Archive for December, 2009

Obama Plans for Health Care

December 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Obama Plans for Health Care Delay, New Jobs Bill

Author: Mike Allen & Alexander Trowbridge

Source: Politico, December 23rd, 2009 9:25am EST, Obama Plans for Health Care Delay, New Jobs Bill, Retrieved on December 23rd, 2009 from

The White House privately anticipates health care talks to slip into February — past President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address — and then plans to make a “very hard pivot” to a new jobs bill, according to senior administration officials.

Obama has been told that disputes over abortion and the tight schedule are highly likely to delay a final deal, a blow to the president, who had hoped to trumpet a health care victory in his big speech to the nation. But he has also been told that House Democratic leaders seem inclined, at least for now, to largely accept the compromise worked out in the Senate, virtually ensuring he will eventually get a deal.

Internally, White House aides are plunging into a 2010 plan calling for an early focus on creating jobs, especially in the energy sector, along with starting a conversation about deficit reduction measures, the administration officials said.

Both will be major themes for his first State of the Union speech, which will most likely take place on Jan. 26 or Feb. 2. White House aides are in the early stages of planning for the national address, but Obama will not only trumpet what he has described as his “B-plus” performance in 2009 but also set the stage for the 2010 congressional campaigns.

Obama and Democrats seem in agreement that they want to minimize the number of tough votes moderates in their party must take in the aftermath of the health care debate. They also seem in agreement that a jobs bill is a must — and that they need to show a serious commitment to reducing the deficit, a very difficult task after racking up record spending in Obama’s first year.

The first order of business will be getting a health care deal, which Obama and Democrats see as inevitable. The White House is working closely with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leading liberals to make sure the House does not push for significant changes to the compromise worked out in the Senate. This will force House Democrats, who often feel slighted by all the attention and influence the Senate gets, to swallow a compromise it did not write or advocate.

Logistically, it’s hard to see how this gets done before early to mid-February. The House comes back into session on Jan. 12 and then goes on a Democratic retreat. The Senate doesn’t come back until Jan. 18. And once a final health deal is worked out, it could take seven to 10 days for the Congressional Budget Office to deliver a final report on cost.

“I think we should be in a place by the State of the Union where the issues are being resolved and it’s just a matter of time,” a senior administration official said.

White House aides are planning an intense focus on the economy and jobs at the beginning of the year. And an aide said Obama will be “very prescriptive” about measures he wants from Congress.

The plans were telegraphed in a speech the president delivered at the Brookings Institution on Dec. 8, with an emphasis on infrastructure improvements, green jobs and small-business incentives for hiring and investment.

All that will fit into a middle-class agenda that the White House hopes will give the country a psychological lift, even before jobs numbers rebound.

Key elements of the plans outlined at Brookings:

— Help small businesses by building on tax cuts in the stimulus bill, including the “complete elimination” of the capital gains taxes on small-business investment. Obama also wants to extend write-offs to encourage small businesses to expand. And he wants to help small businesses get loans by waiving fees and increasing guarantees for Small Business Administration-backed loans as well as continuing to mobilize bailout funds to facilitate lending to small businesses.

— Boost infrastructure by modernizing transportation and communications networks.

— Create environment-oriented jobs by pressuring Congress to start a program with incentives for consumers to retrofit their homes and expanding select stimulus initiatives to promote energy efficiency and clean energy jobs.

Also in the State of the Union address, Obama will discuss his views about the deficit and some of the things he’s going to do to address it over the midterm and long term.


Clinton Urges Passage of Senate Health Care Bill

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Clinton Urges Passage of Senate Health Care Bill

Author: Associated Press – WASHINGTON

Source:, Thursday, December 17th, 2009, Clinton Urges Passage of Senate Health Care Bill, Retrieved on December 17th, 2009 from

Former President Bill Clinton says failure to pass a health care bill now would be a “colossal blunder” for the Democratic Party and the nation’s economy.

In a statement, Clinton rebuffed calls from Howard Dean and other liberals to kill the Senate bill. He said that while the legislation doesn’t contain everything everyone wants, “America can’t afford to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Take it from someone who knows, these chances don’t come around every day. ”

He alluded to his own failed effort to overhaul health care in the early 1990s. He said the country is at a crossroads and inaction would lead to more uninsured Americans, higher premiums, bigger federal deficits and crippling health costs.

‘News Watchers’ Give Clinton High Marks

December 20, 2009 Leave a comment

‘News Watchers’ Give Clinton Highest Marks in Obama’s Administration

Author: Bruce Drake

Source: Politics Daily, Posted: 12/16/09, ‘News Watchers’ Give Clinton Highest Marks in Obama’s Administration, Retrieved December 16th, 2009 from

Here’s a different twist on polling. The Clarus Research Group conducted a poll Dec. 7-12 that homed in on “news watchers,” people who follow the news closely or very closely. It found, when those surveyed were asked to rate Obama administration officials, that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton topped the list, which included the president himself.

Clinton got a job approval rating that was 75 percent positive compared to 21 percent negative, which included positive marks from 57 percent of Republicans.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates was second with a 69 percent to 20 percent ratio. Obama trailed them at 51 percent to 45 percent.

Lessons from Clinton

December 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Lessons from Clinton

Author: Political Wire

Source: Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, December 10, 2009, Lessons from Clinton, Retrieved December 10th, 2009 from

Matt Cooper reviews The Clinton Tapes by Taylor Branch and concludes that Bill Clinton was a more principled politician than he’s given credit for being.

