Obama rallies Congress to come together, pass healthcare reform

MCKinley at Sunset in July 2008

MCKinley at Sunset in July 2008

President Obama’s speech to Congress is generating mostly glowing media reviews. While some argue the President failed to provide a sufficient level of detail on his healthcare reform views, his delivery is earning widespread media praise, with a number of analysts predicting that the address will energize the debate in both the House and Senate. The Washington Post (9/10, Balz), for example, reports that the President “almost certainly will get a boost in the polls from Wednesday’s speech,” even as “much work remains.” Along similar lines, the New York Times (9/10, A42) editorializes that “the president finally found his voice,” but “will need to do more than orate. He needs to twist arms among timid Democrats in Congress to get a strong bill passed, most likely with little support from Republicans.”

In a separate report, the Washington Post (9/10, Connolly, Shear) also noted that Obama cast himself “squarely in the political center,” while the New York Times (9/10, A27, Nagourney) describes the speech as “an attempt by this still new president to display his authority to a Congress that had begun to question his fortitude, to show that he was as strong a political leader as he was a political candidate and to show that he was not — to use the shorthand of the day — another Jimmy Carter: professorial, aloof, a micromanager who perhaps was not ready to be the nation’s chief executive.” And Obama “managed to invest his case with both economic and emotional urgency…without getting bogged down in too many details.”

USA Today (9/9, Wolf) reports that “Obama used Wednesday’s speech to get specific about his plan. He endorsed tax credits for those who need help buying insurance, mandates that individuals get insurance and large companies provide it to workers or pay a fee, and a new tax on the most expensive insurance policies.”

A third story from the Washington Post (9/10, Murray, Kane) reports that the speech “gave the healthcare debate a much-needed shot of momentum, but the direct appeal won’t erase the rancor of recent months, both within the Democratic Party and among Republicans.” Yet “with Obama fully engaged, Democrats were newly confident they could deliver a bill by the end of the year.”

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