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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Filling Gaps in the White House Website, Part 38

From the president's interview with Bret Baier of Fox News:

BAIER: Let me insert this. We asked our viewers to e-mail in suggested questions. More than 18,000 people took time to e-mail us questions. These are regular people from all over the country. Lee Johnson, from Spring Valley, California: "If the bill is so good for all of us, why all the intimidation, arm twisting, seedy deals, and parliamentary trickery necessary to pass a bill, when you have an overwhelming majority in both houses and the presidency?"

Sandy Moody in Chesterfield, Missouri: "If the health care bill is so wonderful, why do you have to bribe Congress to pass it?"

OBAMA: Bret, I get 40,000 letters or e-mails a day.

BAIER: I know.

OBAMA: I could read the exact same e-mail —

BAIER: These are people. It's not just Washington punditry.

OBAMA: I've got the exact same e-mails, that I could show you, that talk about why haven't we done something to make sure that I, a small business person, am getting as good a deal as members of Congress are getting, and don't have my insurance rates jacked up 40 percent? Why is it that I, a mother with a child with a preexisting condition, still can't get insurance?

So the issue that I'm concerned about is whether not we're fixing a broken system.

BAIER: OK, back to the original question.

OBAMA: The key is to make sure that we vote — we have a vote on whether or not we're going to maintain the status quo, or whether we're going to reform the system.

BAIER: So you support the deem and pass rule?

OBAMA: I am not —

BAIER: You're saying that's that vote.

OBAMA: What I'm saying is whatever they end up voting on — and I hope it's going to be sometime this week — that it is going to be a vote for or against my health care proposal. That's what matters. That's what ultimately people are going to judge this on.

If people don't believe in health care reform — and I think there are definitely a lot of people who are worried about whether or not these changes are, in some fashion, going to affect them adversely. And I think those are legitimate concerns on the substance — then somebody who votes for this bill, they're going to be judged at the polls. And the same is going to be true if they vote against it.

Yesterday, the president issued a statement celebrating "Sunshine Week." That statement was on the White House website. Like dozens of other interviews, the Fox exchange was not.