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Posts Tagged ‘Cnn’

CBS News Defrauds America, Rigs Poll To Show Obama at 49% and Pelosi at 11%, Reid at 8%; CNN Shows Obama at 46%/51%, Proving CBS’s Fraud

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

CBS News Has Defrauded American by Manipulating its Polling Data to Show Much More Favorable Results for President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party

In a breathtaking display of journalistic and polling malpractice, CBS News tonight released a poll that substantially reversed its unweighted findings which showed an all-around collapse of Democratic poll ratings by manipulating the actual findings of its poll.   Amazingly, even with this untoward, obvious manipulation of the data obtained by the CBS News pollsters, the poll still showed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at 11% favorability/37% unfavorability [-26%], while Senate Leader Harry Reid clocked in at 8%/23% [-15%] and President Barack Obama at 49% approval/41% disapproval [+8%].    Here is the evidence of CBS News’s unforgivable manipulation of its polling data, with the unweighted numbers on the left and the “weighted” numbers on the right:

Total Respondents                     1059                                   1059
Total Republicans                      272 [25.7%]                     235   [-37, now  22.2%]
Total Democrats                         355 [33.5%]                    396   [+41, now 37.4%]
Total Independents                  432 [40.8%]                   428   [-4,  now 40.4%]

Incredibly, and in what must be the intentional placing of a thumb on the scales to avoid a shocking embarrassment of its favored President and Democratic Party, CBS News took its unweighted polling sample that had an 8% partisan ID edge for Democrats (which is a realistic finding compared to other polling, see below) and then “weighted” their data to show a completely fraudulent and unrealistic 15% partisan ID edge for Democratic voters over Republican ones – adding 7.4% to the partisan ID edge for Democratic voters.   Keep in mind that President Obama, at a time of record turnout for the Democratic base, a depressed GOP base and with independents breaking Obama’s way by double digits, won the 2008 election by only 7%.    Yet CBS is claiming tonight that the Democrats own a full 15.2% partisan ID edge over the Republicans amongst the American people, despite the indisputable slide in Obama’s popularity, as well as that of his party, since that historic election night.

No one in the polling community, other than CBS News, deigns to claim that this 15.2% partisan edge anything other than fantasy – even senior Democratic strategist James Carville’s left wing Democracy Corps polling shows only a 7% partisan ID edge for Democratic voters [38%-31%], while NBC/WSJ shows 9% partisan ID edge for Democratic voters [32%-23%] and Fox News’s polling shows just a 3% partisan ID edge for Democratic voters [40%-37%]. Based on those three, well-respected pollsters, CBS News’s unweighted data showing a 7.8% partisan ID edge for Democratic voters [33.5%-25.7%] appears to be a reasonable sample of the actual electorate in America.  For reasons known only to CBS News, they then decided to take that representative sample of the electorate and stand it on its head by essentially padding all the numbers in their polling by 7.4% in favor of President Obama and the Democratic Party by creating a fantasy-land 15.2% partisan ID edge for Democrats.

By doing this, CBS News was able to make the ridiculous claim that President Obama’s approval on the specific issue of health care is rising now:

Overall, Americans are critical of the President’s handling of health care, but his approval rating on this issue has risen in the last month. Now, 41% approve, up from 35% in February; but still more, 51%, disapprove. More people have disapproved than approved of the President’s handling of health care since November.

As shown above, CBS News claims that President Obama’s approval on health care policy has “risen” by 6% from 35% to 41% – yet their manipulation of the polling data via “weighting” actually shifted the numbers by 7.4% in President Obama’s favor, more than the alleged rise in President Obama’s health care approval. Regarding Obama’s overall approval, CBS News again claims that Obama is “up” from last month:

Americans’ rating of the overall job President Obama is up slightly from last month: 49% now approve, compared to 46% last month. President Obama’s approval rating has hovered at or slightly below 50% since December.

The 3% rise in Obama’s overall approval crowed about by CBS News, from 46% last month to 49% now, is also fully eviscerated by the intentional manipulation of the polling data engaged in by CBS News by “weighting” the partisan ID advantage to increase the Democratic advantage by 7.4%, from the unweighted 7.8% to the weighted 15.2%. Taking the unweighted data, President Obama actually lost a few points in approval this month, continuing his downward trend into the low to mid 40% range. By adding 7.4% to the partisan ID edge for Democrats, CBS News was able to obfuscate this continuing decline and actually claim that Obama’s approval was on the way “up”.

On the issue of health care reform, even with the manipulation of its data, CBS News reported that Americans oppose Obamacare by an 11 point margin, 37%-48%:

As the health care bill headed to its Sunday night vote in the House of Representatives, nearly half of Americans said they disapproved of it, while 37% approved. Among those opposed to the bill, a third strongly disapproved.

Of course, the results would look much worse if it were not for the addition of 7.4% to the Democratic partisan ID edge by CBS News’s disgraceful manipulation of its own polling data.

Did CBS News Anchor Katie Couric Trade Disgraceful Manipulation of CBS's Polling Data for Exclusive Access to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel over the weekend?

One possible explanation for this disgraceful behavior by the allegedly neutral CBS News is the access being provided to CBS News, and specifically to CBS anchor Katie Couric, by the leaders of the Democratic Party. Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, gave an exclusive interview to Couric over the weekend – a much sought-after interview that certainly helped CBS’s ratings. Trading access to prominent Democrats for intentional manipulation of polling data, as appears to be the case here, is serious journalistic malpractice and all objective, independent observers of American politics must immediately condemn CBS’s behavior.

