Obama fires back at political critics

Obama fires back at political critics
Aug 20 04:43 PM US/Eastern
US President Barack Obama launched a mocking counter-attack Thursday at pundits who believe the euphoric early promise of his presidency is evaporating amid bitter political warfare.Obama, who has watched his poll ratings dip sharply over recent months, drew comparisons to his 2008 presidential campaign, which was several times all but written off by media experts who set prevailing political wisdom.

“We have been through this before, in Iowa,” Obama said, referring to the first state to hold a 2008 Democratic nominating contest, which saw him capture a come-from-behind win.

“All Washington said ‘Oh, it’s over,’ hand-wringing angst …”

Then Obama drew parallels to the media frenzy that greeted the nomination of firebrand Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin in 2008.

“The media was obsessed with it, cable was 24 hours a day,” Obama told a friendly audience of grass-roots Democratic activists at a Washington forum broadcast live over the web.

“‘Obama’s lost his mojo,’ you remember all that?

“There is something about August going into September where everybody in Washington gets all wee weed up!”

Obama’s counter-punch, delivered at a meeting of his Organizing for America network of supporters, follows a run of town-hall appearances and speeches, which have seen him mount a stern defense of his health care reform plan, which is facing stiff Republican attacks.

He told backers not to get obsessed with polls, pundits and “cable chatter” but to take aim at what he described as fabrications drummed up by opponents to doom his top domestic priority.

“We are going to have to cut through a lot of nonsense out there,” he said.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll published Thursday found that 51 percent of those asked were very or fairly sure that Obama would bring real change to America — down 10 points from February.

A Quinnipiac University poll this month suggested Obama’s approval ratings had slumped to 50 percent, the lowest since his inauguration — a reflection of growing unease about his handling of the economy.

The figure was a substantial drop from the 57 percent approval rating he had on July 2, and far less than the numbers he enjoyed in the honeymoon first 100 days of his tenure.

But the president argued that he had “not a bad track record,” having taken office in the teeth of the deepest economic crisis in decades.

He said his sweeping economic stimulus plan had made an “enormous difference” and highlighted his move to lift the ban on government funding of stem cell research, and ban on the use of torture to interrogate terror suspects.

“We should be proud of what we have done,” Obama said. “But we have more work to do, more promises to keep.”

 

 

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Health care reform that actually works!

Health care reform that actually works!

By William Tate

“Where’s the Republican plan?”

 

It’s one of the red herrings that apologists for Obamacare pull out of their bag of clichéd talking points when pressed to justify Democrats’ attempt to grab control of 18% of the nation’s economy.

 

Well, here’s a modest proposal. Rather than looking to Massachusetts or Tennessee for examples of health care reform, why not look to Texas?

 

The Lone Stare state has its problems, but in recent years it has made major progress in improving health care availability, especially in predominantly poor and minority regions. Being Texas, the solution wasn’t budget-busting, either.

 

Their answer? They got rid of the lawyers.

 

Not literally. But they did take on that perennial pillar of the Democrat Party, the trial lawyers.

 

In an Op-Ed published in the San Francisco Examiner earlier this month, Texas Governor Perry points out that in 2003 the state implemented laws that shielded health care providers from trial lawyers “anxious to make a quick buck.”

 

“We capped noneconomic damages at $250,000 per defendant, or up to $750,000 per incident, while placing no cap on more easily determined economic damages, such as lost wages or costs of medical care due to injury.
“We ended the practice of allowing baseless but expensive lawsuits to drag on indefinitely, requiring plaintiffs to provide expert witness reports to support their claims within four months of filing suit or drop the case…
“Changes were seen immediately, and continue to be felt. All major liability insurers cut their rates upon passage of our reforms, with most of those cuts ranging in the double-digits. More than 10 new insurance carriers entered the Texas market, increasing competition and further lowering costs.
“As a result, Texas doctors have seen their insurance rates decline by an average of 27 percent.
“The number of doctors applying to practice medicine in Texas has skyrocketed by 57 percent.”

 

At a time when a debate rages over whether the U.S. has enough doctors, Texas has seen its number of doctors leap by about 15,000. And Perry points out that tort reform has brought service to critically underserved, predominantly minority and poor communities.

 

“The number of obstetricians practicing in rural Texas is up by 27 percent, and 12 counties that previously had no obstetricians now have at least one. The statistics show major gains in fields like orthopedic surgery, pediatrics, neurosurgery and emergency medicine.

 

The Rio Grande Valley has seen an 18 percent growth in applications to practice medicine, adding about 200 doctors to this critically underserved area.”

 

According to state Representative Joe Nixon, many of Texas’ news physicians have moved to rural or underserved areas, and “Texas, once listed as 47th worst state in the ratio of doctors per citizen, will soon be in the lower 30s and improving.”

