Nothing like a presidential assassination metaphor to spice up an otherwise insipid Sunday column . . .
Churning out yet another anti-Sarah screed, Dowd descended to this today [emphasis added]:
"At the moment, what she wants to do is tap into her visceral talent for aerial-shooting her favorite human prey: cerebral Ivy League Democrats.
Just as she was able to stir up the mob against Barack Obama on the trail, now she is fanning the flames against another Harvard smarty-pants — Dr. Zeke Emanuel, a White House health care adviser and the older brother of Rahmbo."
So Sarah wants to shoot the brother of Pres. Obama's chief of staff, along with the president himself. Per Dowd, they're nothing but "human prey" to Palin.
If you haven't noticed, a lot of media outlets have gotten worked up into a tizzy over the mere mention of death panels. The New York Times got so worked up, it went after a few conservatives outlets by name in its Aug. 13 issue.
"But the rumor [that Obama's health care proposal would create death panels] - which has come up at Congressional town-hall-style meetings this week in spite of an avalanche of reports laying out why it was false - was not born of anonymous e-mailers, partisan bloggers or stealthy cyberconspiracy theorists," Jim Rutenberg and Jackie Calmes wrote for the Times. "Rather, it has a far more mainstream provenance, openly emanating months ago from many of the same pundits and conservative media outlets that were central in defeating President Bill Clinton's health care proposals 16 years ago, including the editorial board of The Washington Times, the American Spectator magazine and Betsy McCaughey, whose 1994 health care critique made her a star of the conservative movement (and ultimately, New York's lieutenant governor)."
On Monday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Sharyl Attkisson filed a report focusing on worries that President Obama will not go far enough to challenge drug companies, which she believed may “jeopardize support among Democrats and the public.” Anchor Katie Couric introduced the report as she suggested that Obama, who repeatedly promised during the campaign that all negotiations would be public and shown on C-SPAN, had instead made a "backroom deal":
When he was running for President, Barack Obama attacked pharmaceutical companies for charging too much for prescription drugs, but now he's teamed up with those same companies to promote his health care plan. And Sharyl Attkisson tells us critics accuse him of making a backroom deal that could end up costing seniors plenty.
Despite the risk that price controls could reduce the supply of drugs or diminish their quality, or that importing cheaper drugs from Canada could have the effect of drying up Canada’s drug supply, Attkisson complained of the possibility Obama may not support price controls:
In an August 14 report appearing on the front page of the paper's August 15 print edition ("Health Debate Fails to Ignite Obama’s Web"), Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times (pictured at right) gave readers a fairly accurate impression, while avoiding the word, of activism turning into apathy in Barack Obama's DNC- and White House-orchestrated Organizing for America (OFA) effort.
While Zeleny's report and detailed work came out of Iowa, his key finding is intended to be a national temperature gauge: "But if a week’s worth of events are any measure here in Iowa, it may not be so easy to reignite the machine that overwhelmed Republicans a year ago."
That's why it's odd, to say the least, that Zeleny ignored the results of the nationwide reignition attempt that occurred and largely failed this past week, namely its "Office Visits for Health Reform." In fact, there are some signs that "Office Visits" did OFA's cause more harm than good.
Here are some key paragraphs from Zeleny's report:
On MSNBC Friday, anchor John Harwood spoke with New York Times Week in Review editor Sam Tanenhaus about the health care debate, wondering: "...you know an awful lot about the patron saint of modern conservatism William F. Buckley. What do you suppose Bill Buckley would think of the nature of the arguments that are being made against the Obama health care plan right now, death panels and all the rest?"
Harwood, hosting the 2:00PM ET weekly New York Times Edition broadcast, was asking about Tanenhaus’s upcoming book, ‘The Death of Conservatism.’ Tanenhaus argued: "Well, you know, one of the great contributions Bill Buckley made to conservatism was to move it toward the center. And one way he did that was to repudiate in a very forceful way what was then called the lunatic fringe."
At that time, Harwood interjected: "The John Birch Society." Tanenhaus continued: "And they weren’t necessarily a dangerous group, but what they did was discredit serious conservative arguments." He then made the comparison to the current health care debate: "...and we may see in the days ahead where serious responsible Republicans and conservative thinkers say if they’re going to make a forceful argument the country can accept, they’ll have to cut themselves off from this more extreme view."