One could possibly expect an avowed partisan like James Carville to engage in such misrepresentations of polling data, however, it is the allegedly neutral CBS News who has disgraced itself with its undeniable, and unforgivable, manipulation of its polling data. CBS News is trusted by millions of Americans to be an objective, neutral source for both the news of the day and polling data, and this disgraceful manipulation of its polling data, in exchange for exclusive access to Democratic leaders, surely undercuts any confidence Americans may have that CBS News is actually an objective source of information. The fact that the duty to expose CBS’s journalistic malpractice falls to a tiny centrist blog like this one is a sad commentary on the state of the American media today. Centrist and independent Americans can only hope that the rest of the establishment media investigates this undeniable manipulation of polling data by CBS News to determine if CBS did indeed rig its poll for access to White House officials.

UPDATE: CNN’s release of polling, over the same period as the CBS News sample, showing President Obama at 46%/51% approval conclusively proves that CBS News is guilty of intentional manipulation of its polling data to distort the actual preferences of the American electorate at this time.  Such behavior by CBS News calls into question its status as a news organization at all.   CNN’s polling:

For the first time, a CNN poll has found that a majority of Americans disapprove of President Obama’s job performance.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday, 51 percent of respondents disapprove of Obama’s job performance and 46 percent approve of it…

Obama’s approval rating has dropped steadily each month since December, when it was 54 percent. His highest approval rating in a CNN poll was 76 percent in February 2009 shortly after he took office.

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Will He or Won’t He? Bart Stupak Wavers as Obamacare Hangs in the Balance; UPDATE: The Hill Says Dems Do Not Have the Votes; UPDATE#2 Stupak Caves, Will Vote Yes, Obamacare Set to Pass

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Anti-Abortion House Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) Appears to Hold the Key Swing Votes that will Determine the Fate of the President's signature Obamacare Initiative

About a half an hour ago, MSNBC reported that anti-abortion House Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) had reached an agreement with President Obama regarding a promise to issue an executive order to eliminate all federal abortion funding in Obamacare and accordingly is now a yes vote. NBC’s tweet:

Anti-abortion leader Rep. Bart Stupak to vote for health care bill, increasing chances for passage – NBC

The wisdom of an ardently pro-life Democrat trusting the most pro-choice President in American history to rigidly enforce a ban on all federal funding of abortion via executive order is an open question. However, about 10 minutes later, CNN reported that Stupak himself had told a CNN producer that he is “still a no vote” for now and that negotiations were ongoing. CNN’s tweet:

Urgent — Rep. Stupak to CNN producer Lesa Jansen: “I’m still a no…There is no deal yet. Its a work in progress.”

Will the Democratic Blue Dogs End up being Obama's Lap Dogs and Push Through Obamacare?

As Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears to be a few votes short of her goal of 216 to pass Obamacare later today, the decision of Bart Stupak, which undoubtedly be followed by his 6 to 12 like-minded anti-abortion House Democrats, appears to be the determination that the entire Obamacare package will either rise or fall on. Another interesting tidbit was reported by the Drudge Report about an hour ago, quoting Pelosi, overheard on a cell phone, speaking to Dem. House Maj. Leader Steny Hoyer:

‘Steny, we have to get to 217. None of these members wants to be the deciding vote’

The day of Obamacare drama will continue to unfold in the hours to come, with a final up or down vote in the House likely sometime this evening, with no one really sure right now which way the vote will go. Here’s the likely schedule for today:

2 p.m.: The House will debate for one hour the rules of debate for the reconciliation bill and the Senate bill.

3 p.m.: The House will vote to end debate and vote on the rules of the debate.

3:15 p.m.: The House will debate the reconciliation package for two hours.

5:15 p.m.: The House will vote on the reconciliation package.

5:30 p.m.: The House will debate for 15 minutes on a Republican substitute and then vote on the substitute.

6 p.m.: The House will vote on the final reconciliation package.

6:15 p.m.: If the reconciliation bill passes, the House will immediately vote on the Senate bill, without debate.

UPDATE: Washington daily The Hill reports about 20 minutes ago that the Democrats do not yet have the votes, and in fact The Hill is reporting a total of 39 “NO” votes from Democrats on their whip count, enough to sink Obamacare. High drama with Stupak and others is sure to continue as Pelosi and Obama work feverishly to find the 3 or 4 votes they need:

Hours before a scheduled vote on healthcare reform, Democratic leaders don’t have the votes.

The decisions of two Tennessee Democrats, Reps. John Tanner and Lincoln Davis, to vote no has put President Barack Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her lieutenants in a major bind.

If every member votes, Democratic leaders can only afford 37 defections. According to The Hill’s whip list, there are 39 Democrats planning to vote no.

Furthermore, The Hill also has eight Democrats in the undecided/unclear column: Reps Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.), Paul Kanjorski (Pa.), Alan Mollohan (W.Va.), Earl Pomeroy (N.D.), Mike Quigley (Ill.), Bobby Rush (Ill.) and Loretta Sanchez (Calif.).

There have been various reports on Sunday that Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and other anti-abortion lawmakers have agreed to an abortion deal involving an executive order from the Obama administration. However, Stupak’s office are strongly denying those reports.

UPDATE #2: Bart Stupak just held a news conference on Capitol Hill and announced that he has reached a deal with President Obama to vote yes on the bill, despite Stupak’s condemnation of the very bill he is set to vote for because of the language in the Senate bill which allows federal funding of elective abortions. Of course, the President cannot override the very Senate language that Stupak is opposed to, making this “deal” with Stupak to create an executive order more about political cover and show than an actual policy change away from the present Senate language will clearly allows federal funding of abortions.

With Stupak’s reversal, the decks are now cleared for a gigantic Democratic victory today and the passage of perhaps the most significant legislation in decades – Obamacare – and a fundamental remaking of 20% of the United States’ economy.

