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September 3rd, 2009
11:36 AM ET

Obama’s gutsy gamble

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/02/art.obamatalking.0902.gi.jpg]

John Avlon
Special to CNN

President Obama's decision to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday is a gutsy gamble - a recognition that the health care reform debate has gone off the rails and needs to be recentered.

At stake is the credibility of one of the president's core campaign appeals to the American people - that he could be a bridge builder who would heal the hyper-partisanship that defined domestic politics during the Bush years.

After a fractious summer, expect the president to call for common ground and try to elevate the debate. He should point out, rightly, that health care reform has been pursued since Harry Truman and that never has such a broad coalition supported reform that decreases costs and increases access.

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soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. marino

    I AM JUST THINKING WHY I HAVE NOT SEEN ON CNN ANY MENTION OF THE SZARS THAT HAVE BEEN APPOINTED BY PRISIDENT OBAMA SPECIFICALLY VAN JONES AND OTHERS
    HAVE YOU GUYS HEARD ABOUT HIM AND SOME OF HIS VIEWS AND SOME OF HIS COMMENTS JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO?
    YOU SHOULD REPORT EVERYTHING AND LET US MAKE UP OUR MINDS.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  2. Ed Linhares

    I hope the president is going to correct what I believe to be a major flaw in his attempt to sell the public option of health reform. That flaw being that the public option has never been defined in terms of how it would work. The absence of specifics has allowed the opposition to make claims about the downfalls of a public option. To be honest, in the absence of the specifics I can not say whether or not those allegations are accurate. The president needs to tell the American public how the option would work – the mechanics. Is ithe public health option one that would hire nurses and doctors to deliver health care under the restrictions of what the premiums would afford and the rules would allow? I dont' think so, but no one has defined it. Is the public health plan one that would work similiar to the Federal employee health plan. That is, would it set criteria (such as no pre-existing conditions limitations) for insurance companies to be eligible to join a pool of companies from which potential clients could select a plan. I would hope, given some specifics about the public health plan, the American public would see the intended wisdom of such an option and limit the opportunity for sniper shots. It may also be true that specifics would reveal a plan that is truly disliked by the majority and would need to be changed or eliminated. At the moment, we have a label (Public Health Care Option) that has no substance to be supported or attacked.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  3. JC- Los Angeles

    Like the traditional corporate executive who fails upward and faces the prospect of being replaced by the board, President Obama needs to realize that the American people are his corporate board and he has some explaining to do.

    It should surprise no one that yet another executive, our Chief Executive, can't concisely articulate what he's doing; explain why he's doing it; and outline what it means to others.

    While no one will dispute the fact that Barack Obama can write and speak, what is still open for debate is his ability to lead.

    There should be no party affiliations; no blue dogs; no concern for voting blocks; we should be presented with an executive who has a vision; a message; a plan for accomplishment and a timline for doing so; period.

    September 3, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  4. RLWellman

    Yea, go it alone, pass a bill not endorsed by the majority of the United States. Keep trying to persuade the majority they don't know what they are taliking about. Keep calling them terrorists, nazis. They like your name calling also.
    Congressmen and Senators will be looking for new jobs starting next year. The majority does not being called names. Especially when the President tells them what he is going to do, even if it is against what the majority wants.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  5. truthislove45

    Yet another trick of Obama the magical one! Thank God for truth too see ones illusions and not follow! First its healthcare reform/then health insurance reform/then too call for morality when the bill is far from Gods mercy and liberty/now he wants to act bipartisan. The game has been up on this man. Unless he truly "repents" in Jesus name only the willfully ignorant would follow him. God is not in the plan/ shall it succeed only if this nation desires evil. NOT ONCE does Obama ever read the bill/he never justifies his smooth speeches with the "ACTUAL" bill! This man is a deceiever who has hoodwinked the gullible! Jesus is the way of TRUE change/Obama leads people from true change. God bless!

    September 3, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  6. Michael C. McHugh

    Obama needs to channel his inner Celt here and get fighting mad. If he has any Fighting Irish in him, if he can get angry and righteously indignant at all, now would be a good time to do it. They have been lying about him and attacking him without mercy for a month, trying to demolish his proposed reforms in any way they can, and Obama has to call these liars exactly what they are. He should not just stand there like a punching bag and take it.

    He also needs to explain what's really in these bills in a very clear, direct and meaningful way, since people tend to like them more when they find out exactly what's in them. In addition, he has to rally and reassure his own forces that he will not wimp out on them when the going gets tough.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  7. Indyfromaz.wordpress.com

    How is some Democrats call for "going it alone" and ignoring the Republicans not "hyper-partisanship" in and of itself.

    September 3, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  8. Viki

    I did typed my comment you like or not!

    September 3, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  9. Viki

    Obama was in vacations?
    When He started to work?

    September 3, 2009 at 11:59 am |