Harwood concluded: "Well, it’s an interesting point. It’s – I don’t see right now anybody cutting off that extreme view all that much."
All three broadcast networks this week have reported on the charity Remote Area Medical's offer of free medical care at a temporary facility in Los Angeles, citing the arrival of many patients as a sign of how many Americans there are who need "free health care," and even relaying the words of program volunteers who compared the health care challenges of some Americans to problems in Third World countries like Guatemala and India.
But only by watching ABC's Good Morning America did one see a soundbite of program founder Stan Brock informing viewers that the free clinic does not even screen patients to learn if they really are in need financially. Brock:
It's first-come, first-served basis, no questions asked, no financial information required. There are a lot of good programs in this country, but they tend to have hurdles that the patient has to leap through in order to get the care.
Reporters seemed shocked that thousands of people would stand in line for hours to receive hundreds -- or even thousands -- of dollars worth of free medical care.
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric used a free clinic in Inglewood, California to push for health care reform: "Tonight in the battle over health care, they are on the front lines....we’re going to show you why many believe reform is desperately needed. These are just some of the tens of thousands of Americans who need health care but have no insurance or not enough of it."
In the report that followed, correspondent Bill Whitaker described the organization that set up the free health clinic: "This program is run by Remote Area Medical, a nonprofit group established 24 years ago to take modern medicine to the third world. Today, they do some 40 multi-day free clinics a year, 65% of them now in the U.S." Whitaker spoke to one volunteer physician, who compared the need for health care in the U.S. to that of third world nations: "Here at home, we have as much a need as I do when I travel to the most remote areas of India, and that’s very heartbreaking."
On March 2 of last year, CBS’s 60 Minutes ran a story on Remote Area Medical in which anchor Scott Pelley made similar third world comparisons when discussing the American health care system: "Recently, we heard about an American relief organization that air drops doctors and medicine into the jungles of the Amazon....But these days, that’s not the Amazon – this charity founded to help people who can’t reach medical care now finds itself throwing America a lifeline."
ABC News correspondent Brian Ross tried to connect the health care town hall protesters to hate groups on Friday’s GMA. Ross cited the Southern Poverty Law Center, whose left-wing political affiliation he omitted, and used two sound bites from the SPLC’s Mark Potok, who hyped that President Obama supposedly “triggered fears among...white people...that they are somehow losing their country.”
The ABC News correspondent led his report just after the beginning of the 7 am Eastern hour by underlining how it’s apparently been a “very ugly week as the rhetoric about the President and the threats against him have deeply worried the people who track this country’s hate groups.” After summarizing how police in Los Angeles arrested a man suffering from “mental problems” for making threats against the White House, and how the case is apparently part of a “disturbing pattern,” Ross played his first clip from Potok, who emphasized, “I don’t think that these are simply people who are mentally ill or...you know, kind of off their rockers. I think that...in a very real sense, they represent a genuine reaction- a genuine backlash against Obama.”
Jonathan Capehart let the mask slip on just how much the MSM is one with Pres. Obama and Democrats at large. Here's the WaPo editorialist on Morning Joe today, discussing the daunting task of selling ObamaCare to a doubting public:
"We've got two problems here. We: I should say the administration or Democrats have two problems."
Sorry, Jonathan. Cat out of bag. Toothpaste out of tube. Bell rung.
It's not enough that much of the mainstream media cheered on Barack Obama to the presidency in 2008 or browbeat former President George W. Bush on Iraq and Afghanistan to force Republicans from control of Congress. No, it's time for a "progressive television network" and for left-wingers to support radio hosts that are sympathetic to liberal causes according to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
You may have thought there already was a "progressive" cable network in MSNBC and left-wingers sort of had an opportunity to support Air America, but that didn't quite pan out as anticipated - though it's still hanging on. Nonetheless, Sanders, a self-described socialist, appeared on MSNBC's Aug. 13 "Rachel Maddow Show" and blasted Fox News and conservative talk radio. He blamed both for creating obstacles to Democratic Party led efforts to fundamentally alter health care in the United States. But he also said it's time the left attempted to replicate the right and created their own left-wing networks.