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Obama Lies, Quotes Lincoln “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true”

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

President Barack Obama, pictured here at the House Democratic Caucus meeting today, implausibly claimed that after the passage of Obamacare, all Americans will keep their present health plans and doctors despite clear indications to the contrary

In his last speech before the historic vote on his Obamacare package in the House of Representatives set for tomorrow, President Barack Obama gave a speech to a members-only House Democratic caucus meeting today.   In his speech, the President sadly repeated many of the same lies and misrepresentations he made yesterday at George Mason, including his false claims that everyone can “keep their doctor” and “keep their plan” while also falsely asserting that Obamacare will be an “historic” deficit reduction bill.  Obama made these claims despite their debunking by even establishment media sources many months ago, and the CBO’s addendum to their scoring made public late yesterday that reports an addition to the deficit of $59 billion over the next 10 years from Obamacare once the “doctor fix” is factored in.

Despite making these misleading and explicitly false statements in his speech today, Obama recited an Abraham Lincoln quote about speaking the truth in his speech today, twice:

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true”

Apparently the establishment media has no interest in reporting on the explicit lies (you can keep your doctor, you can keep your health plan and Obamacare will be “historic” deficit reduction) repeated again by the President today, as the NYT, CNN, WaPo and the AP all focus on the rhetorical grandeur, the “history being made” and the “impassioned plea” in Obama’s speech to Democrats today while ignoring the substantively false claims made by the President.

Amazingly, none of the above-linked articles make any reference to the President’s claims that all Americans will be able to keep their doctor and keep their insurance after the passage of his reform plan; instead, the establishment media just completely ignores these explicitly false statements.

The Associated Press epitomizes the frenzied, wrongful efforts of the establishment media to cover for the explicit lies of the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats regarding Obamacare, printing this as if it is fact:

The sweeping legislation, affecting virtually every American and more than a year in the making, would extend coverage to an estimated 32 million uninsured Americans, forbid insurers to deny coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions and cut federal deficits by an estimated $138 billion over a decade.

Congressional analysts estimate the cost of the two bills combined would be $940 billion over a decade.

In repeating the explicitly false claims above, as made by Obama and the Democrats, the AP fails to mention the fact that the CBO admitted last night that Obamacare will actually add $59 billion to the deficit over 10 years when the pending “doctor fix” is enacted and further fails to mention that the CBO has also stated that at least $50 billion in additional funds will be required to administer Obamacare over 10 years after its passage, meaning Obamacare will add at least $109 billion to the deficit over the next decade. Sadly, that $109 billion in deficit spending resultant from Obamacare does not account for the many additional budget gimmicks used by the Democrats to entrench the false perception that the bill that creates over $100 billion a year in new federal entitlement spending will actually be an “historical” deficit reduction bill. Even the NYT’s Obama-loving (literally) columnist David Brooks listed the many ways the CBO score is explicitly rendered false by no less than seven Democratic “dodges” designed to game the CBO scoring process:

They’ve stuffed the legislation with gimmicks and dodges designed to get a good score from the Congressional Budget Office but don’t genuinely control runaway spending.

There is the doc fix dodge. The legislation pretends that Congress is about to cut Medicare reimbursements by 21 percent. Everyone knows that will never happen, so over the next decade actual spending will be $300 billion higher than paper projections.

There is the long-term care dodge. The bill creates a $72 billion trust fund to pay for a new long-term care program. The sponsors count that money as cost-saving, even though it will eventually be paid back out when the program comes on line.

There is the subsidy dodge. Workers making $60,000 and in the health exchanges would receive $4,500 more in subsidies in 2016 than workers making $60,000 and not in the exchanges. There is no way future Congresses will allow that disparity to persist. Soon, everybody will get the subsidy.

There is the excise tax dodge. The primary cost-control mechanism and long-term revenue source for the program is the tax on high-cost plans. But Democrats aren’t willing to levy this tax for eight years. The fiscal sustainability of the whole bill rests on the naïve hope that a future Congress will have the guts to accept a trillion-dollar tax when the current Congress wouldn’t accept an increase of a few billion.

There is the 10-6 dodge. One of the reasons the bill appears deficit-neutral in the first decade is that it begins collecting revenue right away but doesn’t have to pay for most benefits until 2014. That’s 10 years of revenues to pay for 6 years of benefits, something unlikely to happen again unless the country agrees to go without health care for four years every decade.

There is the Social Security dodge. The bill uses $52 billion in higher Social Security taxes to pay for health care expansion. But if Social Security taxes pay for health care, what pays for Social Security?

There is the pilot program dodge. Admirably, the bill includes pilot programs designed to help find ways to control costs. But it’s not clear that the bill includes mechanisms to actually implement the results. This is exactly what happened to undermine previous pilot program efforts.

All of the above-referenced “dodges” and gimmicks to obtain a good CBO score are based on publicly available information, yet nowhere in the establishment media can you find this information actually reported to rebut the ridiculously false claims by Obama and Democrats over the past few days that Obamacare will actually reduce the deficit and be “one of the biggest deficit-reduction plans in history.” The NYT yesterday even manages to lionize the CBO scoring as unimpeachable and nonpartisan while attacking those who dared to note some of the above-referenced dodges and gimmicks listed by Brooks. In short, the establishment media is allowing the President and the Democratic Party to use an explicit lie (Obamacare reduces the deficit) to sell their comprehensive plan to the American public without informing the public in any way of illusory basis for such claims. Such conduct is a true abdication of the 4th Estate’s role as a watchdog of the American government.

