Sunday, September 13, 2009

Obama '60 Minutes' Interview Transcript (9-13-09)

Read the complete transcript. Excerpt below:

KROFT: Do you think you changed some minds? Do you think you picked up some votes this week?

OBAMA: Well, here's a conversation I had with one of my advisors early on in this process: he said, 'I've been in this town a long time. I think this is the year we're gonna get healthcare done. But I guarantee you this will be pronounced dead at least four or five times before we finally get a bill passed.'"

KROFT: You're not getting much support from the Republicans and you've got some problems with people in your own party. Do you have enough votes to get a healthcare bill passed right now?

OBAMA: I believe that we will have enough votes to pass not just any healthcare bill, but a good healthcare bill that helps the American people, reduces costs, actually over the long-term controls our deficit. I'm confident that we've got that. Now, you're right.

So far we haven't gotten much cooperation from Republicans. And I think there're some who see this as a replay of 1993-94. You know, young president comes in, proposes healthcare. It crashes and burns and then the Republicans use that to win back the House in the subsequent election. And I think there are some people who are dusting off that playbook. In terms of the Democratic Party, they all understand we have to make this happen. We're not gonna get a better opportunity to solve our healthcare issues than we have right now. And that's why I'm confident that in the end we will get this done.

KROFT: One of the things that you said when you ran for president was that one of your talents was to be able to get people in a room with divergent opinions who were…yelling and screaming at each other. Get them to sit down and come to an agreement. Have you tried that on healthcare?

OBAMA: Yeah. Well, we tried very early on.

KROFT: Why hasn't it worked?

OBAMA: Well, I think right now, you've got just a political environment where there are those in the Republican Party who think the best thing to do is just to kill reform. That that will be good politics. And then there are some people who sincerely wanna see somethin' done, but have very different views and what I've tried to do is to make sure those in the latter category who don't just wanna kill something but actually wanna get somethin' done, that we are bringing them in and as open to their ideas as possible.

So for example, you know, tort reform. That's not something that historically has been popular in my party. But on Wednesday I specifically said that I think we can work together on a bipartisan basis to do something to reduce defensive medicine. Where doctors are worrying about lawsuits instead of worrying about patient care.

- Videos of the interview are here.

The Death of Man Who Saved 1 Billion People Ignored by Media

You want to know whats wrong with the world, especially America. Norman Borlaug, is credited with saving hundreds of millions of people from starvation and you probably never heard of him. He died yesterday with very little acknowledgment. Conversely, Ellen DeGeneres, who was named the new judge on American Idol, received far greater press coverage. Is it any wonder that this planet is going to hell-in-a-handbasket:

Norman Borlaug, the father of the "green revolution" who won the Nobel peace prize for his role in combating world hunger, has died at the age of 95, a spokesman for Texas A&M University said today.

Borlaug won the Nobel in 1970 for his contributions to the science of high-yield crop varieties and bringing other agricultural innovations to the developing world. Many experts credit the green revolution with averting global famine.

Thanks to the revolution, world food production more than doubled between 1960 and 1990. In Pakistan and India, two of the nations that benefited most from the new crop varieties, grain yields more than quadrupled over the period.

"More than any other single person of his age, he has helped to provide bread for a hungry world," the Nobel committee chairman, Aase Lionaes, said in presenting the award to Borlaug.

"We would like his life to be a model for making a difference in the lives of others and to bring about efforts to end human misery for all mankind," his children said in a statement after Borlaug died at his home in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday.

Another Tea Party Lie Exposed: D.C. Protest Crowd Much Smaller

The virulent anti-Obama hate groups got caught in another lie (add it to the birther, deather fabrications). They tried getting away with another one by claiming the size of yesterday's crowds in Washington - according to one account at 2 million! The lie has been exposed:

For the folks who believe Saturday's Washington Mall protest is a harbinger of political change, crowd size obviously matters. Unfortunately, they couldn't get their numbers straight.

Earlier in the day, Senator Jim DeMint, (R-SC) said the New York Times was reporting that only about 500 people had showed up at the Mall. (Go to the 1:17 mark to hear his spiel.) On cue, the crowd lustily booed at the mention of this most elite of East Coast elite media institutions.

Where DeMint read that story remains a mystery. Seconds after hearing his claim, I clicked over to the Times piece by Jeff Zeleny which noted in the headline that "thousands" had turned out for the rally. Here was his lede:

"A sea of protesters filled the west lawn of the Capitol and spilled onto the National Mall on Saturday in the largest rally against President Obama since he took office, a culmination of a summer-long season of protests that began with opposition to a health care overhaul and grew into a broader dissatisfaction with government." Sure sounds like more than 500.

But DeMint's exaggeration was just a warm-up. Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, the conservative organization behind the event, told the protesters that ABC News was reporting that 1 million to 1.5 million people had showed up. At the same time, the U.K.'s Daily Mail put out an estimate of up to 2 million people attending the day's festivities.

At that point, the floodgates of enthusiasm washed through the blogosphere. Predictable cheerleader Michelle Malkin wrote that she heard the turnout was estimated at 2 million. (She wasn't at the event but that didn't stop her from hitting the "publish" button.) By Saturday night, however, ABC printed a story denying it had ever reported the 1 to 1.5 million number. (Malkin later published an acknowledgment that FreedomWorks was in error.)