 

Perry says Texas tort reform has had other benefits to patients:

 

“And what about the money that used to go to defending all those frivolous lawsuits? You can find it in budgets for upgraded equipment, expanded emergency rooms, patient safety programs and improved primary and charity care.”

 

Further, according to the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, tort reform has resulted in an improvement in the quality of health care in Texas, with the percentage of complaints about medical care actually going down.

 

Yet, despite the striking evidence of tort reform benefits in the nation’s second most populous state, this simple, basic and essential component of health care reform is completely missing from all Democrat proposals.

 

According to opensecrets.org, Democrats received over $178,000,000 from lawyers’ donations during the 2008 election cycle — three times what they donated to Republicans. Over $43,000,000 of that went to the Obama campaign.

 

Forty-three million reasons why Obamacare doesn’t include the one component of health care reform that has been proven to work: tort reform.

 

William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/health_care_reform_that_actual.html at August 20, 2009 – 09:04:20 PM EDT

Obama: GOP conspiracy out to kill health reform

Obama: GOP conspiracy out to kill health reform

President Obama took to the conservative airwaves Thursday to charge that Republican leaders are engaged in a vast right-wing conspiracy to kill health care reform in order to repeat the 1994 mid-term takeover of Congress, which followed the defeat of President Clinton’s reform plan.

“I think early on, a decision was made by the Republican leadership that said, ‘Look, let’s not give him a victory, maybe we can have a replay of 1993, ’94, when Clinton came in, he failed on health care and then we won in the mid-term elections and we got the majority. And I think there are some folks who are taking a page out that playbook,” the president said.

Appearing on the Michael Smerconish radio show, Mr. Obama said he would “love to have more Republicans engaged and incolved in this process,” but he vowed to win the battle, with or without support from the minority party in Congress.

“I guarantee you, Joe, we are going to get health care reform done,” he said to one caller. “I know there are a lot of people out there who’ve been handwringing, and folks in the press are following every little twist and turn of the legislative process, but having a big bill like this is always messy.”

Charlie Cook: Dem situation has ‘slipped completely out of control’

Charlie Cook: Dem situation has ‘slipped completely

 out of control’

 

Charlie Cook, one of the best political handicappers in the business, sent out a special update to Cook Political Report subscribers Thursday that should send shivers down Democratic spines.

Reviewing recent polling and the 2010 election landscape, Cook can envision a scenario in which Democratic House losses could exceed 20 seats.

“These data confirm anecdotal evidence, and our own view, that the situation this summer has slipped completely out of control for President Obama and Congressional Democrats. Today, The Cook Political Report’s Congressional election model, based on individual races, is pointing toward a net Democratic loss of between six and 12 seats, but our sense, factoring in macro-political dynamics is that this is far too low,” he wrote.

“Many veteran Congressional election watchers, including Democratic ones, report an eerie sense of déjà vu, with a consensus forming that the chances of Democratic losses going higher than 20 seats is just as good as the chances of Democratic losses going lower than 20 seats.”

Cook scrupulously avoided any mention that Democratic control of the House is in jeopardy but, noting a new Gallup poll showing Congress’ job disapproval at 70 percent among independents, concluded that the post-recess environment could feel considerably different than when Congress left in August.

“We believe it would be a mistake to underestimate the impact that this mood will have on Members of Congress of both parties when they return to Washington in September, if it persists through the end of the Congressional recess.”

Dealers stiffed as clunkers pile up

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Dealers stiffed as

clunkers pile up

Updated: Thursday, 20 Aug 2009, 12:47 AM MDT
Published : Thursday, 20 Aug 2009, 12:35 AM MDT

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Some New Mexico auto dealers have backed out of the cash-for-clunkers program and more may do so as the federal government takes its time providing cash reimbursements.

Dealers across the state are owed more than $3.6 million, according to a dealers’ group which says that so far Uncle Sam has only written three checks totaling about $14,000.

Cash for clunkers–officially its the Car Allowance Rebate System–allows consumers to trade their gas guzzlers for a more fuel-efficient rides while earning up to $4,500 toward the purchase price.

Dealerships put up the cash for the rebates after being told by the Obama administration they would be paid back within 10 days of the sale.

With that much cash in limbo they’ve called in reinforcements.

“You simply can’t ask businesses to front $200,000, $300,000 for any period of time,” Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., told KRQE News 13. “These applications are simply not being processed fast enough.

“So we are going to be on the phone today to the White House and to the feds in DC to try and get this moving.”

Don Chalmers’ dealership received the most reimbursement so far.

“I pay my bills,” Chalmers said. “If I was three weeks or four weeks late on paying my taxes I suspect that they would be in my office real quick.

“We just expect the same sort of courtesy and treatment from the federal government.”

Chalmers said his dealership has sold about 70 cars under the clunkers program.

