White House passes buck on spam emails

The White House is blaming unnamed political groups for the unsolicited e-mails it had wrongly insisted no one was receiving from its online operation.

"We’re certainly not interested in anyone receiving e-mails from the White House who don’t want them," White House online director Macon Phillips said in a blog posting Monday night.

Phillips said groups outside the White House — he offered no specifics — had signed up their members to receive regular White House updates about President Barack Obama’s projects, priorities and speeches. Adding names from a commercial or political list to the White House list was not the practice there, he said.

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Is the White House building an enemies list?

The top Republican on the House’s oversight committee asked the White House on Monday about an e-mail from a top political adviser urging support for a health care overhaul and whether officials are collecting names of President Barack Obama’s critics.

In a letter to White House counsel Greg Craig, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., asked for details about who received a health care e-mail signed by Obama adviser David Axelrod. Issa also wanted to know how, exactly, the White House was using a separate e-mail account designed to track what it called "fishy" claims about its proposed overhaul — an account that was disabled Monday afternoon.

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Liberals to Obama: ‘You’re screwing up’

Liberal Democrats warned President Barack Obama on Monday that a retreat on support for a government-run health insurance plan could endanger passage of major healthcare reform in Congress this year.

In the face of intense Republican opposition, the White House signaled over the weekend it was not wedded to a public insurance option as long as the final healthcare measure increases choices for consumers and competition for insurers.

But the liberal backlash highlighted Obama’s difficult task in winning Republican support for a healthcare overhaul, his top domestic priority, without alienating Democrats who must also be on board to pass it.

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More workers for cash for clunkers

The Obama administration is tripling the number of workers processing Cash for Clunkers transactions as some dealers complain the government has been slow to reimburse them for the car incentives of up to $4,500 per vehicle.

An administration official said Monday the Transportation Department hoped to have 1,100 public and private sector workers processing the vouchers by the end of the week, up from a work force of about 350 through the end of last week.

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Obama under fire for health care flip-flop

President Barack Obama’s weekend concession on a health care "government option" drew complaints from liberals and scarce interest from Republicans and other critics on Monday, a fresh sign of the daunting challenge in finding middle ground in an increasingly partisan political struggle.

The White House insisted there had been no shift in position, adding the president still favors a federal option for the sale of health insurance. "The bottom line is this: Nothing has changed," said a memo containing suggested answers for administration allies to use if asked about the issue.

But some supporters of health care overhaul sounded less than reassured.

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Health care debacle: Trouble in Obamaland

Barack Obama’s vow to quell "slash and burn" politics, which helped sweep him to the presidency, is facing a decisive test in the angry echo-chamber imperiling his health reform drive.

"Do we participate in a politics of cynicism, or do we participate in a politics of hope?" Obama asked in the 2004 Democratic convention speech which rocketed him into the public eye.

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Is Obama ready to drop public option?

Bowing to Republican pressure, President Barack Obama’s administration signaled on Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system.

Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives instead of a government-run plan. Such a concession probably would enrage Obama’s liberal supporters but could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers.

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Obama: Health care reform will come

President Barack Obama, in an Op Ed in today’s New York Times, says health care reform will become a reality and predicts a legislative package will pass Congress soon.

"And over the past few weeks, much of the media attention has been focused on the loudest voices," the President writes. "What we haven’t heard are the voices of the millions upon millions of Americans who quietly struggle every day with a system that often works better for the health-insurance companies than it does for them."

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Gun critics dog Obama in parks

Family in tow for a tour of national treasures far from Washington, President Barack Obama is trailed by criticism from gun opponents and parks advocates for allowing firearms into such majestic places as this.

"There is still time for Congress and the president to take steps to keep loaded firearms away from the valleys of Yellowstone, the cliffs of Yosemite, and the Statue of Liberty — but they need to act quickly," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

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Obama returns to old campaign tactics

President Barack Obama is using political tactics and rhetorical devices honed in his White House campaign to regain the upper hand in the health care debate over increasingly vocal and organized critics.

In person and over the Internet, Obama is trying to counter intense public skepticism over Democratic plans to overhaul the health care system. It’s his top domestic priority and arguably his most challenging political fight yet.

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