Tucked into President Barack Obama's speech to the U.S. Congress was a new talking point -- that his aim is to get health insurance for 30 million uninsured people, not 46 million.
"There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage," Obama said on Wednesday. Back in August, he had said: "We've got 46-47 million people without health insurance in our country."
Why the change?
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama was making the point that under his plan, illegal immigrants would not get health insurance.
"The proposal that the president outlined covers American citizens," Gibbs told reporters. "His plan would not cover illegal immigrants."
President Obama's eloquent address to a joint session of Congress was one he should have made a lot sooner, before the health-care debate started to spiral out of control.
He was too aloof and hands off at the outset and distressingly slow in answering attacks and distortions, a mistake he vowed not to repeat. "Death panels," he said, are "a lie, plain and simple."
His forcefulness was intended to reassure wavering Democrats that he would fight for health care and the new level of detail in the speech indicated that he was willing to get his hands dirty in the sausage making of legislation.
Dive in just about anyplace you like in President Barack Obama's health-care speech the other night, and you bump into something abrasively wrongheaded, so much so that the whole thing can almost be summed up by Rep. Joe Wilson's shout: "Lie!"
It was unquestionably out of line to do what the South Carolinian did, of course, as uncivil as when Democrats booed President George Bush during a State of the Union speech four years ago.
But wait, I am sorry, Bush surely deserved it and Democrats can do no wrong. Wilson, on the other hand, insulted mass-media hero Obama and will pay dearly while too few focus on the remark that inspired his ire.
President Barack Obama has never been wedded to a government-run health insurance plan.
The will-he-or-won't-he obsession over how hard Obama might fight to include the so-called public option in a health care reform package has been — let's be honest — mostly just noise.
Obama settled that Washington parlor game in his speech to Congress and a television-watching public Wednesday night. The president praised the public option but called it only a means to the end of providing more competition, not crucial on its own.
"We should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal," he said.
President Barack Obama's leadership in the days ahead will determine whether his forceful health care address to Congress heralds the kind of sweeping change he promised while campaigning for the White House.
Addressing Democrats and Republicans in the House chamber, along with Washington insiders and Americans with and without health insurance, Obama spelled out where he stands on key issues in dispute as Congress struggles to revamp the nation's health care system. While some of his explanations — notably on costs — were incomplete, he left no doubt he's taking ownership.
President Barack Obama told Congress on Wednesday "the time for bickering is over" and called for quick action on a broad healthcare overhaul that would dramatically transform the U.S. health system and insurance market.
In a sometimes emotional speech, Obama said lawmakers were "closer to the goal of reform than we have ever been" and spelled out proposals he said would improve stability for those with insurance and expand the options for those without, including a controversial government-run "public option."
He issued a sharp rebuke to critics of his healthcare drive, accusing them of substituting scare tactics for honest debate.Read More
So Barack Obama has given his speech to school children, and it was a fine if slightly flawed one, a needed, important call for students to be self-responsible, and I am very close to saying shame on you to some of my fellow conservatives. Why work yourselves into a mountain of frenzy over this pebble of an event?
There are a couple of answers to that question, of course, including the U.S. Education Department's supplying the nation's schools with follow-up materials that would have had students contemplating how exactly they should respond to the president's wisdom. It was an act of oafish, bureaucratic overkill feeding the fear of political indoctrination and the instilling of Mao-style hero worship.
President Barack Obama faces a major leadership test Wednesday in a crucial address to Congress designed to convince Americans to back his battered health care reform plan.
Obama is seeking to restore his diminished authority after weeks of shrill Republican attacks and with his approval ratings tumbling is under intense pressure to lay out clear plans on his top domestic priority.
The speech to a joint session of Congress will offer "a lot of clarity about what I think is the best way to move forward," Obama told ABC television in an interview to be broadcast Wednesday.
We now are hearing that President Obama's honeymoon with voters is over, that his poll numbers are falling, that the soaring rhetoric of the campaign no longer makes the Democratic faithful swoon so easily.
If this is a real trend and not temporary disgruntlement, it is a good thing.
For too long, Democrats, especially progressives, have been reluctant to openly criticize Obama, the nation's first black president. They want him to succeed, and they believe that serious public criticism from inside the party would hurt their man and egg on angry Republicans hell-bent on not being reasonable.
Unions thought their ship came in when Barack Obama moved into the White House. They considered the new President the fruit of their efforts to put a pro-union stamp on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
That was then. This is now and now the unions join a growing list of other Americans who wonder just who they helped put into the Presidency.
Union bosses grumble that Obama's promised changes were more illusion than reality and he has forgot what he owes to organized labor.
Obama hasn't delivered, the complain, and it's time to stop talking about change and start changing.