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September 02, 2009

Obama Goes All In...Will Address Joint Session Of Congress Next Week On Health Care

Consider it a follow up to Ace's earlier post.

No sitting in the Oval Office address for The One. Nope, he's taken it on down Pennsylvania Avenue.

President Obama will try to invigorate the push for health care reform during an address to a joint session of Congress next Wednesday, FOX News has learned.

The decision comes as the White House is revamping its approach, following a rocky August recess. Advisers said earlier that the president will try to reframe the debate by rallying Democrats around the partisan bills that have already advanced. In doing so, Obama appears to be abandoning hopes for a bipartisan breakthrough on health care reform.

During the speech, the president is expected to highlight the absence of a key advocate of health care reform, Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, and pledge to achieve the senator's health care goals.

The decision to hold such an address is rare. The only times in recent history that a U.S. president delivered a non-"State of the Union" address before a joint session of Congress was in September 2001, when President George W. Bush addressed the nation after the Sept. 11 attacks, and in September 1993, when President Bill Clinton used the forum to push his health care reform package.

Does he dare tie health care to 9/11 some how?

This will be interesting. Obviously this is a good forum for Obama in the sense he's at his best giving a prepared speech. The problem is, he's only really any good at giving campaign speeches and that won't play well on a policy issue and in that setting.

Moving it to the Congress means it's going to be long, a half hour at least one would think. Do people really want to listen to that? It strikes me as this will be all build up and then...what? The dividing lines will be the same. What new proposal is he going to unveil to bridge the policy gaps? Yes, he'll take back the news cycle for awhile but unless he stays at his customary lofty, above it all perch, so what? And if he gets down in the weeds and draws some lines in the sand, well, that's just going to magnify the differences, not close them.

If his big idea is dropping the public option, Obama's going to have to convince enough liberals to play ball. They'll have to accept a wink and nod that no, they can't have the 'public option' now but let's get something and then add on over time like they always do. That's probably the most dangerous part of the end game and why I think total defeat and nuking it from space is the only way to be sure it's dead.

We shouldn't forget the real heat on health care was pretty much launched by his awful press conference (at least until the whole "the cops acted stupidly" part). This strikes me as Obama overestimating his own personal charms. No matter what he says, I'm sure his pants will have a wonderful crease in them, so you know David Brooks will be happy.

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posted by DrewM. at 04:36 PM

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