Blogs > HNN > August 11, 2009: Health Care Reform Debate Heats Up

Aug 12, 2009 4:59 am

August 11, 2009: Health Care Reform Debate Heats Up

The President speaks at the town hall



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


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

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012....

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


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


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

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