The White House's perpetual campaign site, er, home page, currently has rotating messages at the top left. Two of them relate to health care (yellow underlines are mine):
The administration would be well-advised to hold back on the blather about "blatant falsehoods" and "misinformation" until their guy in charge stops disseminating them himself.
Take Obama's claim that the surgeon's fee for a single foot/leg amputation is $30,000 - $50,000 (please).
Here, from the White House's transcript of the President's Tuesday appearance in Portsmouth, NH, is the beginning of what Obama had to say in comparing the costs involved in preventive care against diabetes to the cost of one of its potential consequences:
On Thursday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Rick Sanchez couldn’t get a straight answer out of Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee about her cell phone use during a recent health care town hall, and after he repeatedly asked why she did it and if it was disrespectful, the Texas Democrat bizarrely raised the possibility that the YouTube video of her on the phone was “doctored” [the entire interview can be viewed here; audio clips from the segment are available here].
Sanchez brought on the Jackson-Lee to ask her about the viral video of her phone use as a woman tried to ask her a question at the town hall. He first asked, “How do you explain what you were doing there? What were you thinking, Congresswoman?” For about a minute and a half, the Democrat filibustered by talking about her town hall appearances and the health care issue. The CNN anchor repeatedly tried to get her to answer his question. He asked again: “Why were you talking on the phone?” She continued by avoiding the issue, talking about the “congressional hotline” her office had set up on the health care proposal. Sanchez interrupted, “Congresswoman, you’re not being fair. I asked you a very specific question....The question is, why were you on the phone and was it disrespectful?”
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith teased an upcoming segment on dispelling myths about health care reform: "There’s so much anger, this vitriol that we see day after day in these town meetings across the country....We’re going to try and determine this morning whether or not some of these bold statements are, in fact, true or not."
Smith turned to Jonathan Cohn, senior editor of the left-wing magazine, The New Republic, to find the "truth" about the President’s health care plan. Smith made no mention of Cohn’s political affiliation or the magazine’s liberal leanings but did find time to promote his guest’s latest book: "Jonathan Cohn is senior editor of The New Republic and author ‘Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis And The People Who Pay The Price.’"
On Wednesday, Cohn wrote an article for The New Republic entitled: "The Swiftboating of Health Reform," in which he attacked conservative critics of the health care plan: "It’d be one thing if the lunatics on the right had a coherent argument for why these initiatives might be ineffective or counterproductive. But they don’t even bother to acknowledge them, preferring instead to throw out scare quotes like this one from [Sarah] Palin: ‘Who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course.’"
Citizens opposed to Obama's health-care overhaul are not only white, irritable, and angry, as the New York Times has confirmed in two front-page stories -- they're ignorant as well.
That's the new wrinkle reporter David Stout brings to the debate, in his web-only report Wednesday afternoon on congressional town hall meetings across the country dominated by health-care concerns, "For Lawmakers, Health-Plan Anger Keeps Coming."
Lawmakers ran into fresh anger and skepticism on Wednesday as they fielded questions from constituents worried about changes in the health care system, and about a lot of other things having to do with government.
The queries hurled at legislators from the Atlantic Seaboard to the nation's midsection reflected deep-seated fears, a general suspicion of government and, in some cases, a lack of knowledge on the part of the questioners.
Topside Update, 2:15 p.m.: Imagine that -- Roxana Mayer was also an Organizing For America "host" during the Texas primary last year.
Anyone visiting here even semi-regularly knows that the establishment media consistently fails to determine the legitimacy of people who "say the right things." Further, when someone else, often a blogger, digs and finds the truth, the reporters and publications involved may sometimes grudgingly acknowledge it, but even then usually incompletely; and more often than not, they won't give credit where due.
This all-too-typical scenario has played out in the past two days in the case of a certain Roxana Mayer. In two posts (here and here), LA-area blogger Patterico, best known for his relentless skewering of the target-rich environment known as the Los Angeles Times, exposed Ms. Mayer, who claimed to be a doctor when she spoke at a town hall meeting held by Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (and who later hugged her, as seen at the top right), as a leftist fraud.
