Obama Watch

By Tom Blumer | July 29, 2014 | 7:52 PM EDT

At the Washington Post's Plum Line blog this afternoon, Greg Sargent argued that the legislative history of Obamacare supports the argument that Congress intended that participants in federal exchanges be entitled to premium subsidies (alternatively referred to in some quarters as "tax credits"), and that the history should doom the Halbig suit, which contends that tax subsidies cannot be disbursed to Obamacare participants who purchased their coverage through the federal exchange.

Unfortunately for Sargent, the history really makes the opposite legal argument, significantly strengthening the Halbig side's hand. First we'll look at what Sargent wrote. Then we'll see how a RedState diarist nuked his argument within two hours.

By Scott Rasmussen | July 28, 2014 | 5:12 PM EDT

Following the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision, one of the key talking points that emerged from enraged opponents of the ruling was: "My boss shouldn't be involved in my health care decisions." California State Senate candidate Sandra Fluke says on her official website that such a perspective is "common sense."

An Ohio Democrat is introducing a "Not My Boss's Business Act" in the state legislature. Like Fluke, she is tapping into a deeply held American belief that we should be able to make important decisions like health care choices on our own.

By Tom Blumer | July 26, 2014 | 11:58 AM EDT

It seems that Democratic National Committee chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz has herself programmed to automatically criticize any Republican governor in the U.S. for refusing to implement a state Obamacare exchange.

Wasserman Schultz made that contention on Tuesday about Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. She did so on Nevada's "Ralston Reports," a TV program hosted by Jon Ralston, whose bio indicates that he is "a contributing editor at Politico Magazine" and that he has appeared "on national television, including programs on MSNBC, FOX and PBS." There's only one problem: Nevada tried to set up an Obamacare exchange, but decided to "scrap its crippled Obamacare exchange and join the federal HealthCare.gov for at least a year." Video and a transcript follow the jump.

By Ken Shepherd | July 24, 2014 | 6:36 PM EDT

At the beginning of the July 24 edition of Fast Money, CNBC aired an exclusive interview of President Obama by the network's Steve Liesman focused primarily on taxes and tax reform, particularly the president's call to prevent large corporations from capitalizing on an "inversion" to lessen their federal tax bite.

But after the interview was aired, CNBC panelists excoriated the president as "duplicitous" and "disingenuous" for pretending like he has no share in the blame for a lack of movement on tax reform during his tenure in office and for offering an inaccurate, misleading description of what exactly happens to a U.S. corporation's tax obligations after it undergoes an inversion.

By Ken Shepherd | July 22, 2014 | 10:15 PM EDT

In the midst of a panel discussion this evening freaking out over the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals striking a blow to the ObamaCare, MSNBC's Chris Matthews invoked a favored 14-year-old bogeyman of the Left, the Supreme Court ruling in Bush v. Gore. "Don't tell me you're shocked by the fact there's a partisan ruling," the Hardball host screeched to fellow MSNBCer Joy Reid. "We had President George W. Bush because of a partisan ruling by the Supreme Court. Isn't that a fact?!" 

Actually, Chris, no, that isn't a fact. For one, a  "recount" conducted by USA Today showed that, using the recount methodology that Vice President Gore had called for, Mr. Bush still would have won Florida's electoral votes and with it the presidency AND tripled his winning margin in the process. Only the strictest recount standard MAY have resulted in a Gore victory, but only of three votes and Mr. Gore did not argue for that standard to be deployed in the recount. From USA Today (emphasis mine):

By Ken Shepherd | July 21, 2014 | 8:50 PM EDT

During the Bush era, the Left were wont to remind us that "dissent is patriotic" and being intensely critical of the president was a hallmark of a vibrant democracy, especially on matters of foreign policy and national defense. But in the Obama Era, especially in a crucial midterm election year, well, not so much.