The Misinformation and Lies on Obamacare Presented by President Obama and Deemed by the Media as Truthful Remind Some of the World Described by George Orwell in his classic work, "1984"

Further, Obama concludes by claiming that Democrats must pass this bill for “the American people”:

“Help us fix this system,” Obama said. “Don’t do it for me. Don’t do it for Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid — do it for all those people out there who are struggling. . . . Do it for the American people. They’re the ones who are looking for action right now.”

Amazingly, the Washington Post and the other establishment media articles fail to note that CNN’s latest poll found 73% of Americans want Obama and the Dems to either stop or start over from scratch and only 25% are “looking for action right now.” Similarly, Fox News’s latest poll found that 64% want Obama and the Dems to stop or start over from scratch and only 30% are “looking for action right now.” Even the highly left-wing Kaiser Foundation’s latest poll shows that 56% of Americans want Obama and the Democrats to stop or start over, while 42% want to proceed to a vote now. All of the establishment media reporting also omits any reference to the fact that a full 80% of the American public are satisfied “with the quality of medical care available to them” in the much-reviled “status quo”. Based on these polls, it is impossible to claim with a straight face that passing Obamacare now is what the American people are looking for “right now” – yet this is exactly what Obama is saying, and the media simply cheers without retort, notwithstanding the indisputable facts noted above.

Finally, Obama today made the equally ridiculous claim that Obamacare “runs straight down the center of American political thought” and “is a middle of the road bill” and, again, no one in the media even bothers to rebut this claim with the obvious fact that the only bipartisan thing about Obamacare is the opposition to Obamacare, as at least 31 House Democrats are joining a unified Republican opposition to the bill. Sadly, facts such as these go unmentioned by the establishment media reports as they scurry to defend their hero President Obama as the final hours tick away before the all-important House vote on Obamacare.

When the 4th Estate (media) work so strenuously to support both the President and the Congress in an effort such as Obamacare, avoiding the reporting of any facts which could possibly hinder the Democratic effort to “remake one-sixth of the U.S. economy” while cheerleading every step of the way, the continued viability of the American political system moving forward can reasonably be questioned by centrists and independents as such coordinated misinformation brings to mind the world described by George Orwell in his classic work “1984”.  Should Obamacare pass the House and become law, years from now historians will review Obama’s speeches from yesterday and today and likely designate them as some of the most misleading speeches by an American President in the history of our country.

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Dem. Sen. Charles Schumer Calls for Wider Probe into Sharif Mobley as Ties to Terrorist Cleric al-Awlaki Disclosed

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) today became the first major US politician to speak out about the Sharif Mobley matter

With the disclosure of Mobley’s ties to al-Queda leader al-Awlaki today, calls continue to grow for a wider investigation into facts surrounding the arrest and subsequent escape attempt of American jihadist Sharif Mobley in Yemen.  Democratic Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) called for a wider probe:

(CNN) — A U.S. senator is calling for a federal probe into the system of background checks for employees at nuclear plants after learning that a suspected al Qaeda member from New Jersey worked at five such sites.

“We simply cannot tolerate at any time having someone with terrorist ties working at a nuclear plant, period,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said in a written statement Saturday.

“It seems like common sense but clearly we need to tighten up the system.”

Schumer’s comments focus attention on how an extremist like Sharif Mobley could have worked in US nuclear facilities and whether a more strigent background checks regime should be put into place.  Considering Mobley’s 2006 comments to acquaintence Ramon Castro to “Get the hell away from me, you Muslim killer!”, the fact Mobley passed a 2008 background check to allow him access to US nuclear facilities (according to PSE&G Nuclear spokesman Joe Delmar) is very troubling indeed.

Schumer’s comments may be an attempt by Democrats to get ahead of the story, something they failed to do in the case of the Christmas Day bomber.  If so, this is a wise move by Democrats, as they are also vulnerable to Republican demagoguery regarding Mobley as Mobley was previously a Democratic activist who was paid by former Democratic Governor Jon Corzine’s (D-NJ) campaign in 2005 to push Democratic turnout.

In the days to come, we can expect calls for disclosure of the use of prior US intelligence regarding Mobley, such as whether Mobley was on the “no fly” list or whether he was free to return to the United States prior to the public disclosure of his arrest. Another issue is the interrogation of Mobley, which obviously is of supreme importance right now, to determine if any plot against a US nuclear facility may be planned by Al-Queda and its extremist cleric leader in Yemen, al-Awlaki.   Similar to the failed Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, it was disclosed today that Sharif Mobley had ties to al-Awlaki while in Yemen. This case may draw parallels to the case of the Christmas Day bomber, who was also known to federal authorities yet allowed to board the transatlantic flight bound for Detroit that he unsuccessfully tried to bring down.

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Change: Obama Reverses March 18 Deadline, Delays Asia Trip for Obamacare

Friday, March 12th, 2010

President Barack Obama has now delayed his trip to Asia and backed off his March 18 deadline for House action on Obamacare

The AP has just reported that President Barack Obama is delaying his trip to Asia to focus on passing Obamacare, despite strong claims by the Obama Administration that a House of Representatives vote must occur by March 18.   Now, the AP reports that Obama will not leave until March 21, making the March 18 deadline inoperative. The latest reversal of an Obamacare deadline set by Obama or one of his top officials is another in a pattern of false deadlines set by the Administration starting last summer. In a prescient article, CNN points out yesterday that the now-inoperative deadline is one of many set by the Obama Administration:

Washington (CNN) — President Obama has set them — and they’ve repeatedly been missed.

But with Easter recess coming, Obama’s latest deadline to pass health care reform legislation could be his last one.

Over the summer, as the health care reform battle was brewing in Congress and at town hall meetings across the country, the president called on both the House and Senate to pass legislation by the end of August in order for a comprehensive bill to see its way to his desk by the end of the year.

