Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 12, 2010

OBAMA TO DELAY ASIA TRIP, FOCUS ON HEALTH REFORM.... The White House recently began pushing a March 18 deadline for a House vote on health care reform for a specific reason: President Obama was scheduled to leave town.

The president was set to fly to Asia on the 18th, so he encouraged House leaders to wrap things up quickly, before he departs, so he would be available for 11th-hour appeals to lawmakers. The point was to make it easier for Obama to help the House leadership get to 216 before he left.

House Dems pushed back a bit, arguing that the 18th was unrealistic. As a result, the White House announced this morning that the president will delay his departure by a few days.

President Obama is delaying his trip to Indonesia, Guam and Australia next week, an administration official said Friday, so the White House can focus on passing health care legislation in the House. [...]

In fact, the president is no longer taking First Lady Michelle Obama and their two daughters on the trip, an administration official said. The president agreed to delay his departure from March 18 to March 21, an administration official said, shortening the trip for official business only in an effort to show flexibility in the final push on health care legislation. The three-day delay effectively sets a new timetable for the House vote on the measure.

The report was confirmed in a tweet from press secretary Robert Gibbs.

So, is this good news or bad? I'm inclined to see it as a positive move. It gives Democratic leaders a little more breathing room, but still focuses the timeline. This also signals to the House -- the vote is coming, and the president is intent on making this push successful.

In case you're wondering, if there's a delay, and the votes don't materialize by Sunday the 21st, the president won't return to Washington until Friday the 26th.

Steve Benen 10:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (10)

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so 9 days until something like health care reform is actually a passed bill of legislation... yeah, sure... start the ticker...

Posted by: neill on March 12, 2010 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

So the corporate machine and their minions have a couple more days of misinformation.

Someone should let the President in on the fact that the Thanksgiving deadline has been pushed back about 10 times and the odds of them actually accomplishing this by the 21st is wishful thinking, at best.

Posted by: ScottW on March 12, 2010 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Gee, that's exactly what Joe Scarborough said he should do when he was on the Today Show this morning. There'll be arms that need twisting and he should be around to twist them. (Okay, Joe actually used the word "break" and not "twist".)

Posted by: 3reddogs on March 12, 2010 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Knowing when to hold'em

Both sides vulnerable...
The President just bid seven no-trump...

Saying in effect: It's time to slam this thing shut.
Now it is time for the Democrats to follow his lead and git'er done.

Truly, he and they, are All-In-Now.

Posted by: koreyel on March 12, 2010 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Just like all the Democrats, intentionally or not, Obama has fallen into the trap of living up to his caricature so painstakingly constructed by the Republicans.

He is the next James Earl Carter: a good man, disastrous one term Presidency, but potentially good as an ex-President.

All he has to do now is to lecture us all about national Malaise.

Posted by: gregor on March 12, 2010 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

If I were a congressman, I'd be embarrassed. You mean you chuckle-heads are so inept and this has taken so long the President feels compelled to delay his trip? Id doubt they're prone to embarrassment though.

Posted by: Rick Taylor on March 12, 2010 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with Rick Taylor on this. Great that he is staying, but what does this say about senate and congress, esp. Dems? At some point the audacity and sluggishness and wimpyness of the congress needs to be reined in, and if the president says "I am doing an important trip that has been scheduled for months and I want this done" then dammit, you figure out a way. I am sick to f***ing death of "filibuster this, process that, boo hoo, Bart Stupak is a meany head" crap. If you want to get re-elected, and want some sort of base to help this fall, and oh, by the way, do something good for the country, stop whining, and pass some good bills. From the sounds of it [and I am WAY beyond the beltway} - it sounds like some folks there are growing spines. Good for you. Work hard, and win a few - HCR, Student loans, Fin. reg. reform.

Then you have some real record to RUN ON come fall. From all appearances, Harry Reid needs to be with his family. DO NOT allow the sniveling worthless bastards who once were republicans take advantage of this. And, I am sure there are some sleazy assed repubs. who will try to do just that. Durbin, or someone, needs to stand tall, and not allow any gaps.

Get some god damn things done.

Posted by: bigtuna on March 12, 2010 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

The Democrats with arms to be twisted aren't afraid of Obama; they're only afraid of Republicans who might say something mean or nasty about them.

Posted by: qwerty on March 12, 2010 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

So, is this good news or bad? I'm inclined to see it as a positive move.

It's fun being a Village Cheerleader!

Posted by: weboy on March 12, 2010 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

It's good news. Obama has shifted into a new mode, and he's in the face of those few who would stop this legislation. It'll cost them if they don't relent.

My own estimation of him has gone up since the shift in tone. He spent a year in naive pursuit of bipartisanship, which made him look weak, but the Repubs overplayed their hand and now they look like fringe wackos who are pro-corporate, pro-rich, anti-ordinary folks. To borrow from O'Reilly.

Posted by: not a wacko on March 12, 2010 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK
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