Lawton Davis’ dealership has had more than 60 cars driven off the lot because of the incentive. But the go-green event has left him with no green from the government.

”I’m a little frustrated by it, and we have had to make adjustments in our business plan to accommodate it.” Davis said.

While those dealerships will survive the wait, others said they can’t afford to keep putting up cash.

“These are substantial dollars of money when you break it out into the individual dealership,” Charles Hensen with the New Mexico Automotive Dealers Association said. “The impact on a small dealership is a hard thing to overcome especially when you are dealing with the cash flow.”

”They need to get these applications paid for in the next week,” Heinrich said. “This has gone on to long.” Heinrich said.

So far more than 650 cars have been traded in through the program statewide. The incentive is expected to end Nov. 1 or whenever federal money for the program runs out.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is handling the money. The agency has tripled the workforce assigned to the program to try and get more checks out to dealers quickly.

Firms with Obama ties profit from health push

Firms with Obama ties profit from health push

By SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press Writer Sharon Theimer, Associated Press Writer Wed Aug 19, 6:08 pm ET

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama‘s push for a national health care overhaul is providing a financial windfall in the election offseason to Democratic consulting firms that are closely connected to the president and two top advisers.

Coalitions of interest groups running at least $24 million in pro-overhaul ads hired GMMB, which worked for Obama’s 2008 campaign and whose partners include a top Obama campaign strategist. They also hired AKPD Message and Media, which was founded by David Axelrod, a top adviser to Obama’s campaign and now to the White House. AKPD did work for Obama’s campaign, and Axelrod’s son Michael and Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe work there.

The firms were hired by Americans for Stable Quality Care and its predecessor, Healthy Economy Now. Each was formed by a coalition of interests with big stakes in health care policy, including the drug maker lobby PhRMA, the American Medical Association, the Service Employees International Union and Families USA, which calls itself “The Voice for Health Care Consumers.”

Their ads press for changes in health care policy. Healthy Economy Now made one of the same arguments that Obama does: that health care costs are delaying the country’s economic recovery and that changes are needed if the economy is to rebound.

There is no evidence that Axelrod directly profited from the group’s ads. Axelrod took steps to separate himself from AKPD when he joined Obama’s White House. AKPD owes him $2 million from his stock sale and will make preset payments over four years, starting with $350,000 on Dec. 31, according to Axelrod’s personal financial disclosure report.

A larger issue is a network of relationships and overlapping interests that resembles some seen in past administrations and could prove a problem as Obama tries to win the public over on health care and fulfill his promise to change the way Washington works, said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a government watchdog group.

“Even if these are obvious bedfellows and kind of standard PR maneuvers, it still stands to undercut Obama’s credibility,” Krumholz said. “The potential takeaway from the public is ‘friends in cahoots to engineer a grass roots result.'”

White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said that Axelrod has had no communications with Healthy Economy Now or with Americans for Stable Quality Care, and his payments aren’t affected by the ad contracts. Axelrod’s son, a salaried AKPD employee, doesn’t work with either coalition “or stand to benefit from that work,” LaBolt said.

David Axelrod has fully complied with the toughest-ever ethics rules for administration officials, including divesting from AKPD before the administration began,” LaBolt said.

Ken Johnson, a PhRMA senior vice president, said GMMB and AKPD were the only two firms working on the $24 million in ads. He declined to reveal how much each was paid beyond saying that each received a small percentage of the total. The coalition’s campaign team decided to hire the two firms, he said.

“In a perfect world, it’s a distraction we don’t need right now, but these are very gifted consultants who have done very good work,” Johnson said. “And it’s also important to remember that at the end of the day, the coalition partners determine the message.”

Healthy Economy Now spokesman Jeremy Van Ess said the two firms were hired because “they are the best at what they do. Period.” The coalition didn’t seek approval or direction on any of its activities from the White House, said Van Ess, a partner in a consulting firm that has worked on Democratic Senate election activities and a former speechwriter for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

AKPD and GMMB both proudly proclaim their connections to Obama on their Web sites.

AKPD has a full page on Axelrod that includes pictures of Obama. In one photo, Obama hugs Plouffe on election night.

“We are deeply honored to have been part of Barack Obama‘s historic campaign to change America and the world,” GMMB says on its Web site. GMMB’s partners include Jim Margolis, a senior strategist for Obama’s presidential campaign.

Both GMMB and AKPD also have worked for Democrats this year. The Democratic National Committee paid AKPD at least $106,000 for polling, media production, communication consulting and travel costs from February through April. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee paid GMMB roughly $75,000 from February through June for ads. And GMMB took in at least $9,000 this year from Senate leader Reid’s political action committee for communications consulting.

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On the Net:

protest in Grand Junction

Written by Kathleen Baker, Denver CO
 
Many of you asked for details of yesterday’s protest in Grand Junction, so here is my personal account.
 