Here are some other quotes, including right wing sources that belie the ridiculous 1 or 2 million claim:
But here are some other media reports:
– The Wall Street Journal:
Tens of thousands of demonstrators descended on Capitol Hill Saturday, protesting the expansion of government spending and illustrating the network of conservative activists that has emerged in opposition to President Barack Obama’s policies.

…A spokesman for D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services estimated the crowd at “in excess of 75,000″ people. Local and federal law enforcement authorities don’t provide crowd estimates.

Tens of thousands of people marched from the shadow of the White House to the footsteps of the US Capitol today to protest against President Barack Obama and his “big government” policies.

–Great Britain’s Sky News (Murdoch owned):
Tens of thousands of people have taken part in a protest against Barack Obama’s plans to reform healthcare in the US.

–The AP:
Tens of thousands of protesters fed up with government spending marched to the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, showing their disdain for the president’s health care plan with slogans such as “Obamacare makes me sick” and “I’m not your ATM.”

Tens of thousands of people have marched from the White House to Capitol Hill in Washington to protest against Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms.

U.S. President Barack Obama continued to promote his national health-care plan on Saturday, promising to “get this right,” while tens of thousands of marchers denounced the proposal outside the U.S. Capitol building in Washington.

There are many more. But if you do a web search you will find that reports mirror what was said on land and broadcast radio yesterday: the rally attracted “tens of thousands.” Other figures are either erroneous or inflated for political reasons.

Pawlenty on ABC This Week: Transcript (9-13-09)

Read the complete transcript for ABC's This Week. Excerpt below:

STEPHANOPOULOS: And let's begin our own debate here in the studio. I'm joined by Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services in Kansas. She's joined here in the studio by Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, and Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota.

And Governor Pawlenty, let me begin with you, because after the speech on Thursday night, the president says he's going to get this done. After the speech on Thursday night, you suggested perhaps invoking the Tenth Amendment, which reserves powers to the states, if indeed this does pass. What exactly are you saying? There is a movement to actually nullify health care if it passes?

PAWLENTY: Well, George, in the legal sense, I think the courts have addressed these Tenth Amendment issues, but more in the political sense, in the common sense arena, we need to have a clear understanding of what the federal government does well and what should be reserved to the states.

We have essentially Obamacare that's been deployed in two states in major ways. One is in Tennessee. We have a Democratic governor, Phil Bredesen, said hey, look, we tried this cost savings as a way to fund a major overhaul of health care; it didn't work. He's in the news this morning saying, you know, don't go down that path.

We have another state, Massachusetts, who tried essentially the same thing. They have the most expensive health care in the country. They have increasing waiting lines, and it's not working.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So just to be clear, are you suggesting that any parts of the plan as the president has laid it out are unconstitutional?

PAWLENTY: Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a legal issue. I was raising it as much as a practical matter, that there are some things that the federal government shouldn't do, doesn't do well, and should leave to the states.

[...]STEPHANOPOULOS: Another controversy -- let me bring in -- go on to another subject, another controversy the president brought up the other night was he said that no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.

And this is connected to the public option, Governor Pawlenty, because many supporters of the pro-life movement, anti-abortion activists have said, no, that's not true. That the public option that is being considered so far in the House will actually fund abortions.

PAWLENTY: Well, there's an easy way to resolve this. There's a dispute. So just be clear in the bill. If the president is embracing the idea that public monies and public systems won't be used to fund abortions, then we should say that.

And the pro-life perspective on this has been viewed by both and the AP as having merit. So this is not something that people are just making up. There's legitimate concern about it. But it can and should be clarified.

Summers: Unemployment will "Remain Unacceptably High for a few Years"

The White House's top economist adviser, Larry Summers, made a statement in an interview (read the transcript below) that can only be considered a shocking admission. This administration is acknowledging that they are failing to put the American people back to work again. So what was the stimulus package for? You're telling me that you gave Wall St. almost a $1 trillion in our money and you can't put Americans to work? That's unacceptable:

President Obama’s chief economic adviser has indicated that he expects unemployment to stay at elevated levels for “a few years”. In a candid interview with Nightly Business Report (click on the links for a video or a transcript), National Economic Council Director Larry Summers did not express much hope for a quick drop in unemployment:
After Lehman, the economic discussion was whether recession would turn into depression. Today, the economic discussion is when the recession is going to end, and most experts are looking for significant economic growth in the third and fourth quarters of the year. So I think we’ve come a long way. At the same time, with unemployment well above nine percent, likely to remain unacceptably high for a few years, no one can be satisfied with where we are. We’ve got a great deal of work to do, making sure to do stronger financial regulation. This just can’t happen again. Making sure this expansion is as robust, as firmly grounded as we possibly can.

When asked what further actions the Obama Administration has planned to address the unemployment situation, Mr. Summers added the following comments:
The administration’s economic overall program, the Recovery Act, has operated and functioned more rapidly, I think, than any economic expansion program in memory, but as yet, well under half of the funds under it are dispersed. They’re going to be dispersed going forward–and dispersed at a growing rate.

Essentially, this interview did not deviate greatly from the talking points made by numerous other Obama Administration officials, except for the fact that Mr. Summers seemed more candid regarding an extended period of persistently high unemployment.