On the July 21 Hardball, guest host Steve Kornacki brought on Mother Jones magazine writer David Corn and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart to grouse about how Republicans who have been critical of President Obama's handling of Russia vis-a-vis the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the Moscow-backed political unrest in Ukraine. "There was a time when politics stopped at the water's edge. That disappeared, apparently, on January 20, 2009," Capehart whined in a segment entitled "Blame Obama First."

By Ken Shepherd | July 17, 2014 | 8:43 PM EDT

Of the Big Three evenings newscasts for Thursday, July 17, only ABC's World News failed to mention that President Obama was attending two fundraisers in New York City as previously planned despite the day's events: a downed Malaysia Airlines jetliner in Ukraine and Israel sending ground forces into the Gaza Strip.

CBS's Major Garrett mentioned in passing the president flying to New York for a fundraiser and a "political event," while NBC White House correspondent Chris Jansing noted her exchange with White House officials about the planned fundraiser and if the president would proceed with his attendance. The relevant transcript follows the page break (emphasis mine):

By Mark Finkelstein | July 17, 2014 | 10:37 AM EDT

But enough about me.  Let's talk about how you feel about me . . . Maybe Barack Obama should modify his famous New Age-y line, uttered after the 2008 Super Tuesday results, to read "I am the one I have been waiting for." In recent times, it's become an entertaining parlor game to count the number of self references in President Obama's public statements.  

The latest opportunity to play the game comes via a fund-raising email the prez sent out this morning. Defiantly entitled "I Won't Apologize," the short message contains by my count no fewer than 11 self-references [12 if you count the URL for the fund-raising link]—a self-adoring assortment of I, I'm, I'll and me. View the complete email after the jump.

By Ken Shepherd | July 16, 2014 | 6:33 PM EDT

On page A7 of the July 16 paper, Washington Post staff writer Juliet Eilperin hacked out 12 paragraphs of goo over President Obama's Tuesday visit to the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va., where he "[made] a case for pouring more federal funds in U.S. infrastructure" and also got behind the wheel of "a self-driving car stationed at a simulator." "Man, this is so exciting.... I haven't been on the road in a long time," Eilperin quoted the president, who added a 1980s pop-culture reference. "It was sort of like 'Knight Rider,' Eilperin quoted Obama, noting  that it "[prompted] laughter from a crowd of nearly 200 of the center's employees."

One person not chuckling, however, was John Foust. He's the Fairfax County Democrat running for Congress in the district where the facility is located. The Weekly Standard notes that the Democrat was curiously absent from the presidential visit, eschewing the opportunity for a photo op with the president in a district Obama carried twice (but which is represented currently by Republican Barbara Comstock  retiring Republican Congressman Frank Wolf):

By Cal Thomas | July 16, 2014 | 5:50 PM EDT

At last, an Obama administration official has come out in favor of a fence. He promises it will bring security to people on both sides of the border.

Unfortunately, Philip GordonNational Security Council coordinator for theMiddle EastNorth Africa and the Gulf, was not speaking of a border fence between the United States and Mexico, but a fence between the West Bank and the 1967 Israeli border. That fence, he said, would be built after Israelrelinquishes the territory in exchange for an empty promise of "peace" with the Palestinians.

By Ken Shepherd | July 10, 2014 | 9:12 PM EDT

Of the Big Three network newscasts for this evening, only CBS's Evening News covered how Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) threatened lawsuit against President Obama came a step closer to fruition today.

The relevant transcript follows the page break:

By Ken Shepherd | July 9, 2014 | 9:36 PM EDT

Miracles do happen. 

On his July 9 Hardball program, MSNBC's Chris Matthews actually pressed abortion-rights absolutist Stephanie Schriock about the implications of her support for Democratic legislation to overturn the Supreme Court's ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. But Matthews put the EMILY's List president on the spot by asking if her position amounted to telling religious employers that they simply have to swallow their religious scruples in order to not run afoul of the law. Bullying religious Americans over their sincere beliefs is hardly a picture one wants painted of one's self, so Schriock sought to avoid the questions and double down on talking points. Here's the relevant transcript (MP3 audio here; video embedded below page break; emphases mine):