Reporter's Note: President Barack Obama is busy defending his health care reform plans from Democrats who don’t want them the way they are, and Republicans who do not want them at all. I am busy writing another letter to the White House. Hey, at least he should get something nice in the mail.
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
I was watching your announcement yesterday defending your health care reform plans when suddenly I heard you say, “We’re going to get this done!” Umm…I know you have not been in DC a terribly long time, but people around here don’t talk that way in mixed company. (Meaning, of course, mixed Dems and Repubs.) I know it sounds strong and confident and all, but such definitive statements in DC are riskier than ordering the swine flu special at Pete’s-Pack-a-Lunch.
Now for me: I like that sort of thing. Give me the proud, bold, daring public servant any day, no matter what his agenda. “No new taxes.” “Mission accomplished.” “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Those are statements that voters can sink their teeth into; unambiguous, clear measures of where a person stands.
I think it takes courage or recklessness or startling naiveté or…well… something else to blurt such things out, (and yes, I know the MisAccom was a sign, not a statement, but President Bush stood underneath it in any case,) but at least it’s not the same old boring bet-hedging we’ve all come to know and loathe. Most political types avoid saying such things because the risk is too much for them to bear. If you say concretely what you want and when you want it; everyone will know definitively if you fail to achieve the goal.
So I winced a little bit when I heard you join the Candor Club. You have now effectively bet at least a small portion of your presidential credibility on the notion that you can, and will have health care reform legislation written, approved and signed by the end of August. As even you admitted that is a tall order. Still, I like watching politicians play on the edge, just like I enjoy those extreme sports shows where guys lose their teeth. Lay it out there. Take your chances. You may win, or you may lose, but nobody can say you didn’t play for keeps.
We’re having weekly meetings with my elder daughter lately about her college search. (Yikes!) If you happen to call, remind me of that. I have a couple of questions that I’ve been meaning to ask you. Meanwhile, big moon anniversary coming up Monday! That will be fun…going to hand out Moon Pies at the office. Stop by if you want one, or send Biden…I’ll give him a boxful.
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