In addition, the book is “is more than just a portrait of a president in real time. It is a stark reminder of other facets of Washington life that haven’t changed since the Clinton era, particularly the capacities of a right-wing message machine and a unified GOP bloc in Congress. It may be less potent than it was in the days of Whitewater, but it certainly still exists. The book also reminds us of the sheer limits faced by Democratic presidents who must clean up after Republican messes and try to corral their own atomized party. The insights here are as useful for understanding the Obama years as they are the Clinton years, and one hopes David Axelrod or others around the President find the time to thumb through a copy.”

Categories: Current Events, News Feed Tags: ,

Clinton Backs Coakley

December 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Clinton Backs Coakley

Author: Political Wire

Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, December 7th, 2009, Clinton Backs Coakley in Massachusetts, Retrieved on December 7th 2009 from

With voters heading to the polls in Massachusetts tomorrow to select U.S. Senate nominees in a special election, Bill Clinton has endorsed Martha Coakley (D) in a robocall used to target Democratic primary voters, the Boston Globe reports.

The Fix: “Clinton’s support is consistent with his recent pattern of rewarding political loyalty — Coakley was an early endorser of then Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid. Bill Clinton is the most high profile endorser to make his preference known in the special and his support of Coakley may well be aimed at stifling any last minute momentum for Rep. Mike Capuano who was endorsed by former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis and Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey over the past week.”

Categories: Current Events, News Feed Tags: ,

Obama: Jobs News

December 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Obama: Jobs News ‘modestly encouraging’

Author: CNN – Schnecksville, Pennsylvania

Source:, December 4th, 2009 6:04 p.m. EST, Obama: Jobs News ‘modestly encouraging’, Retrieved December 4th 2009 from

Schnecksville, Pennsylvania (CNN) — President Obama on Friday praised the latest jobs figures that show a drop in the U.S. unemployment rate from 10.2 percent to 10 percent in November.

“I want to do something I haven’t had a chance to do that often during my first year in office, and that is to share some modestly encouraging news on our economy,” he told a crowd composed largely of students from Lehigh Carbon Community College.

Official remarks released in advance by the White House did not include the word “modestly.”

Noting that the latest jobs report is the country’s best since December 2007 — which economists say marked the start of the recession — the president added, “This is good news, just in time for the season of hope.”

But he added that “we still have a long way to go” and that one job lost is “one job too many.”

“The journey from here will not be without setbacks or struggles,” the president said. “But the direction is clear. When you think about how this year began, today’s report is a welcome sign that there are better days ahead.”

The president’s trip to Pennsylvania was part of what the White House is billing as a “listening tour” on the topic of jobs. It comes on the heels of a summit the president held Thursday at the White House with leaders from various sectors of the economy.

“We had frank discussions about a variety of ideas that helped refine our thinking,” Obama told the crowd Friday.

His remarks followed a visit to Allentown Metal Works, a local factory that has struggled for years, particularly in what Obama called the “brutal recession.”

In an exchange that drew laughter from the crowd, Obama took a question from a second-year student who said he has been studying criminology.

“I was wondering if, maybe, if you checked out some of the statistics about legalizing prostitution, gambling, drugs and nonviolent crime in order to stimulate some of the economy,” the student said.

“That will not be my jobs strategy,” Obama responded, smiling.

But he praised the “boldness” of the question. “Part of what you’re supposed to do in college is question conventional wisdom. And so you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, which is, you know, thinking in new ways about things,” he said.

Watch the exchange with the student

The president then launched into an extensive explanation of his view of jobs and the shape of the U.S. economy.

Another man asked about the Post-9/11 GI Bill, saying that he is eligible but has not received benefits from it and has not heard back from the Department of Veterans Affairs despite having called the agency repeatedly.

Obama vowed to follow through on his campaign commitment “to whip the VA into shape” and said that his own grandfather’s college education was funded by the GI Bill.

He added, “You shouldn’t have to make a phone call. You should be able to get online. That would be more efficient. … The fact that you’re having to make the call tells me that we have not fully upgraded our information systems yet the way they need to be upgraded.”

And, he joked, “You went straight to the top here, so I suspect somebody will be calling you on your cell phone in about two seconds.”

Categories: Current Events, News Feed Tags: ,

Clinton’s Favorite Thinkers

December 4, 2009 Leave a comment

Clinton’s Favorite Thinkers

Author: Political Wire

Source: Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, December 3rd, 2009, Clinton’s Favorite Thinkers, Retrieved December 3rd, 2009 from

In an interview with Foreign Policy, former President Bill Clinton gives his recommendations for the “smartest, most penetrating” thinkers.

In addition to three New York Times columnists — Paul Krugman, David Brooks and Tom Friedman — Clinton notes Malcolm Gladwell “has become quite important. The Tipping Point was a very good observational book about what happened and how change occurred. But I think his last book, Outliers, is even more important for understanding how we all develop and for making the case that even for people we view as geniuses, life is more of a relay race than a one-night stand by a one-man band or a one-woman band. I thought it was a truly exceptional book.”

Clinton also names Robert Wright, “the guy who wrote The Evolution of God, The Moral Animal, and the book he wrote in the middle, which had a huge effect on me as the president, Nonzero.”