That didn’t happen.

Congressional Democrats and the Obama Administration are now struggling to produce 216 votes in the House of Representatives for Obamacare. The latest procedural trick proposed by Democrats is “Amending a Ghost” by having the House create a “rule” that “assumes” the Senate bill has been passed by the House already, and then have the House members vote on changes to the Senate bill, not the Senate bill itself. Such procedural trickery is “unprecedented” in American history and the next few days will determine whether Democrats will push forward with the “Amending the Ghost” strategy or instead simply have an up or down vote on the Senate bill in the House.

UPDATE: NPR adds some details, including a tweet by Robert Gibbs, White House spokesman:

A “alert” from the Associated Press:

“Obama delaying Asia trip from March 18 to March 21 to work on health care.”

The president’s trip will take him to Indonesia and Australia. We’ll update this news as the story develops.

Update at 9:10 a.m. ET. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs just “tweeted” that:

“The President will delay leaving for Indonesia and Australia – will now leave Sunday – the First Lady and the girls will not be on the trip.”

Sunday must mean March 21.

This news is not exactly a surprise. As The New York Times’ The Caucus blog wrote yesterday, “with President Obama’s health care bill hanging in the balance, the White House is facing intensifying questions about whether Mr. Obama should take his planned trip to Indonesia and Australia next week.”

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Senior White House Advisor on Obamacare: “This is the last helicopter out of Saigon, OK?”; UPDATE: House Dem. Lipinski Flips to “No”

Monday, March 8th, 2010

President Barack Obama, seen here with two key advisors, is pushing House Democrats to vote for Obamacare using the line “This is the last helicopter out of Saigon, OK?”

As perhaps the final week in the Obama Administration’s year-long campaign to push Obamacare through Congress begins, a senior White House advisor, in comments to CNN contributor Gloria Borgen, compared intensified White House efforts to pass Obamacare through the House of Representatives to the involuntary evacuation of the American Embassy in Saigon in 1974:

BORGER: Velshi: All right, Gloria, how much of a hint is the president going to make? Or is it not going to be hinted? Is he going to say, “This is the compromise. If you can’t find it in yourselves to do it, to support this for Republicans, we’re going to get it through the Senate”?

Borger: Right. This isn’t going to be subtle at all today. I think this is it. I was speaking with one senior White House adviser just before I came on the air, and he said, think of it this way. This is the last helicopter out of Saigon, OK?

Velshi: Wow.

The Obama Administration’s use of this type of defeatist rhetoric and analogy in its final efforts to twist arms and force Democratic House members to vote for Obamacare this week and the disclosure of same to CNN is certainly another strange development in the year long debate. The WSJ’s take was to question whether these comments are foreshadowing of the chance that health care reform is becoming Obama’s Vietnam. Perhaps White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs will be asked at his press briefing today what exactly the Administration is saying by comparing their health care efforts to the horrific incident decades ago in Saigon.  The WSJ points out some media reaction from the BBC:

Mark Mardell, North American editor of the BBC, was watching and he blogged in response: “Fleeing a lost war is not the most optimistic metaphor for an adviser to adopt. And it still may go down in flames.”

Another House Democrat is bucking White House pressure on the Obamacare vote as well today, as new quotes from Democratic House member Dan Boren (D-OK) are becoming public:

“They can break my arms. They can do whatever they want to. They’ll never get my vote — ever. They’ll have to walk across my dead body if they want my vote on this issue.”
“there is no chance I am voting for this bill because it raises taxes on businesses, creates job-killing mandates, grows the size of government, and cuts services to seniors.”

Boren’s comments could be the most biting criticism from a present Democratic member of Congress to date. Combined with the Massa Disaster, the Saigon analogy and Boren’s comments create an unwelcome beginning of what could be the final week of the Obama Administration’s push to pass comprehensive health care reform through Congress.

UPDATE: Hotair points out the Weekly Standard’s reporting that former “yes” vote Democratic House Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) has flipped to a definite no:

Add Congressman Dan Lipinski of Illinois to the coalition of pro-life Democrats standing firmly with Bart Stupak in the fight over taxpayer-funding of abortion in the health care bill. Asked if the congressman is “open to voting for a health care bill that lacks the Stupak amendment,” Lipinski’s spokesman Nathaniel Zimmer replied in an email to THE WEEKLY STANDARD: “No. Congressman Lipinski will not vote for a health care bill that provides federal funding for abortion.”

In addition to Stupak and Lipinski, Congressman Jim Oberstar of Minnesota has said that he will not vote for the health care bill if it lacks the Stupak amendment: “I will not vote for a health care bill that doesn’t have the House abortion language in it,” Oberstar told Congressional Quarterly on February 24.

UPDATE#2: Hotair points out a Democratic Congressman who states that Pelosi has only 201 votes for Obamacare right now.

UPDATE#3: Weekly Standard’s John McCormack links over, thanks for the link John. Weekly Standard readers, please take a look around, leave a comment or two. Thanks.

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Hugo Chavez: Hillary = “blonde Condoleezza”

Friday, March 5th, 2010

President Barack Obama executes a friendly handshake with Hugo Chavez early in Obama's term

Hugo Chavez, the socialist strongman leader of Venezuela, has turned his rhetorical fire today on his favorite target: the United States of America.  Despite the hopes of many on the American left who publicly aligned with Hugo Chavez during the Bush years, the Venezuelan President has continued to virulently attack the United States during Obama’s tenure.  The latest Chavez outburst was directed at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, stating “To me, she’s like Condoleezza Rice … a blond Condoleezza” as reported an hour ago by Reuters:

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s President Hugo mocked U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday as a “blond” version of her predecessor, and said a row with Spain over alleged links with rebel groups was over.

