January 17th, 2010
08:11 AM ET

Dear President Obama #363: The amazing health care magic act

Reporter's Note: Like all presidents, President Obama has to multi-task. So do I. For example, I also worry about North Korea while doing my job, which includes writing these letters every day to the White House. And my commute is much worse than his.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/14/art.bomodern0114.gi.jpg]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Very glad to see you and Presidents Bush and Clinton coming together to help Haiti. Like I said all week, don’t let that slide off of the map. Too many people there need too much help right now.

That said, don’t think I haven’t noticed what else you’ve been up to! Looks like you and the rest of the Dems have been plowing ahead on health care while everyone else is looking the other way. Kind of like a side-show magician, making a rabbit suddenly appear by having a clown jump around for distraction.

I certainly can’t blame you. It was your plan all along, so it’s not like you just saw an opening and tried to jump into the HOV lane without an extra passenger. On the other hand, I can hear the screams of Repubs. As best I can make out, they have all the same complaints they’ve had all along (surprise,) plus a couple of new ones. To the point: They believe the deals you Dems are working on to get organized labor on board amount to essentially a pay off at the expense of other taxpayers. And that you are trying to slam the whole thing through in secret, in a rush, and in a preemptive strike against your party possibly…possibly losing that all important 60th Senate vote in the Massachusetts race.

Well, I don’t think you’re going to get any of them into your tent on this no matter what you do. But that said, I think you should at least consider the downsides of all this; and by downsides, I mean things that might really tick off a lot of voters.

One: Yes, you promised it was going to be a lot more public than it has been, and admit it…a lot has gone on in private. You don’t have to apologize. You don’t even have to change it. You just have to be aware that some people are disappointed. (Note to self: Ix-nay on the “we’ll put it all on CSPAN” in the uture-fay talk, unless you mean it.)

Two: Like I’ve said before. If it is really good, have faith in the public. Tell them the details, don’t rush, and trust that they will support it through passage. Lots of voters who might otherwise be willing to get on board will automatically get angry if they sense a railroad job.

And three: I know politics is about deals. But just like the Republicans made you angry by giving preferential treatment to the big biz types, you have to know that as more voters find out more about the deals struck to make this thing pass, some of them are not going to be happy.

Again, I’m not saying you have to change anything. I’m saying just because your enemies say something, doesn’t mean it’s not true…at least a little bit. And in any event, if enough voters buy the opposition line, that could prove very unhealthy for you and your party.

So anyway…this would be an excellent time for you to call me. We can chat it over, and while we’re at it, talk about the great Saints victory, too! NFC Championship game, here we come!



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. john

    It would be nice if all the folks that want this health care bill to go thru realize what it is going to do to them. I sure hope you don`t work for a small business. But at least you are willing to pay more or possibly lose your job to insure 7% of the people. Keep in mind these 7% will not fully be insured til 2020. If the dems could open their minds a better plan could be constructed but this isn`t about health anymore. It is about Obama winning and the americam people losing.

    January 18, 2010 at 2:26 am |
  2. Brenda

    Hi Anderson, is this true? the Israeli's have a medical camp which they sat up in 8hrs and can handle 500 patients a day. This was on CBS 6:00 o'clock News here on the west coast. The reporter said, they are and have top of the line equipment and Doctors. If this is so, is there anyway to refer many of the injured to that facility?

    January 17, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
  3. James Marcello

    Any updates on the Lynn Univ. missing

    January 17, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  4. jenni teague

    We get attacked and send thousands of our military to war and wanna rebuild and try and do everything there, but Haitis people have been living in poverty forever, and have had no food, no water, alot of these things for a long time. We send money but people who needed ours there to teach them how to level thier living situations. I guess it feels like to me, guess it took an earthquake for people to see this country needed help, maybe now people will hear their cries!

    January 17, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  5. Cherie Bharti

    Politics is deals but President can't work alone he needs true support and in the name of feedback!!

    January 17, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  6. Sean


    I think President Obama should put all his efforts into rescuing the Americans buried underneath the Hotel Montana rather than campaigning for Martha Coakley in Massachusetts. He should realize that our currently U.S. Healthcare system needs to be put in perspective. Wee have great healthcare compared to what is going on in Haiti right now.

    The President needs to focus his attention on bringing our loved ones home from Haiti. This is a matter of life and death.

    January 17, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  7. Michele

    Ahhhhhh – you nailed it on this one!

    January 17, 2010 at 11:00 am |