February 24th, 2010
11:25 AM ET

Dear President Obama #401: Held hostage by the health care debate: My saga

Reporter's Note: Don’t get the idea that I will never give up on this. Frankly having written more than 400 letters now without so much as a “Hey, good on you, Tom” from President Obama, I’m sure few would blame me if I put the keyboard out on the patio to dry. But, I’m sure he is busy, so uh…not today.

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Here is what I’ve eaten since coming to Texas: homemade chili, a most excellent marinated chicken burrito, migas (if you don’t know, trust me…it’s good!), gingerbread pancakes with bacon, a smashing carrot cupcake with butter cream icing, a couple of nondescript hamburgers (waste of a meal, to be frank,) and some barbecue that was so good I wanted to rub it on my chest. Sorry to get so graphic, but hey, if you’d had some you would understand.

So how is the health care reform going? I must say with this latest release of your plan, you have me “looking at the salsa, but waiting on the chips,” as they say down here. Actually, I’ve never heard anyone say that, but it sounds like an old Texas-ism, doesn’t it? Something Dan Rather would say, like “If you’ve got pie in the Alamo, why do you need a canoe?”

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My point is, I can’t help but think you should have said what you wanted in this bill loudly and strongly a long time ago (after all, you are the president,) or you should not be saying anything now. Think about it. A lot of Dems were all but begging you to let your intentions be known months back, and a fair number, I’d bet my boots, think a measure might have been approved long ago if you had. So I’m sure some of them are not only less than thrilled with your compromise, but a little miffed that you ever let it get to this point. Although, arguably, yes…you can say Congress let it get to this point, but still..

On the other hand, here you are on the brink of a supposed “let’s get together, Dems and Repubs alike, and hash it all out fairly” meeting, and yet suddenly you’re laying out parameters. You can understand how some of the opposition could easily run with this as evidence that you are not really open to debate, but instead are trying to just trick them into rubber stamping what you want.

And of course it is not helping anything that both sides are already throwing around critiques of the big agreement/lack of agreement before it is accomplished…or not.

So, as I’ve said before, good luck with whatever it is that you want to accomplish. But seriously, if this does or does not pass soon could you at least declare some kind of break in talking about it? I’ve heard the words health care reform so much it is making me sick. Or maybe it is just the chill down here in Texas. We had another day of miserable weather and snow of all things! I was so happy when I heard we were coming south for a week in February, thinking I might get a little break from the sound of chattering teeth, but no such luck.

We’re pretty much working from sunup to way past sundown every day, so I may not be able to answer, but call anyway if you get a moment. If I’m too busy I’ll let it go through to voice mail, ok?



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Roy Ramsay

    Wow! Finally, writing as an art form found! Very refreshing, well articulated piece of prose here. And spot on I must say. Cheers!

    February 24, 2010 at 11:00 am |
  2. Nancy Duci Denofio

    President Obama talks, but never informs. You're right, it's like giving too many talks (speeches) and the more you say the less one listens. I thought a President was to be informed, and ready to share that information with the people. I don't want to mention the word HCR because I read it makes you sick, so I won't. But imagine, I started out in DC during the 90's to educate the people, to provide adequate HC for all. And, here we are, two parties facing each other around a table, a pitcher of water, glasses filled, papers scattered about, and no one knows what America needs... I believe it is time we the people can give our two cents and both sides listen, snickering is so darn low. I don't believe this forum will address any important issues in either proposed change to any bill.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  3. Tim Gibson

    Tex-Mex migas may be popular and delicious within a confined circle, being hard to find in the majority of the nation, even with the meatless version of the season. The chest rubbing of barbecue on the hill cannot compare to the real stuff on the road. Not even when rival teams compete for the ultimate prize and title.

    Now Obama attempts to step forward from his roadside stand, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, to assume credit for that wonderful flavor HE found at local down home establishments where the hospitality is more abundant than corn on the cob.

    The underdog coming out strong in the final round may make for good FLAT screen time when an upset results in an expected win when a lack of knowledge in the ingredients prove disastrous, and the presentation is all over the place which distracts from the dish.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  4. C. Fasano

    This comment pertains to the Toyota reliability issues. As I watch the proceedings, I have noticed that the Toyota representatives discuss interim fixes, but no root cause. Randomly testing in the research laboratory is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

    It is vital for the company to find all field vehicles with the problem. Then, a Pareto chart after evaluation gives the frequency of possible failure modes. For instance, what percentage is due to the carpet interference, electrical or both? This information should be given to the Commitee.

    In the Root Cause Analysis, they should ask "Why doesn't the failure occur in all vehicles?". If they think there problem is fixed for a 100% failure rate, then a small number of vehicles can be tested for evaluating the fix. However, if it is only 2%, then a large number of tests must be conducted to evaluate the repair.

    Moreover, when in the vehicle life do the problems present themselves? If they make a change and think it is a fix, then they should present Weibull Analysis to compare the time to failure.

    If they are successful in finding these possible causes, then the failure mode or modes should be repeated at the test facilities to verify the problem and the timing to implement the engineering changes.

    February 24, 2010 at 9:54 am |