When it comes to press treatment of President Obama the question I am asking myself is “Is The Bloom Off The Rose?” After reading a FACT CHECK by the Associated Press on yesterday’s prime time disinformation event, I think the answer many be “a bit”
Last night’s press conference was designed to gain the political capital necessary to bring around some Democrats on the President’s proposed government takeover of health care. Get that. He is trying to bring Democrats around. They don’t need Republicans. So if the reason for the press conference should be worrisome for the President, the Associated Press‘ coverage of the event should give the President shivers. If he loses the press, he has lost it all.
The Associated Press looked at a number of claims made by the President last night and, I think it is fair to say, concludes that the President simply lies. Claim after claim by the President is rebutted or debunked. Marvel.
OBAMA: “I have also pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade, and I mean it.”
THE FACTS: The president has said repeatedly that he wants “deficit-neutral” health care legislation, meaning that every dollar increase in cost is met with a dollar of new revenue or a dollar of savings. But some things are more neutral than others. White House Budget Director Peter Orszag told reporters this week that the promise does not apply to proposed spending of about $245 billion over the next decade to increase fees for doctors serving Medicare patients. Democrats and the Obama administration argue that the extra payment, designed to prevent a scheduled cut of about 21 percent in doctor fees, already was part of the administration’s policy, with or without a health care overhaul.
Beyond that, budget experts have warned about various accounting gimmicks that can mask true burdens on the deficit. The bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget lists a variety of them, including back-loading the heaviest costs at the end of the 10-year period and beyond.
OBAMA: “You haven’t seen me out there blaming the Republicans.”
THE FACTS: Obama did so in his opening statement, saying, “I’ve heard that one Republican strategist told his party that even though they may want to compromise, it’s better politics to ‘go for the kill.’ Another Republican senator said that defeating health reform is about ‘breaking’ me.”
OBAMA: “If we had done nothing, if you had the same old budget as opposed to the changes we made in our budget, you’d have a $9.3 trillion deficit over the next 10 years. Because of the changes we’ve made, it’s going to be $7.1 trillion.”
THE FACTS: Obama’s numbers are based on figures compiled by his own budget office. But they rely on assumptions about economic growth that some economists find too optimistic. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, in its own analysis of the president’s budget numbers, concluded that the cumulative deficit over the next decade would be $9.1 trillion.
Not only this – even the New York Times is questioning the veracity of Obama’s claims. The New York Times
Mr. Obama said doctors, nurses, hospitals, drug companies and AARP had supported efforts to overhaul health care.
While it is true the American Medical Association has endorsed a bill drafted by House Democratic leaders, a half-dozen state medical societies have sharply criticized provisions that would establish a new government-run health insurance plan.
Likewise, Mr. Obama said Medicare could save large amounts of money by creating “an independent group of doctors and medical experts who are empowered to eliminate waste and inefficiency” and hold down the annual increases in payments to health care providers.
Far from supporting this proposal, the American Hospital Association is urging hospital executives to lobby against it.
What’s more is that if you look at CNN’s website this morning, coverage there does not focus on Obama’s health care at all, but rather Obama’s incomprehensible rush to judgment in the Professor Gates arrest at Harvard by saying that the police acted stupidly. Rahm Emmanuel must have cringed at the response of the president last night. Presidents need to be above the fray, not criticizing local law enforcement. This is particularly true when the facts are in dispute and race is involved. This was a damaging rookie mistake born of arrogance on the President’s part. For this I am very grateful. Obama finished his presser by going completely of message. Hooray.
So today the press is doing very tough fact checks on his health and budget claims or talking about his race misstep. Is the bloom off the Obama rose? Probably not, but it may be wilting.