As Patterico noted in the title of his second post, Mayer's mantra ought to be "I’m Not a Doctor But I Play One at Town Hall Meetings." Patterico also showed that Mayer was also a Texas Obama delegate at last year's Democratic Convention.
At first, the Houston Chronicle took Mayer's word that she is a doctor, failed to investigate her bona fides, and reported the following:
According to Huffington Post editor and co-founder Arianna Huffington and MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, nobody could possibly oppose health care/health insurance reform on the merits of the legislation or for ideological or philosophical reasons. There must be something nefarious occurring.
At a town hall meeting on Aug. 12, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, voiced his opposition to H.R. 3200 and other forms of legislation that would dramatically change health care, which he felt would be for the worse. This was too much for Huffington, who called Grassley a liar.
On Wednesday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Ben Tracy filed a report linking angry protesters opposing ObamaCare at town hall events to conservative groups, examining the possibility that the "outrage" has been "organized" by these groups, or even affected by "anti-government" sentiment over other issues, rather than legitimate concerns about the plans under consideration.
Tracy began his report: "For some, their anger is tightly focused on health care reform. But for others, this issue is simply the final straw." After a soundbite of a woman complaining about the legalization of abortion and the removal of prayer from public schools, Tracy continued: "Some experts believe a growing anti-government sentiment, fueled by extraordinary events such as the bailouts of the banking and auto industries, is spilling over into the health care debate."
Notably, eight minutes after the end of Tracy’s report, a piece was run in which correspondent Bob Orr relayed concerns by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center about right-wing extremism motivated by "anti-government" sentiment, Democratic party control of the government, and the first black President, and the possibility of violence from these extreme groups in the near future.
MSNBC host David Shuster has made it clear that he's left-of-center politically with his stands on social issues and his eagerness to ridicule conservatives. But yet he still maintains an anchor post for the network's mid-day regular news coverage.
But the former host of the network's now-canceled "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" interviewed Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind. on the issue of the day, health care and kicked it off with a loaded question and followed by repeatedly talking over the congressman and interrupting him. Shuster wanted to know why Pence was misleading his constituents that Medicare was government run.
"Congressman, first of all one of the themes you keep hearing from protesters is that they oppose government-run health care," Shuster said on MSNBC Aug. 12. "I understand that at your town hall at a Republican district, you got a standing ovation when you said to your constituents, ‘I oppose government-run health care.' But did you know that Medicare is government run? And why haven't you told that to your constituents?" he asked with a sarcastic tone in his voice.
Average American citizen Katy Abram's impassioned plea against socialized health care, at Senator Arlen Specter's town hall meeting on Tuesday, got her noticed by the "Hardball" producers as her clip was featured on Tuesday's show and she even received an invitation to appear tonight -- complete with the requisite scolding from the program's liberal host. Subbing for Chris Matthews, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell incorrectly challenged Abram's fear that Barack Obama wanted to move to a single-payer plan.
After Abram recalled that, "I heard him say on a quote, on television, that...we will move to a single-payer" plan, O'Donnell rebuked "He never said that." When Abram again insisted that she "Heard it on TV," O'Donnell adamantly asserted "The President of the United States has never said that." It turns out Abram knew her facts better than the cable news host, as Obama as recently as last year declared: "If I were designing a system from scratch, I would probably go ahead with a single-payer system," And, as Red State noted, in 2003 Obama told a crowd of AFL-CIO members: "I happen to be a proponent of single-payer, universal health care coverage."
The following exchange was aired on the August 12, edition of "Hardball":
CNN’s Elaine Quijano failed to mention the left-wing political affiliation of Wendell Potter, whom she touted to be a health care “insurance company insider” on Wednesday’s Situation Room. When her network featured a glowing segment on the former Cigna spokesman over a month earlier, her colleague Jim Acosta also omitted Potter’s work as a senior fellow for the liberal Center for Media and Democracy.
Anchor Wolf Blitzer introduced Quijano’s report, which aired just after the beginning of the 5 pm Eastern hour, and described Potter as a “one-time insurance insider...turned whistleblower on industry tactics to try to sway the health care debate.” The CNN correspondent further described the former Cigna spokesman as being part of the pro-ObamaCare forces’ arsenal: “In the heat of the summer battle over health care reform, Democrats are deploying another weapon- he’s a former insurance company insider who’s speaking out once again.”
