State of the Union with John King started off this morning with an interview with Senior White House Advisor David Axelrod. The first topic that John King covered was whether the stimulus package has been a success. Of course, the conversation soon turned to health care reform. Congress will not complete the task of passing legislation prior to the August recess. Listening to Axelrod, I was reminded of another President's promise of "no new taxes"- I'm afraid that the current President's pledge to not raise taxes on those making less that $250,000 may end up going the same way. Axelrod made the point this morning that the current health care system works for the insurance companies but doesn't work for the insured. It is nice to see that the policy discussion is at least in part starting to include reforms in addition to expanding those that would receive coverage. The next topic was Professor-gate. Oddly, Axelrod seemed to stumble around on this topic a bit.
Is Axelrod worried about the political future of Gov. Palin? Nope. His answer implied that he has more important things to worry about politically (although he was much more diplomatic with his actual answer).
John King spoke with Speaker Nancy Pelosi late on Friday. King taped the behind the scenes preview from the CNN parking area on his way to the interview.
Pelosi was firm that the House bill is ready and that there has been enough debate on the bill and she's very confident that when she takes the bill to the floor of the House that it will pass.
Pelosi dodged the question about whether a public health care option would include coverage for abortion. The question actually seemed to shock her. She was prepared for the question about whether or not those that were in the US illegally would be covered by the bill but didn't have an answer on how hospitals were supposed to deal with it when they show up in the emergency room.
Is it time for another stimulus package? Per Pelosi: no.
King interviewed Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R) live in the D.C. studio. They discussed the health care legislation and whether the Republicans would except a public/ government option. The Senator's opinion is that "the only thing bipartisan with this legislation is the opposition to it." And the Senator's first idea on how to fix the legislation: stop lawsuits against doctors. (That smells of lobbyist to me.) The Senator declared the stimulus package a failure and that we haven't seen the last of Gov. Palin.
John King was in Texas this week. He spoke with Gregory Rose, a 23 year old man, who graduated from college and found out he had leukemia. His medication alone costs $5,000 a month. He no longer has health care coverage because he receives too much money from his social security disability. The impression from the report was that Rose could either have health insurance via Medicaid or pay his rent (with his disability check).
In the America Dispatch segment, King also spoke with JPS' CEO and Chief of Medicine about the possibility of "squeezing" Medicaid/ Medicare payments.
Howard Kurtz's Reliable Sources started off with a discussion on the arrest of Professor Gates in Cambridge, MA. The panel included Callie Crossley, Lauren Ashburn, and Roger Simon.
Then the panel turned to the "Birthers". The longer I listen to Lauren Ashburn from USA Today the more I like her. Here was her response to the "Birthers" issue:
ASHBURN: One of the only newspapers -- and here I am, you know, shilling for "USA Today," essentially -- to not cover this since the election is "USA Today." Why?
KURTZ: Yes, why?
ASHBURN: Cottage industry of conspiracy theorists is basically what we're seeing here. And why do you give a voice to that. You know, why not help drive the dialogue forward on issues that are important to Americans like health care and other things that need addressing?
ASHBURN: I would go even a step farther to say that it's unethical. It's unethical of the media to be taking this issue and putting it front and center when all of the proof is there to the country.
Source: CNN Transcript, Reliable Sources/ State of the Union with John King, July 26, 2009.
The coverage of the nude photos of EPSN's Erin Andrews was criticized by Callie Crossley, Christine Brennan and Lauren Ashburn. The panel agreed that the media was just as guilty as those who took the peep hole pictures since they showed them on air and in print. The next topic was ESPN not initially covering sex charges made against a quarterback.
Roger Simon, Ryan Lizza, and Debra Saunders discussed the President's prime time press conference and how Lynn Sweet's question about Louis Henry Gates' arrest became the headline - not the topic of the press conference which was health care. The President has been doing more interviews than is typical: filling the void so that his opponents can't.
Kurtz interviewed Ben Mezrich the author of The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal. The book is non-fiction, but has a based on a true story feel to it with dialogue recreated and condensed in order to keep the story moving. Kevin Spacey is reportedly involved with the upcoming movie version of the book. Mezrich is also the author of the book that was the basis for the movie 21.
The pundit hour started with a review of the Sound of Sunday and then followed with a round table discussion with Paul Begala, Alex Castellanos, Bill Bennett, and Marc Morial. The first topic for the panel was the controversy over the President's remarks concerning Professor Gates' arrest. (The first part of the discussion ended with a debate on what type of beer one drinks.)
The final minutes with this panel were spent talking about the future for now former Gov. Palin. The mention of Alaska gave Paul Begala the perfect opportunity to show off a picture from his vacation to Seward, Alaska. (If you had seen Begala earlier in the week - he was sporting some facial hair - a left over from his vacation.) As to the question at hand: Begala is hoping she runs in 2010; Castellanos thinks she will split the party; and Bennett doesn't have or at least wasn't willing to share his opinion.
While King was in Texas, he stopped in to Norma's Cafe in Dallas to tape the CNN Diner segment where he spoke with Connie Obenhaus, Chase Robinson, and Theresa Moreno. They shared their health care stories and they discussed whether abortion should be included if the Congress approved a tax payer funded health care option and about whether illegal immigrants should receive care.
The next panel included Joe Johns, Ed Henry, and Dana Bash. Health care dominated the first part of the conversation. When they came back from commercial break, they discussed the economy and the impact of the recovery act (short term or long term?). Next, they visited the President's comments about Professor Gates' arrest.
During the last hour of the program, a flashback to the 9AM hour with a repeat of the interview with David Axelrod, Speaker Pelosi, and Senator Mitch McConnell.
The Last Word went to the Mayor of Cambridge, E. Denise Simmons to discuss with the controversy over the arrest of Louis Henry Gates.
And here are your podcast links for the week:
A few extras this week... clips from The Situation Room that caught my eye. First, imagine this: Wolf Blitzer and the Beastie Boys... Too Many Rappers the latest song from the Beastie Boys featuring NAS mentions the CNN anchor.
Here's the full version of the new single:
What Blitzer didn't mention is that the Beastie Boys made news earlier in the week with the announcement that they will be delaying the release of the their new album Hot Sauce Committee PT 1 and canceling several concert dates because rapper MC is having a cancerous tumor removed from his neck.
Are George and Hank terrorists? Its incredible the unintended consequences well meaning laws have on the little guys. CNN's Jeanne Meserve reported about mule handlers having to get TWIC cards along the Lehigh Canal.
And the final item for the night... Tom Foreman's latest Metro article: Washington’s Secret Society. Here's an excerpt:
Less than a year ago, President Barack Obama (then a mere candidate) was storming the campaign trail making some of those “Come on kids, let’s change government for the better!” promises that enthralled the fans. And among them was this little gem. He said as he prepared his health care initiative, he would not merely insist on keeping his meetings open, but also “have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.”
Maybe my cable company has done another of those squirrelly channel realignments, but somehow I’ve missed that reality show. Instead, the Obama administration, much like the Clinton administration years ago, has held virtually all of its health care meetings on this signature subject in private, doors closed, “do not disturb” signs hanging outside.
... to continue reading this article visit: Washington’s Secret Society