In an ABC News interview with Diane Sawyer, the president feigns a mea culpa on shutting out C-SPAN. It might have been more convincing if Ms. Sawyer hadn't taken him at his word. That triggered an abrupt "clarification" from Obama.
Okay. He actually says "A mistake I made." But . . . Sawyer must have forgotten to drink her pre-interview Kool-aid. The common-sense center of her brain was still functioning:
SAWYER: Health care -- going forward, should all the conversations, all the meetings be on C-SPAN?Now I think it's my responsibility and I'll be speaking to this at the State of the Union, to own up to the fact that the process didn't run the way I ideally would like it to and that we have to move forward in a way that recaptures that sense of opening things up more.
OBAMA: [laughing] You know, I think your question points out to a legitimate mistake that I made during the course of the year, and that is that we had to make so many decisions quickly in a very difficult set of circumstances that after awhile, we started worrying more about getting the policy right than getting the process right. But I had campaigned on process. Part of what I had campaigned on was changing how Washington works, opening up transparency and I think it is -- I think the health care debate as it unfolded legitimately raised concerns not just among my opponents, but also amongst supporters that we just don't know what's going on. And it's an ugly process and it looks like there are a bunch of back room deals.
He uses the language of apology -- own up, legitimate mistake, responsibility -- but finesses it carefully to lay the blame for the real problem on Congress and its "ugly" processes. His "mistake" is that he was not able to change them.
SAWYER: A lot of people think you must say at the end of the day, this is not who I was in 2008, these deals with Nebraska, with Florida...
OBAMA: Let's hold on a second, Diane. I mean, I think that this gets into a big mush. So let's just clarify. I didn't make a bunch of deals. There is a legislative process that is taking place in Congress and I am happy to own up to the fact that I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked. So that's point number one.
And by the way, he didn't answer her question --"should all the conversations, all the meetings be on C-SPAN?"
He promises more pseudo-responsibility-taking in tomorrow's State of the Union, just as predicted: "Obama will acknowledge some shortcomings but they will be formulated, as above, to reflect positively on himself and to subtly (or not) lay the blame on others."
Perhaps we've moved on from Bush did it to Congress did it?
*Update: Michelle Malkin, among others, takes issue with Obama's washing his hands of the deals that got Obamacare passed in the senate:
The unmitigated chutzpah here is so blinding that I don’t just need sunglasses to protect my eyes. I need blackout curtains. Watch President Obama blame Congress for Demcare bribery and sabotage of transparency. As if Rahm and all the senior goons in the White House weren’t twisting arms and cracking heads to ensure that the deal met their boss’s timeline. As if the Cadillac tax break for unions hadn’t been hashed out at 1600 Pennsylvania.More from John McCormack: Obama Didn't Sign Off on the Cornhusker Kickback?
Video of the interview here, transcript here. Jake Tapper has more.
Stock up on the marmalade. From the Cook Political Report via Jennifer Rubin:
If this level remains constant, you can count on the Democratic majority in the House being toast this fall.Jim Geraghty:
Those Stupid Voters! They Don't Even Realize How Awesome Obama Is!Fred Barnes sees Obama on the brink of a crackup:
Joe Klein can't believe that our excellent government has to put up with such idiots as the general populace:
Absolutely amazing poll results from CNN today about the $787 stimulus package: nearly three out of four Americans think the money has been wasted. On second thought, they may be right: it's been wasted on them.
The populism continued the next day in a speech in Ohio. “We want our money back,” he said, regarding banks that received bailout funds. “We want our money back! And we’re going to get your money back – every dime, each and every dime.”
This was the language of a rattled president in search of enemies to scapegoat. Obama didn’t mention that all but one of the major banks have paid back the bailout money with interest. There’s a word for this kind of rhetoric: Unpresidential.
Baseball Crank tweets:
I hope our Winter Olympians do well so we don't have to listen to Obama complain that he inherited them from Bush.h/t: Pundit
Linked at Michelle Malkin (buzzworthy)
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