At the top of the 8:00AM ET hour of Wednesday’s Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell cited protests at health care reform town hall meetings as evidence that the debate was "turning into a nasty national shouting match."
After playing a clip of a U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad opposing the health care plan, Mitchell observed: "Democratic lawmakers pushing reform are being jeered at testy town hall meetings. President Obama is urging Americans to ignore those who he says are trying to scare and mislead."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith declared: "As President Obama takes his health care reform plan to the people, anger spills out all over the country." Smith later introduced a segment on President Obama’s Tuesday town hall: "First though, tempers boiled over again Tuesday in the heated debate over health care, nearly everywhere that is, except inside President Obama’s town hall meeting in New Hampshire."
On Tuesday’s World News, for the second day in a row, ABC delivered a "fact check" on the health care bill, offering up perspectives sympathetic to the sweeping legislation. Confusing opinions for facts, David Wright spun that it was "true" that "95 percent of the people" would be able to keep their current plan. However, Politifact has labeled this claim a half truth.
An August 11 posting conceded, "[Obama’s] plan seeks to build on the system we have now, where most people get health insurance through their employers." However, it goes on to add, "But the plans also introduce new ways of regulating health insurance companies that will surely change the current health care system. That could prompt employers to change their health plans..."
The political debunking site concluded, "It's not realistic for Obama to make blanket statements that ‘you’ will be able to ‘keep you health care plan.’" [Emphasis added] So, why is Wright using blanket statements for his fact check?
Are you wary of the federal government using taxpayer dollars to advise senior citizens on "end-of-life" issues? If so, you're just "cruel," according to former ABC reporter Linda Douglass, now the communications director for the White House Office of Health Reform.
Douglass appeared on MSNBC's Aug. 12 "Dr. Nancy," with host Nancy Snyderman. Snyderman pointed out that some of the discussion about end-of-life care is just craziness and these "rumors" are difficult to combat (even though there is precedent for governments involved heavily in health care to take such measures, as Michelle Malkin pointed out.)
"I think the criticism about this euthanasia and death panels is just craziness," Snyderman said. "That, in fact, we should be talking about death and dying earlier, but these are rumors that aren't going away."
This is just a small entry, a blog-lette, if you will. Because I happened to have seen this bit of broadcast flapdoodle live, which you now have before you at right (with the audio available here).
On this morning's MSNBC News Live, co-host Angela Burt-Murray - the Editor-in-Chief of Essence magazine -uncorks this absolutely wild pitch to Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md):
Recently you released a report on women and health care, and taking a look at the very real issue that families are facing we have more than 64 million women who have lost health care due to loss of job or a spouse that has lost a job. How do you see the Administration's plan being more able to effectively address this issue for women and children in this country?
64 million? Just women?
We have repeatedly documented that the oft-cited 46 million people - men and women - without insurance is completely bogus. But as you will find at the link's destination, the media's number on this vacillates wildly.
Lou Dobbs - you can love him or hate, but sometimes he makes a point that will get your attention.
The CNN host of "Lou Dobbs Tonight" gave his evaluation of MSNBC "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann on his Aug. 11 radio show. According to Dobbs, Olbermann was a neophyte until MSNBC gave him a primetime show in 2003.
"First, I want to share with you something that just, I mean shocks me," Dobbs said. "Over at MSNBC, Keith Olbermann is their resident moron over there. He knows nothing about politics, nothing about economics. He has never covered politics until they put him in that chair and said, ‘Hey, you know, go try it out.' I mean, it's crazy. He's just - oh my gosh."
What Shawn Tully's column at CNNMoney.com did on July 24 to expose the truth about what ObamaCare does to the coverage of those who have employer-provided health insurance (discussed yesterday at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the Washington Post's Charles Lane did on August 8 ("Undue Influence; The House Bill Skews End-of-Life Counsel") to the myth that ObamaCare won't have serious negative consequences for patients who begin to have serious, potentially life-ending health issues.
