With President Obama preparing an address to a joint session of Congress next week, hoping to reclaim the health care debate, his aides have
indicated that he will be far more “prescriptive” in detailing what he wants included in the final legislation.
The president’s top strategist, David Axelrod, has been a little cryptic in numerous interviews this week about how much legislative detail the
president will offer. Mr. Axelrod and other top aides say that the message will be clear — as will the specifics of the president’s agenda to get
a health care overhaul through the Congress.
With three bills circulating in the House, and two under draft in the Senate, the idea that Mr. Obama would now present his own bill seems, to many,
moot. It appears to be far too late for that.
But the question lingers: Should the Obama administration have delivered its own legislative package at the beginning of this process, last winter and
spring, rather than leaving all the details to various, often dueling, Congressional committees?
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Especially interesting is the video clip in the middle of this article in which Bill Clinton discusses his and Hillary's efforts to produce a health
care reform bill. People are now criticizing Obama for not presenting a complete bill to Congress but instead leaving Congress to work on the details
of legislation themselves. But Hillary Clinton, during the Clinton administration, was also told by Congress that she must present a complete bill to
the legislators and so produced a huge, unwieldy document that was then rejected on those grounds. Detailed as her bill was, it still reduced the
amount of paperwork that already existed on health care legislation, but still it was defeated.
Clinton states, in this clip, that Americans are basically optimistic people and will get behind legislation if it does succeed, at least in part, in
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