September 13th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Will health care reform become more popular like W.H. says?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Months after President Obama's health care reform became law, the White House is still hoping voters will learn to like it. This may be wishful thinking.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/09/13/art.hospital.jpg caption=""]
David Axelrod, the president’s senior adviser, said on “Meet the Press,” "I think that health care, over time, is going to become more popular," adding that right now people are focused and anxious about the economy. Unless I missed something, health care costs are part of everyone's "personal economy."

The fact is the health care issue is so unpopular with voters that not a single Democratic candidate is promoting the law in their campaign ads. A recent Wall Street Journal column asked "Who's ObamaCare's Daddy?" It suggested that even liberals are now denying paternity of the law.

Some Republicans are vowing to repeal it if they gain control of Congress.

And it's not hard to find reasons why the president's signature issue is unpopular. During the long health care debate, the president told voters over and over the law would bring down rising health care costs and save them money.

So far, that's not happening. An analysis from Medicare shows health care costs will increase through 2019 as a result of the law.

Last week at his news conference, Obama seemed to back off a bit from his earlier claims, saying he never expected to extend insurance coverage to 31 million people "for free." The White House insists that over the long term costs will go down. But apparently not until costs go up some more.

Here’s my question to you: The White House says health care reform will become more popular. Do you agree?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health care • White House
June 18th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

White House: Cable news not 'where all of real America lives'

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Traditionally there's not much love lost between any White House and the media.

And so it was this week:
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/18/art.gibbs.jpg caption=" White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs"]
Almost two months into the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, Pres. Obama addressed the American people from the Oval Office about the Gulf oil spill.

And his speech got panned... pretty much everywhere... including MSNBC which usually just loves anything this president does.

They said the president wasn't specific enough and didn't appear to show that he was in charge. They were absolutely right. The speech was weak.

The next day in the White House briefing room - Mr. Obama's Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, was asked about the drubbing his boss took. Reporters wanted to know what Gibbs thought about cable news critics who said the president is being too hands-off when it comes to the oil crisis.

Gibbs responded:

"I appreciate the hand on the pulse of America by those who live on cable TV. I don't actually think that is where all of real America lives."

Gibbs also said that if Mr. Obama had decided to run for president based on what the pundits were saying a year before the primaries started... he would still be in the Senate.

Meanwhile despite all the talk about the president's speech and the criticism that followed... it was the second least-watched Obama speech ever. The audiences for his speeches are beginning to mirror his job approval ratings.

Here’s my question to you: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says cable news is not "where all of real America lives." Is he right?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


March 1st, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Too much 'Chicago' in the White House?


The Chicago skyline along Lake Michigan. (PHOTO CREDIT: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama needs to go "Chicago-style" on health care if he wants to get his signature legislation through Congress.

Al Hunt writes for Bloomberg News that the president hasn't been tough enough in pushing for the things he wants:

"That's not the Obama style; he tends to be patient, persistent, sometimes charming; although from Chicago, he doesn't practice the arm-twisting politics the city is known for."

Hunt goes on to say that when it comes to health care reform, time is not on the president's side. Actually - he's only got a few weeks - since the bill needs to pass before Congress goes on spring break at the end of the month.

And, Hunt writes that Mr. Obama will need to use "forceful persuasion" in order to get wavering Democrats in the House and Senate on board. Meanwhile this call for the president to use more "Chicago-style" tactics comes as critics charge the White House is loaded with too many Chicago insiders.

Almost all of the president's inner circle hails from Chicago - including chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, top advisers David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, and of course, First Lady Michelle Obama.

Some blame the paralysis in Washington now on the so-called Chicago mafia, saying they don't have enough experience to govern at the executive branch level. And that they're not listening to what the American people want.

In particular, many fingers are pointed at Emanuel, known as "Rahmbo" - saying he's gone too far with his abrasive manner and cursing.

Here’s my question to you: Is there too much "Chicago" in the White House?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: President Barack Obama • White House
December 3rd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Does W.H. owe explanation about how couple crashed state dinner?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Congress isn't satisfied with the answers they're getting when it comes to the White House "crashers."
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/03/art.salahis.gi.jpg caption="The Salahis are under investigation for allegedly crashing a White House state dinner."]
The Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says the country is lucky the breach didn't end in a "night of horror." Congressman Bennie Thompson says they still need to talk to the Salahis - who attended the State Dinner without invitations - and to White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers. All three of them refused to appear to today's hearing. Thompson says he's directing the panel to prepare subpoenas for the Salahis.

Republicans are accusing the White House of "stonewalling" in not letting Rogers appear. They want to subpoena her too.

The White House cites separations of power, saying there's a history of White House staff not testifying before Congress; and Senior aide Valerie Jarrett insists there's no need for Rogers to testify because "we think we've really answered the questions fully." Really?

As for the "crashers" – their publicist says they've already provided the committee with information and that there's nothing else they can do to help the inquiry. They claim they broke no laws... and are chalking the whole thing up to "honest misunderstandings and mistakes" made by all parties.

Meanwhile the head of the Secret Service, who did bother to show up at today's hearing, acknowledged mistakes were made - but insisted that the president was never at risk. He suggested that normal procedures were not followed.

After its own review - the White House says at future official events, they'll make sure staff are stationed alongside secret service agents to screen guests

Here’s my question to you: Does the White House owe an explanation about how two people crashed a state dinner?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: White House
November 30th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Reality TV gone too far when it comes to W.H. 'crashers'?