Mr. Lane has clearly read the bill, clearly doesn't like what he sees, and calls it out in specific detail.
He starts out slowly by creating the straw-man argument that those "on the far right" see ObamaCare "as a plan to force everyone over 65 to sign his or her own death warrant. That's rubbish."
Of course it is, but so is the claim that opponents on the right or left are saying that. Even Sarah Palin's Facebook post never mentions "euthanasia," and Ann Althouse correctly characterizes Pailn's reference to "death panels" as "a good and fair polemical expression if in fact life-saving care will be rationed on this basis (of what Palin described as “level of productivity in society")."
There is plenty of reason to believe it will be, as Lane explains (bolds are mine):
As the likelihood of President Barack Obama's style of health care/health insurance reform has looked more and more uncertain, health care sector stocks have rallied, nearly 10 percent over the last month.
But now as Obama is showing some signs of managing his message and could be trying to make a comeback, even as polls show the odds aren't his favor, CNBC market analyst Steve Grasso is cautioning viewers to be wary of health care stocks for the time being.
"You know, one of my picks has been health care," Grasso said. "I'm a little shaky on it the longer this process goes on, I think the more we have to look at it. I mean, I caught a glimpse of President Obama speaking today. If they're clapping, that was a hand-picked audience. I have yet to find anyone who likes the plan. So I think health care is on waivers for me at this point."
During a segment on Tuesday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez and correspondent Ali Velshi bizarrely agreed that the issues of illegal immigration and abortion, as well as the constitutionality of the ObamaCare proposal, had little to do the health care debate, after citizens raised those issues at a health care town hall with Senator Arlen Specter.
Sanchez led the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program with his questioning of the relevance of the abortion and Constitution issues to the health care debate, interspersed with clips from the Specter town hall: “A town hall meeting to discuss health care reform. But instead....children....the Constitution....the Gettysburg Address?...Overwhelmingly Republican and overwhelmingly anti-Obama....Which party is being helped or hurt by this?” The first sound bite was of an unidentified participant who brought up the illegal immigrant issue, and stated “the illegals- they shouldn’t even be here.” The second clip was from another participant who brought up the abortion issue: “While that baby is in the mother, we don’t count that as a person.” The last clip came from someone who quoted from Lincoln’s most famous speech.
The CNN anchor then began the first segment by playing more complete sound bites from the Specter town hall. As he introduced the clips, Sanchez hinted that the only reason why the illegal immigrant and abortion issues were raised at the Specter town hall was because they were “wedge issues.” Out of the five clips, only one came from a participant who brought up an issue that was completely unrelated to the ObamaCare proposal- the planned closure of Guantanamo Bay.
With the Obama administration and their friends in the media denouncing the sometimes loud dissent that liberals are facing in town hall meetings on health care, it’s worth recalling how some of those same journalists celebrated the anti-Bush dissenters and denounced what they claimed was the Republican administration’s attempts to stifle dissent.
Back in 2006, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann attacked what he called President Bush’s “portable public chorus” (does President Obama have one of those?) For telling “those who dissent...[that] we are somehow un-American.” PBS’s Bill Moyers in 2003 found it “galling” to see “all those moralistic ideologues in Washington...attacking dissenters as un-American.”
In 2003, Olbermann saluted protests: “It is political dissent that created this country and sustained it and improved it.” But on Friday’s Countdown, Olbermann called the anti-Obama protests “societal sabotage,” determined that the grassroots groups are “fake” and insisted that “the protestors are not interested in hearing any voices other than their own.” (But the anti-Bush protesters were open-minded?)
Not everyone on the left is in denial of the town hall protests and propagating the notion that any opposition to ObamaCare is manufactured "Astroturf" from the right.
Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, now a Bloomberg TV contributor, said that the issue of public sentiment isn't settled. Some prognosticators have concluded that everyone wants President Barack Obama's brand of health care reform.
"I think it's still a toss-up ball quite frankly," Daschle said on Bloomberg TV Aug. 11. "I think everybody is looking to see who gets to be on the offensive and there is a critical effort on both sides to do that. Whoever is usually on the offensive as you go into the legislative fight is the winner. And so, that's really the key - who can be on the offensive as we go through the next critical weeks."