June 23rd, 2009
03:22 PM ET

Obama on Iran, healthcare and smoking

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Having been tasked with watching the entire Pres. presser, please find some highlights below, in no particular order.

1) Iran: The President’s language on Iran has hardened a bit, although not as much as some questioners suggested.

"The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings and imprisonments of the last few days. I strongly condemn these unjust actions.”

Fundamentally his position is unchanged: This is a matter to be decided by the people of Iran, not outside parties.

2) Smoking: Sore point. He came closer today than he has before to answering questions about just how much he smokes and when, although in the end he again avoided many specifics, and he implied questions about his habit are petty or mean spirited attempts to embarrass the president. That said, it bears remembering that a First Family’s choices (even the private ones) influence public trends; i.e. Michelle goes sleeveless and women start lifting weights…and that influence can obviously be for good…or ill.

3) Health Care: The president has insisted time and again “If you like your health care plan as it is, you get to keep it.” Today, under repeated questioning about the potential effect of a government underwritten public insurance program, he admitted that it might spur some employers to quit providing insurance. As he put it, “What I’m saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health care reform.” This is a somewhat serious distinction in the best Clintonian sense.
4) Unemployment: He continues to pave the way for worse…making it clear that double digit unemployment is headed our way, despite suggestions some time ago by the White House that the rate could be held around 8 percent.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Iran • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics • Tom Foreman
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Eric

    All thats going wrong with the country today and people are worried about the president's smoking habits? what is wrong with with people...how about showings some concern for America's REAL problems.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  2. Mari

    Yes, kudos Mr. President! My dad quit after smoking since age 11! He is 89 and has not smoked for 34 years!

    IF my dad can kick the habit any one can!

    God bless your efforts, President Obama!

    June 23, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  3. Larry

    I guess smokers have $$ to burn.

    June 23, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  4. Trudy Beaulieu

    To control health care costs .. remove the "money" ..

    If medical adverting were to be banned there would be a huge change. It would stem self diagnosis based on the ads seen during the evening news.
    The US has about 5% of the worlds population and consumes at least 45% of the worlds prescription medicine.
    The facilities and doctors with the most advertising money are not always the best, just the best advertised.
    A huge potion of the cost of medicine goes to marketing.
    I believe the only other country to allow medical advertising is Australia.

    June 23, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  5. Melissa

    Sucks its so hard to quit. I think its brave of him to admit it.

    June 23, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  6. Leonard Headley

    I see where the people at the OMB are trying to get a bill passed to start making retired military personnel pay for their medical coverage if they have what is known as Tri Care For Life. This was one reason I stayed 20 years in the service. I knew I would have good medical coverage when I turned 65 and retired. Now with all the money being wasted on other foolish projects, the government wants to cut the dedicated retired men and womens medical benefits. Why is it this country cannot seem to keep it's promises to the people who served. We went without a lot of things when I was in the service raising 3 children that my counter parts in civilian life didn't have to without. I always thought the armed forces was a good option in life. I was proud when my grandson enlisted. I planned to tell him to make a career of it. Now I feel he would be better off to get out after his time is up. I would like Anderson to look into this if he can. I realize there are a lot of other important things going on, but I feel this effects a lot of retired and active military personnel. Thank you, Leonard Headley

    June 23, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  7. JW

    I think that quitting smoking is a small price to pay after being entrusted with leading one of the top nations, if not THE top nation of the world.

    I think that if I had as many eyes on me, I'd be able to quit one habit ASAP.

    June 23, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  8. Rita

    Why is it everyone is so up on the smokers but no one even blinks a eye at achol or acholism,

    June 23, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  9. Jason Tully

    I thought O's remarks on smoking were pretty honest. As a smoker in the throes of quitting, the way he is, I know how hard it is and how sore of a subject it can be. Kudos to the president.

    June 23, 2009 at 3:55 pm |