Visiting Latin America this week, Clinton said the Obama administration’s policies towards the region were helping blunt the criticism of the United States by leftist leaders like Chavez.

“To me, she’s like Condoleezza Rice … a blond Condoleezza,” said the Venezuelan, referring to former U.S. president George W. Bush’s secretary of state, with whom he exchanged frequent harsh words at long-distance.

Citing comments by Clinton in Brazil, Chavez said she was proving to be equally aggressive. “She comes to Brazil to provoke us, to try and divide us from our brothers.”

Regarding US-Venezuelan relations as a whole, Chavez’s warm feelings toward President Obama appear to have peaked in September 2009, when he lavishly praised Obama at the UN, favorably comparing him with the “devil” Bush:

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) — Drawing on 2006 remarks in which he compared former U.S. President George Bush to the devil, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, speaking at the United Nations Thursday, said, “It doesn’t smell like sulfur anymore.”

In a rambling speech at the U.N. General Assembly, Chavez spoke highly of current President Obama, saying he is an “intelligent man” and comparing him to President John F. Kennedy.

Hugo’s prior love for Obama came to an abrupt end at the Copenhagen global warming summit in December 2009, where Chavez reversed course on Obama:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he “still” smelled sulfur after President Obama made a keynote speech at the Copenhagen climate conference Friday, accusing the American president of carrying the same satanic scent that Chavez believes followed Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush.

Former President Jimmy Carter buddies up with Venezeulan strongman Hugo Chavez

At Copenhagen, Chavez applied his bizarre satanic scent metaphor to Obama, as Chavez had done to Bush in 2006 and thereafter Chavez and other socialist leaders in Latin America have been turning against the once-welcomed Obama. Chavez’s attack on Hillary Clinton today serves as yet another reminder that some foreign leaders (like Chavez) dislike all of America’s leaders, and Americans would be better served by a unified political stance towards foreign powers instead of the present, highly partisan American foreign policy.

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Pelosi on ABC: Tea Party is “Astroturf, as Opposed to Grassroots”

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

On ABC's This Week today, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Again Attacks the Tea Party Movement as "Astroturf, as Opposed to Grassroots"

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears to be reading from the summer of 2009’s talking points, smearing the tea party movement as “directed” by the GOP and “astroturf, as opposed to grassroots” this morning on ABC in remarks taped earlier this week, echoing her remarks from the summer of 2009:

And Pelosi still believes Washington Republicans are trying to quietly influence the tea party movement through well-funded, fake grassroots organizations, referred to as “astroturf.”

“The Republican Party directs a lot of what the tea party does, but not everybody in the tea party takes direction from the Republican Party,” Pelosi said. “So there was a lot of, shall we say, Astroturf, as opposed to grassroots.”

And she said she’s not worried about the threat the movement present to her party.

“We’re fully prepared to face the American people with the integrity of what we have put forth, the commitment to jobs and health care and education and a world at peace and safe for our children and with the political armed power to go with it to win those elections,” she said.

Speaker Pelosi appears to be behind the times, even in liberal circles, as while her summer 2009 “astroturf” comments were backed by the mainstream media, in 2010 the media has shifted gears and reports on the tea party movement as an authentic grassroots movement, as in this AP article covering Sarah Palin’s speech at the tea party convention a few weeks back:

Her audience waved flags and erupted in cheers during multiple standing ovations as the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee gave the keynote address Saturday at the first national convention of the “tea party” coalition. It’s an antiestablishment, grass-roots network motivated by anger over the growth of government, budget-busting spending and Obama’s policies.

Palin’s 45-minute talk was filled with her trademark folksy jokes and amounted to a pep talk for the coalition and promotion of its principles.

An AP story this morning also outlines the Pelosi claim on ABC’s This Week that the tea party movement is not an authentic grassroots movement:

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is questioning whether the conservative “tea party” coalition truly represents a grass-roots movement.

In a broadcast interview, Pelosi calls tea party voters the “astroturf” movement. She says many of those voters have good intentions but that the Republican Party has hijacked the movement for its gain.

Speaker Pelosi is also forgetting the impact the tea party movement had in pushing the GOP to victories in Virginia, New Jersey and most recently Massachusetts, all of which occurred after her original “astroturf” comments in the summer of 2009. If the tea party movement actually was just an artificial, shallow creation of the GOP, and not a true, broad-based, grassroots movement, the surge in voting for GOP candidates since the tea party emerged probably would not have occurred. As tea party activists from all around America contributed to Scott Brown’s Massachusetts Senate election campaign, and when some even made the trek to Massachusetts to work in phone banks, knock on doors and plant signs all around Massachusetts, it is unreasonable to claim such a movement is artificial and fake as the facts simply do not support the claim.

Amazingly, despite smearing them as astroturf, Pelosi also claimed that the Democrats are on the side of the tea party movement at one point in the interview as well:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi believes the tea party movement shares a common enemy with Democrats — the entrenched special interests that feed money into the political system.

“We share some of the views of the tea partiers in terms of the role of special interest in Washington, D.C.,” Pelosi said in a taped interview airing Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “It just has to stop. And that’s why I’ve fought the special interest, whether it’s on energy, whether it’s on health insurance, whether it’s on pharmaceuticals and the rest.”

Perhaps Pelosi is not keeping up with the news, because Democratic President Barack Obama, not the GOP, made the backroom deal with Big Pharma, and others, and such backroom deals is a source of disgust to most tea party activists. Further, Obama also lined up almost all of the Fortune 500 behind his cap and trade plans, hardly evidence of Democrats fighting special interest influence. Pelosi also omits any reference to the Democratic kowtowing to unions, who after all are also special interest groups using big money in politics, and Obama most recently evidenced his undying allegiance to unions by placing a pure union political operative, SEIU boss Andy Stern, on his “bipartisan” deficit commission.