President Obama greets Michaele Salahi at last week's state dinner. Turns out Salahi wasn't invited. (WHITE HOUSE PHOTO)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The White House "crashers" are just the latest example of why reality TV may have entered dangerous territory.

Michaele and Tareq Salahi made it past Secret Service and inside the White House for President Obama's first state dinner without being invited. They met the President and the Vice President.

President Obama insists he still has "full confidence" in the ability of the Secret Service to protect his family. But the agency has said it's "deeply concerned and embarrassed" - as it should be.

Some lawmakers want criminal charges brought against the couple. That's an excellent idea.

There are reports the couple wants in the neighborhood of half a million dollars for an interview about their story. They deny it.

And the couple is being considered for the cast of the reality TV show "The Real Housewives of D.C." They had television cameras following them around the day of the state dinner.

Another grab at 15 minutes of fame by people who would live their entire lives unnoticed otherwise. Remember the Colorado father of the so-called "Balloon Boy?"

This loser was trying to get media attention for his own reality show when he made up a story about his six-year-old son being carried away in a home-made helium balloon. He agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge.

Reality TV has given these people the idea that anyone can be a celebrity - and some are committing dangerous, and potentially criminal acts, just to get on the tube.

And to think it all started with a fat, naked guy wading around in the water looking for fish on a CBS program called "Survivor." In retrospect, it seems pretty harmless.

Here’s my question to you: Has reality television gone too far when it comes to the White House "crashers"?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Media Coverage • White House
November 10th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

White House vs. CBS on Afghanistan troop increase?

Call it CBS News versus the White House.

CBS reports that President Obama intends to give General Stanley McChrystal most - if not all - of the 40,000 troops he's asking for in Afghanistan. They say the president has tentatively decided to send four combat brigades plus thousands of more support troops.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/10/art.mcchrystal.jpg caption="General Stanley McChrystal is the U.S. Military commander in Afghanistan."]
According to CBS, the troop buildup would last for about four years - until the Afghan military doubles in size. This surge would mean the number of U.S. troops would grow from the current 68,000 to about 100,000 by the end of the president's first term.

But the White House insists the CBS story is false. They call reports that the president has made a decision about Afghanistan "absolutely false." They say Mr. Obama still hasn't received or reviewed "final options" with his national security team.

So - who's telling the truth here? It comes down to the word of the Obama White House against the network of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite.

Of course... CBS News also saw Dan Rather step down in 2005 after apologizing for a report that questioned President George W. Bush's National Guard service. Rather said the report was based on false documents.

Meanwhile the Associated Press seems to support the CBS story, saying President Obama is nearing a decision to add tens of thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan - but not the 40,000 that McChrystal wants.

Some officials dub that likely troop increase McChrystal Light since it would fall short of the general's request.

Here’s my question to you: CBS News says nearly 40,000 additional troops will be sent to Afghanistan. The White House says the story is false. Whom do you believe?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Afghanistan • US Military • White House
October 28th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Special White House access for big Democratic contributors?


President Obama is pictured golfing on Martha's Vineyard back in August. (PHOTO CREDIT: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama promised to be different - but he's not.

The Washington Times reports that the president has been giving top Democratic contributors special access to the White House. Internal Democratic National Committee documents show this includes everything from private briefings with top administration officials - to invitations to big speeches and town hall meetings - to golfing with the president in Martha's Vineyard - to birthday visits to the Oval Office... plus bowling and movies at the White House.

Remember the hell President Clinton caught when we found out he was letting contributors sleep in the Lincoln bedroom?

Handing out goodies to big money contributors just ahead of the midterm elections flies in the face of all of that high-minded rhetoric about reform, lobbyists, transparency etc. that we heard during the campaign. You can buy access to this president for $30,400 as an individual or for bundling $300,000.

The White House insists President Obama has set the "toughest ethics standards in history" and they say many of these guests weren't only fundraisers, but personal friends of the president. Whatever they are - it smacks of selling access to the highest office in the land in exchange for political donations, and it stinks.

Democratic Party officials say there's "absolutely no correlation" between fundraising and attending White House events, and insist Mr. Obama's efforts to reward major donors are on a far smaller scale than other recent presidents.

Here’s my question to you: Should big Democratic contributors be given special access to the White House?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Democrats • White House
October 19th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Is it a good strategy for the White House to go after Fox News?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/10/16/beck.dunn/art.dunn.gi.jpg
caption="White House communications director Anita Dunn has called Fox News an arm of the Republican Party."]
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Obama White House may have started another war it can't win.

On yesterday's Sunday talk shows - Senior Adviser David Axelrod said of Fox News, "It's not really news. It's pushing a point of view.” And he asked that other news organizations not treat Fox like it's news.

The president's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, also said Fox is "not a news organization so much as it has a perspective."

This all started when White House communications director Anita Dunn called Fox an arm of the Republican Party and said the Obama administration would treat the cable news network as they would an "opponent."

Dunn is now in a dust-up with Fox News' Glenn Beck, concerning a speech where she quoted Communist leader Mao Tse Tung. Beck calls that "insanity."

There is also a January video of Ms. Dunn where she talks about how the Obama campaign controlled the news media. She says they went around the "filter" of the news media and spoke directly to the American people. Actually, a lot of the time they did.

Fox News says the White House "continues to declare war" on them instead of focusing on critical issues like jobs, health care and two wars.

And they have a point. It could be said that bickering with Fox News is a waste of valuable time and energy that could be better spent solving the nation's myriad problems.

Here’s my question to you: Is it a good strategy for the White House to go after Fox News?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Obama Administration • White House
newer posts »