In a nationally televised event, President Obama plans to speak before a joint session of Congress Wednesday evening. Here is what I have read about the reason for the speech:
the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Obama’s planned address to a joint session of Congress this week “will insert the president into the heated debate in a way he has avoided all summer.” The Washington Post informed readers that the “White House is scrambling to take control of the health-care debate after watching from the sidelines.”
I may be getting on in years, but, I don’t remember the part about avoiding debate all summer, or the part about watching from the sidelines. So, I decided to do a bit of investigating, thinking that perhaps I had missed the entire summer. Well, here is what I found.
On June 11, President Obama held a town hall meeting in Green Bay, Wisconsin during which he discussed health care.
On June 24, the President appeared on a half hour infomercial on ABC Nightly News with Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson, that related solely to his health care plan. Remember, that was the one where he told a questioner that her 100 year old otherwise “spry” mother should just take a pill…no hip surgery for her.
On July 22, the President held a nationally televised prime time news conference touting his health care plan (more about this later). Remember, that was the one where he told us that doctors were unnecessarily removing kids’ tonsils.
On July 26, health care reform was the subject of the President’s weekly radio address.
Of course, those were in addition to his town hall meeting with AARP, his speech to the American Medical Association, his speech to the American Bar Association, and, the list goes on.
The White House seems to be of the opinion that the problem is the President hasn’t gotten his message to the American public, and, if he just could, the message would be embraced. But, the problem, as I see it, isn’t that the message isn’t out there, it’s that people just don’t like the message.
And, how did that nationally televised speech on July 22 go from a ratings standpoint?
Fox beat out the other networks by running “So You Think You Can Dance” instead of his [July 22] prime-time press conference.
Yup, me thinks it’s the message.
Update (Jim): Speaking of Fox, Bret Baier outlines the number of speeches Obama has given since his inauguration … and the number of times he mentioned health care. It’s a lot. Although the Sound Off Sister is more detailed, this is a nice little primer.