Finally, any claim that the Democrats and Obama are trying to combat special interest and big money influence was made inoperative by Obama’s appointment of Julianna Smoot as his White House Social Secretary in the wake of Desiree Rogers’ resignation in disgrace over the party crashers debacle. Julianna Smoot was the President’s chief fundraiser for Obama 2008, and as such was the main point of contact for Obama’s bundlers and big money donors. Now, as Social Secretary, Smoot is in charge of controlling access to the White House, which can only be seen as “good news for wealthy donors to President Obama’s campaign, for whom Smoot — the chief campaign fundraiser — is friend and point of contact.” Smoot also has close ties to convicted bigwig Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu as Hsu was “one of the most reliable donors from her tenure as finance chair for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.”

All told, Pelosi’s appearance today on This Week, with the renewal of the “astroturf” smear of the tea party movement, is unlikely to bolster Democratic fortunes in the short term or in the November 2010 election. While Pelosi puts on a brave face and declares the Democrats will retain their majority in the November 2010 elections, the continued smears of America’s most vibrant political movement as of today will probably move the needle in the opposite direction.

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CNN: Dems got 70% of Speaking Time; David Gergen on GOP: “Best Day They’ve Had in Years”

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

At Today's Health Care Summit, President Barack Obama Alone Spoke for More Time (122 Minutes) than All Republicans Combined (111 Minutes) While Other Democrats Racked Up Another 135 Minutes Today, According to CNN

CNN reports that the Democrats used 70% of the overall speaking time, more than double (257 minutes) the speaking time afforded to the Republicans (111 minutes), as the GOP speakers came in at under two hours of total time while the Democrats totaled over four hours.   CNN reports its findings on speaking time at the Health Care Summit:

Washington (CNN) – Thursday’s health care summit at Blair House was billed as an opportunity for members of both parties to share their proposals for reform, but one party had far more time to put forth their ideas.

A CNN analysis of the meeting shows that Democrats – including President Obama, who helmed the meeting – were granted more than twice the amount speaking time as Republicans.

Democrats spoke for a total of 135 minutes while President Obama spoke for 122 minutes, for a total of 257 minutes. Republicans, meanwhile, spoke for just 111 minutes, about 30 percent of the total speaking time.

The lack of equal time was an issue early in the health care summit when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) complained about the lack of balance in speaking time and Obama quipped that his speaking time “doesn’t count” towards the equal division of time “because I’m the President”.  That dustup between McConnell and Obama over equal time at the summit may form part of the media narrative in the post-summit environment.

CNN’s David Gergen, a centrist who has advised four Presidents of both parties, had glowing praise for the GOP, stating that today was the “best day they’ve had in years” and explained that the various claims that the GOP had no ideas or policy knowledge were put to rest today as new blood in the GOP, such as House Rep. Paul Ryan, performed very well in the debates with Obama and the Democrats. Gergen concluded his remarks by stating that while the Democrats had done better in the afternoon, the GOP “evened the score and kept it even.” If mainstream media coverage follows the lead of centrist analysts like Gergen, the health care summit may end up being the day that Obamacare died but for the time being Democrats have set a new deadline for passing Obamacare by the end of March.

NOTE: CNN has updated their numbers on the minutes for each party, and that update was reflected in changes to this article.

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Health Care Summit Ends with No Bipartisan Deal

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

The Head Table at the Health Care Summit Today, Which Ended With Little Hope of a Bipartisan Deal on Centrist Health Care Reform

Over six hours of debate and discussion between Republicans and Democrats, with Democratic President Barack Obama moderating and commenting frequently, ended just now with little indication that a deal between the GOP and Obama over health care reform is forthcoming.   Obama himself stated that he is unsure that “gaps can be bridged.” The parties essentially talked past each other for hours, reciting their respective scripted commentary and talking points regarding health care reform, with the GOP generally favoring a smaller, incremental health care plan while the Democrats favored a large, comprehensive health care plan.

Media reaction has been generally favorable for all involved, with an interesting surge in praise for the Republican performance from mainstream news sources such as CNN and MSNBC.   For instance, CNN’s centrist commenter David Gergen, who has advised four Presidents from both parties, stated as follows this afternoon:

CNN’s DAVID GERGEN: “The folks in the White House just must be kicking themselves right now. They thought that coming out of Baltimore when the President went in and was mesmerizing and commanding in front of the House Republicans that he could do that again here today. That would revive health care and would change the public opinion about their health care bill and they can go on to victory. Just the opposite has happened.(CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

CNN’s left-leaning commentator Gloria Borgen also praised the GOP’s performance, stating that “the Republicans have been very effective today. They really did come to play. They were very smart.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10). Considering the scolding the GOP took after the last live-TV encounter with Obama at the House Republican retreat from the media, such positive reactions are surprising but indicative of a much more polished and substantive performance by the GOP today. Another commentator, centrist reporter A.B. Stoddard from The Hill, also had kind words for the GOP:

THE HILL’S A.B. STODDARD: “I think we need to start out by acknowledging Republicans brought their ‘A Team.’ They had doctors knowledgeable about the system, they brought substance to the table, and they, I thought, expressed interest in the reform. I thought in the lecture from Senator John McCain and on the issue of transparency, I thought today the Democrats were pretty much on their knees.” (Fox News’ “Live,” 2/25/10)

Ace rounds up analysis from conservative journalists who argue that the GOP “suckered” Obama into believing they were lifeless dupes at the House Republican Retreat encounter, and that Obama’s skills did not mesh well with the negotiated format today. Obama also appeared to be the lone effective Democratic participant, with other Democrats focusing more on anecdotal stories about individual health care stories instead of doing the hard work of defending and selling the legislative language.

