The administration’s visionary emphasis on winning expansive Republican support has been replaced by a down-to-earth struggle to get a bill through the Senate. Its hopes rest in part on a different form of bipartisanship. If Washington Republicans have decided to build a wall of opposition to the stimulus, Republican governors and mayors are eager for the money Obama wants to give them. Thus Obama and his allies will be touting strong support for the stimulus from the Republican governors of California, Connecticut, Florida and Vermont. Mayors will be called upon to move House Republicans still open to persuasion."Obama Delivers Remarks at Signing of SCHIP Legislation" (WaPo):
I refuse to accept that millions of our children fail to reach their full potential because we fail to meet their basic needs. In a decent society, there are certain obligations that are not subject to tradeoffs or negotiations, and health care for our children is one of those obligations."The Action Americans Need" (Barack Obama, op-ed WaPo):
So that is why we have passed this legislation. These legislators have passed this legislation on a bipartisan basis to continue coverage for 7 million children, cover an additional 4 million children in need, and finally lift the ban on states providing insurance to legal immigrant children if they choose to do so.
Since -- since it was created more than 10 years ago, the Children's Health Insurance Program has been a lifeline for millions of children whose parents work full-time and don't qualify for Medicaid, but, through no fault of their own, don't have and can't afford private insurance.
For millions of children who fall into that gap, CHIP has provided care when they're sick and preventive services to help them stay well. This legislation will allow us to continue and build on these successes.
But, as I think everybody here will agree, this is only the first step. Because the way I see it, providing coverage to 11 million children through CHIP is a down payment on my commitment to cover every single American.
So we have a choice to make. We can once again let Washington's bad habits stand in the way of progress. Or we can pull together and say that in America, our destiny isn't written for us but by us. We can place good ideas ahead of old ideological battles, and a sense of purpose above the same narrow partisanship. We can act boldly to turn crisis into opportunity and, together, write the next great chapter in our history and meet the test of our time."Obama admission of mistake rare for presidents" (Steve Holland-Reuters):
Presidents do not like to admit mistakes. They see it as a sign of weakness. That is why it was noteworthy that Barack Obama publicly admitted making a mistake only two weeks after taking power."New Info about Organizing for America and its Plans" (Al Giordano):
Obama's slang admission that "I screwed up" in pushing ahead with Tom Daschle as U.S. health care chief despite a controversy over unpaid taxes was a sign of the new style he brings to the White House.
The suggestion that Organizing for America can simply pick up where the electoral campaign left off would only come from those who have little experience themselves organizing (or that confuse their "activism" as somehow being on the same high playing field as organizing). One of the first things an organizer does when forming a new project is prepare the core team or teams in each area or front to know the mission and organize others to carry it out. That takes a lot more than an email blast."Obama 1-on-1 with swing senators" (Politico):
One of the ways that an effective organizer succeeds is, when forming those core teams, he and she set up a series of small bite-sized tests to find out which volunteers really are ready and committed to carry out the mission and to simultaneously weed out those that suffer from the "flake factor" (those who say they'll be involved but in the end, for whatever reason or none at all, aren't there to do the lifting when time comes). That's a technique that all the thousands of trained organizers from the 2008 campaign know very well.
With 58 votes in their caucus, Senate Democrats have a solid majority for the more than $900 billion package, but they need Republican help to get the 60 needed to waive budget points of order. Even as he called McCain, Obama met with three senators whose votes he wants: Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat unhappy with the total cost of the package.Barack Obama
"It was amazing," Collins told Politico of her 30 minute meeting with Obama. "President's don't do that. But it does help to be alone and have a free exchange."
"He's willing to recommend some cuts or at least not oppose cuts," she said of the president. " He told me that he wants to work with Ben Nelson and me and that his economic advisers would be in touch."
Speaking to reporters earlier outside the White House, she also stressed the urgency from Obama's standpoint.
"The president made very clear that he wants the bill, that he wants it this week and that it needs to be of sufficient size to do the job."