silent lately. Mike is a fortunate celebrity, whose name would be unrecognizable to anybody, if Wayne Rogers hadn’t stormed off the set of M*A*S*H 35 years ago. Farrell is still making an incredible living based on those eight years of work he did more than a quarter century ago; he gets a little bit of change every time you watch a re-run of M*A*S*H.
He is one of those who believes in a “right” to healthcare. The flaw in his thinking is that health care does not exist without the labor of others, and you have no “right” to the labor of others. I wonder if Mike Farrell believes that access to free reruns of M*A*S*H is a basic human right?
While arguing with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele about health care reform on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "...if the public option is socialism, then what is Medicare?....That people overwhelmingly think works pretty well for them."
Steele pointed out Medicare’s obvious flaw: "Medicare’s a government-run program that is not – that is not doing that well....Harry, come on. How often do we have to do another reset on Medicare because it’s in default or running out of money?" Steele went on to challenge President Obama’s drastic approach to reform: "My only point is why do we have to up end 1/6 of our nation’s economy to fix what the President has now redefined-" Smith interrupted: "Because that 1/6 of our economy, left to go as it is, will bankrupt us." Apparently spending $1 trillion on a massive new government program will not.
Earlier in the interview, Steele reacted to Obama’s upcoming address to Congress: "And after 26 speeches and 12 resets on this health care plan, tonight, in my view, it’s just one more opportunity to tell us what we already know." Smith responded by claiming: "Okay. Except polls would say the opposite of that." Steele replied: "No, the polls don’t...Harry I don’t know what polls you’re looking at. The polls don’t say the opposite of that."
While the mainstream media mock as overblown and unjustified the concerns of many conservatives that President Obama's televised speech to the nation's schoolchildren would be accompanied by liberal politicking, one online news outlet is noting how the president took the chance to push his agenda to a small group of Northern Virginia students prior to the actual speech.
"Prior to his nationally broadcast speech to students on Tuesday, President Barack Obama made a pitch for health care reform in a discussion with 40 freshmen at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va.," reports Penny Starr of CNSNews.com, a sister organization* to NewsBusters.org.:
Although the president avoided controversial topics in his speech, he did promote health care reform in a face-to-face discussion at Wakefield High School. Asked by a student how he stays motivated to do his job, Obama replied that his staff gives him 10 letters every day from “ordinary folks.”
“Some of the stories are really depressing,” Obama told the 40 freshman, who were chosen to meet with the president during freshman orientation, according to school officials.
“You hear about people who are sick but don't have health care, and suddenly they get a bill for $100,000, and there's no way they can pay for it, and they're about to lose their house. And you’re just reminded that the country is full of really good people who sometimes are going through a hard time,” Obama said.
As President Obama prepares to deliver his 29th speech on health care, this time before a joint session of Congress, it recalls Bill Clinton’s September 22, 1993 speech to Congress on the same topic. Back then, media liberals hit some of the exact same points journalists are making today: “reform” would end the “shame” of America being the only industrialized nation without universal coverage; that a bigger role for government would cost nothing or even save money in the long run, and that government bureaucrats were preferable to insurance companies.
After a year of media cheerleading, however, Congress finally scrapped Clinton’s health care ideas. But the unpopularity of Clinton’s government-based solutions contributed to the election of the first Republican-led House of Representatives in more than four decades. That’s not to say history will play out the same way this time, but the media spin on behalf of ObamaCare certainly echoes the language of the 1990s. A review:
ABC’s Robin Roberts conducted a fawning interview with Barack Obama on Wednesday’s Good Morning America, downplaying controversy and instead offering fawning softballs such as "How difficult is it to stay on message?" The GMA host previewed Obama’s big health care speech to Congress and only gently broached the difficulties that the President has had with the legislation.
Earlier in the segment, Roberts vaguely wondered, "Is there a new approach that you're taking to getting your message across?" The ABC co-host mentioned controversial (now former) green czar Van Jones, but managed to not actually ask a question about him: "You talk about talk radio and the things that are being said. Glenn Beck, for instance, really going after Van Jones. Forced to resign. Controversial things that he said about 9/11 and Columbine. How difficult is it to stay on message?"
She's been ridiculed by the so-called masters of the universe in the mainstream media for warning President Barack Obama's health care proposals could result in one of one of her loved ones having to stand in front of one of "Obama's death panels" to determine their "level of productivity in society" to see if they are worthy of health care. But despite the criticism, she's not backing down from those statements.
She pointed out the president wanted to create a bureaucracy called the "Independent Medicare Advisory Council," which is as she says is "an unelected, largely unaccountable group of experts charged with containing Medicare costs." She wrote it is policy gestures as such as that and other cost-cutting suggestions that have her concerned.
ABC's World News on Tuesday night bemoaned the impact of conservatives and citizen journalists in derailing President Barack Obama's agenda. Pivoting from the reaction to Obama's address to students, anchor Charles Gibson observed “today's speech was really the latest target of some conservative groups taking on the President” and “their tactics are having an impact.”
Reporter Dan Harris asserted “the conservative echo chamber is not new, but,” he fretted, “this White House is operating in a vastly accelerated media environment where you no longer need to be in the presence of reporters to make news, as we saw with the health care furor at those town hall meetings.” Journalistic veteran Tom Rosenstiel marveled: “Today you can arrange that protest yourself, photograph it with a hand-held cell phone, and if you can then generate enough views of that video on YouTube, you can make something into national news.” That's because, Harris insisted, “the mainstream media love a good fight, even if the charges are unfounded.”
Though Harris acknowledged “some of the conservative complaints do play into larger concerns” about Obama, he relayed how “critics say the White House has been simply unprepared to deal with the ferocity of the conservative push-back.”