President Obama opened his press conference Thursday with a bold proclamation that “the repeal debate is and should be over.” But his declaration of victory in the long-running war over his health care overhaul did not last long. Only five questions later, he was forced to offer a softer, almost wistful acknowledgement of the reality that there are many more battles to wage and the debate could go on for years.
It was one of the fastest backtracks at any presidential press conference. From optimist to realist in less than 45 minutes. Obama the Optimist cited the sign-up numbers for the Affordable Care Act, the revised numbers for premium costs, and the good news on the expected life of the Medicare trust fund. Almost in awe, he declared, “This thing is working.” But Obama the Realist admitted the Republican opposition has been unchanged by every statistic he cited. The GOP, he suggested, is going through the stages of grief. “Anger and denial … we’re not at acceptance yet,” he said, though he added hopefully that his critics may get there “at some point.”
Even as the press conference was going on, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas helped make that point, tweeting, “The repeal debate is far from over.” Criticisms of the law followed quickly from both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner. Even the president told reporters that the debate may not end “until after November because it seems as if this is the primary agenda item in the Republican political platform.”
But by the end of the press conference, when reporter David M. Jackson of USA Today pressed him on how long the law will be “a political football,” the president was setting an even longer timeline. “That’s going to take more time. But it’s not for lack of trying on my part,” he admitted. He reached back for a historical analogy, noting that opponents of Medicare fought for years after that law’s 1965 passage. “So we’ve been through this cycle before. It happens each and every time we make some strides in terms of strengthening our commitments to each other and … we expand some of these social insurance programs. There’s a lot of fear-mongering and a lot of political arguments and debate, and a lot of accusations are flung back and forth about socialized medicine and the end of freedom.”
Eventually, he said, the public realizes that the law works and “then we move on.” But he acknowledged, “I don’t know how long it’s going to take.”
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When it comes to name-calling among America's upper echelon of politicians, there may be perhaps no greater spat than the one currently going on between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump. While receiving an award Tuesday night, she continued a months-long feud with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Calling him a "small, insecure moneygrubber" who probably doesn't know three things about Dodd-Frank, she said he "will NEVER be president of the United States," according to her prepared remarks."We don't know what Trump pays in taxes because he is the first presidential nominee in 40 years to refuse to disclose his tax returns. Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out that he’s worth a lot less money than he claims." It follows a long-line of Warren attacks over Twitter, Facebook and in interviews that Trump is a sexist, racist, narcissistic loser. In reply, Trump has called Warren either "goofy" or "the Indian"—referring to her controversial assertion of her Native American heritage.
The House on Tuesday voted 403-12 "to pass an overhaul to the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time in four decades. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act aims to answer years of complaints that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the necessary authority to oversee and control the thousands of chemicals being produced and sold in the United States. It also significantly clamps down on states’ authorities, in an effort to stop a nationwide patchwork of chemical laws that industry says is difficult to deal with."
Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."
Bernie Sanders "signed a letter Tuesday morning requesting a full and complete check and recanvass of the election results in Kentucky ... where he trails Hillary Clinton by less than one-half of 1 percent of the vote. The Sanders campaign said it has asked the Kentucky secretary of state to have election officials review electronic voting machines and absentee ballots from last week's primary in each of the state's 120 counties.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) “is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and … the Justice Department” for potentially improper contributions to his 2013 campaign, including while he was a Clinton Global Initiative board member. ... Among the McAuliffe donations that drew the interest of the investigators was $120,000 from” former Chinese legislator Wang Wenliang. “U.S. election law prohibits foreign nationals from donating to … elections. … But Wang holds U.S. permanent resident status.”