In what may become the most memorable exchange of today’s affair, GOP House Leader John Boehner sparred with President Obama over why the Administration would not accept a bipartisan deal over incremental health care reform legislation on issues such as medical malpractice reform, insurance reforms and the allowance of interstate competition between insurance companies. Obama responded in non-committal fashion as follows:

“John, you know, the challenge I have here, and this has happened periodically, is every so often we have a pretty good conversation trying to get on some specifics and then we go back to the standard talking points that Democrats and Republicans have had for the last year and that doesn’t drive us to an agreement on issues.”

All day long, the Democrats attempted to downplay the issue of the use of reconciliation, as epitomized by Harry Reid’s obviously untruthful statement that “nobody is talking about reconciliation” in his opening comments. Obama also danced around the issue, asserting that the American people are not that interested in the “procedures inside the Senate”:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “You know, this issue of reconciliation has been brought up. Again I think the American people aren’t always all that interested in procedures inside the Senate. I do think they want a vote on how we’re going to move this forward.” (President Obama, Health Care Summit, 2/25/10)

Obama’s comments run counter to several polls released in the last few days, including Fox’s finding that 59% reject moving forward with Obama’s Health Plan unless a deal is reached with the GOP and Gallup’s finding that 52% of the American public reject the use of reconciliation by the Senate to pass Obamacare, while only 39% are in favor.

Nancy Pelosi’s final speaking period was marked by a sour note of attacks on John Boehner (about abortion funding in the Senate bill) and Dave Camp (about the over $400 Billion in Medicare cuts), repeating herself several times while claiming both GOP congressmen were essentially liars.

Obama’s closing argument focused initially on advocacy of strong new federal regulation of insurance companies with a sprinkling in of references to anecdotal stories of individual health outcomes. Obama also defended the national exchange idea as “not a government takeover” but failed to mention that all policies offered on the exchange would have to meet stringent federal benefits requirements and report to a new federal bureaucracy.

Another theme Obama returned to several times was his claim that his plan would provide coverage to all Americans along similar lines as Congress receives, which is a dubious claim at best considering the gold-plated nature of Congressional members’ health care coverage On selling insurance across state lines, Obama agreed in principle with GOP ideas there but his “philosophical concern” with that proposal is a “race to the bottom” that Obama claimed would result if interstate insurance sales were allowed. Obama again stressed his “pilot programs” for medical malpractice, however, as former Kansas Trial Lawyer Association Chief and now HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in charge of the effort, it is unlikely to make a serious dent in trial lawyer profits.

Obama continued in his concluding remarks by claiming that he put forward “substantial” policies that were previously put forward by Republicans, used the term “Obamacare” to refer to the comprehensive health care plan and discussed the “fair share” that employers must pay via the new employer taxes in Obamacare, while repeating that his plan is “consistent with a market based approach.” Obama then claimed that his Medicare cuts are a “Republican idea” and stated that “he will end by stating” that “I suspect that if the Democrats and the Administration were willing to start over and then adopt John Boehner’s bill, we’d get a whole bunch of Republican votes. I don’t know how many Democrat votes we’d get….the concern…on the Democratic side…after five decades of dealing with this issue, starting over, they suspect, means not doing much.” Obama then tweaked Republicans to “do a little soul searching” to find the inner strength to support his plans, and then quickly stated that “I dont know frankly if we can close that gap.”

Obama then moved towards the end of his final remarks with more anecdotes about how folks he talks to don’t want him to wait and that they can’t “afford to wait another five decades.” Obama partially recognized the unpopularity of his health plans by stating “I dont need a poll to know that most of Republican voters are opposed to this bill” and regarding the GOP’s demand to start over, “if we saw significant [GOP] movement, then you wouldn’t need to start over because essentially everyone here knows what the issues are.” The President than set a “a month or six weeks” deadline for additional talks with the GOP and implied that without progress by then, the President would proceed to attempt to push the present version of the Obama Health Plan through Congress and after that have the People decide via elections. On the way out the door, Obama told reporters it was a “terrific conversation” today. Politico sums up the summit as follows:

Thursday’s health care summit wound down with President Barack Obama making clear he couldn’t sign on to the Republican plan for reform, wouldn’t abandon reconciliation and had no intention of scrapping his own plan – capping the six-plus-hour session with a dig at Republicans for pitching a bill that covers just a fraction of the uninsured.

“Those steps don’t get you to the place people need to go,” Obama said of the Republican plan.

Republicans said the same thing in their closing comments that they said at 10 a.m. – start over. Obama won’t.

So the parties walked out of Blair House almost exactly the way they walked in – completely at odds over the best way to fix the health insurance system. That means Democrats are almost certain to go ahead with plans to short-circuit Senate rules to try to pass the bill with a 51-vote majority, as early as next week.

In the post-summit environment, it appears that Obama did not score a huge victory that many claimed he needed to keep the Administration’s plan to pass the Senate bill through the House and then pass another Senate bill via reconciliation to “fix” the problems with the prior Senate bill. Politico and others are reporting that Obama intends to discard any pretense of bipartisanship early next week and work on pushing Obamacare through both houses of Congress. The WSJ and others are reporting that Obama intends to scale back his present $950 Billion Dollar plan to a $250 Billion Dollar plan in the wake of the summit in order to get a win of some kind on health care. Furthermore, Obama appeared to set a new deadline by the end of March for passing a deal with the GOP before passing Obamacare via reconciliation.. The next few days are sure to be exciting as the fate of the Democratic attempt to pass the largest health care bill in American history hang in the balance.

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