For those of you that don’t know Grand Junction, it is the largest town in western Colorado with a population of 48,000. It sits about halfway between Denver and Salt Lake City, both of which are about a four-hour drive. Between Grand Junction and SLC, there is basically nothing. Between Denver and GJ, there are small mountain and resort communities about every twenty to thirty minutes.In other words, there is not a huge population base from which to draw protestors.
 
From 10 am to 11:30 yesterday, the Grand Junction citizens held a well organized rally at a park a couple miles from the high school where the townhall was held.They asked everyone to sign a registration card so they could have an accurate count of attendance. There were more than 4,000. (That’s huge for a town with 48,000 residents.) This is hearsay, but I later heard that out of those 4,000, only three “won” tickets to the townhall.
 
I spent the majority of my time manning a petition table for a man I met there. The petitions were for amendments to be on the Colorado ballot to limit taxation. Local leaders, I would recommend helping to get signatures: wwww.cotaxreform.com, www.limitpropertytax.com, www.limitCOdebt.com.
 
I did not see any reporters from the national or Denver news organizations. There appeared to be a reporter from the GJ station. There were also newspaper reporters, one of which I know was from SLC. However, the big players did not appear to be there.
 
After the rally, there was a break until 3:00. I went to lunch with several representatives of 912 groups from the Front Range area. Then a member of the local group that sponsored the protest invited us to her home until the protest began. On the way to the protest, we saw Air Force One land. It was a strange feeling to see this American icon while detesting the occupant inside.
 
Now for the protest and all the baloney that goes with this administration. They told everyone the motorcade would be following a certain route. MoveOn or ACORN or whatever group organized the other side reserved the space and set up their protest there. We lined up the other side of the street. (it reminded me of the Revolutionary War where the Patriots and Red Coats faced each other in battle. 🙂 We way outnumbered them. They were bussed in from Denver. The bus was in plain site, and I passed it while I was driving home. There were also the usual professionally printed signs. It was a typical counter protest of both sides chanting back and forth. The woman on our side with the bullhorn was pretty funny.
 
It was pretty obvious to me the way it was set up that the motorcade wasn’t going to drive down a road lined with counter protestors. The thing that made me angry was they told the Central High School Band they were going to play for it. The kids sat there in the hot sun waiting, and he sneaked in another entrance. Those kids were incredibly dejected. It’s one thing to sneak past demonstrators but to lie to those kids like that shows what type of character he has.
 
I don’t know how many protestors were there as the rally people split up to different parts of town to protest the motorcade. I do know there were several people there from Denver that missed the earlier rally. There were lots of people filming it, but once again, I didn’t see any major players from the media.
 
So this is where it got funny. Since the ACORN people were bussed in from Denver, they didn’t know the high school. Our side had the real protestors who had graduated from there, so they figured out which entrance he would use. We all wanted to move to that entrance so when he left, he would see us. However, we didn’t want ACORN to follow us. So over a 45-minute period we slowly trickled over there. The front line of our group would keep chanting while the others left. (It was a bit like the Sound of Music.) They had no idea. We were trying to make it look like people were slowly going home. A GJ couple from our side who hadn’t been informed of the plan said all of a sudden no one on our side was there. (They were smart and realized we had all moved to another location, so they went looking for us. The ACORNers were too dumb to realize what we had done.)
 
Anyway, after our little covert operation we had restaged ourselves with only a few socialist demonstrators at the entrance. We were pretty proud of ourselves. 🙂 This made it perfect for when he came out in his motorcade. We shouted over and over “No you can’t!” which turned into the most loud, emotional boo I’ve ever heard. It was great. It was such a wonderful feeling to be so close to him and to know that he could hear us booing him.
 
Another thing I wanted to note was a rather strange experience between the police and us. After we had restaged ourselves, the local police guarding the parking lot all of a sudden lined up in a row, riot style (legs spread apart, arms behind the back).  It was odd, and the entire angry mob became silent and turned their bodies to look at them. The thing was we intimidated them by our reaction. They all looked at each other and you could see they realized they were us. We were not the enemy. We were their friends and neighbors. Then they quickly retreated and went into a little circle.
 
Finally, I would like to give some hints to others who may protest BO in the future. They set us up by stating which entrance he was coming in and planting his supporters and the marching band there. They aren’t going to drive a presidential motorcade down a street lined with protestors. They are going to bring him in an entrance where the entire block (including sidewalks) is blocked off. Before a protest, have organizers scout the location and see what areas are COMPLETELY blocked off from pedestrians and where there is a substantial higher amount of police. One woman I met when we restaged who had been at the entrance the entire time said they had done that and that’s how they figured out which entrance he was using. Be in charge of the situation. We were laughing after restaging because we know (there and across the country) we are always one step ahead of them.
 
It was a great day, and I met a lot of wonderful people. It made me proud to be an American.