Q15: Neda video: "It's heartbreaking. Anybody who sees it knows that there is something fundamentally unjust about that."
Q14: Af-Am unemp. rate up to 14%, Romer on targeted intervention next year: O: "Lift everyone."
Q13: O on second stimulus package: "Not yet." Reiterates my blog post yesterday on economic predictions. (Not really. Well, maybe.)
Fourth media-meta-comment. Talks about timeframes and crystal balls. Key line: "In the absence of the stimulus, it would be much worse."
Q12: Colombia policy: O gives complex answer on subject I haven't had the time to read about. Sorry.
Q 11: Obama's smoking habits. Obama admits falling off the wagon. Not in front of kids or family. 95% cured.... times where "I mess up."
That's three meta-comments about the press now.
Q10: Obama: the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform... but if employers are forced / decide to change plans...
Key political point: Obama says that if there's no reform, then people could lose more choice...
Q9: Tapper asks about non-negotiability of public plan. O: "We are still early in this process. We have not drawn lines in the sand..."
Obama's flexible here; he may draw a line later on, and he's clearly trying to balance tough regulation for insurance companies with the need to keep them on board the reform wagon. Says he takes "those advocates of free market to heart." Basic resp: if insurance company is worried about the plan, let them compete.
Q8: On Iran: "We don't know yet how this thing is going to play out. I know everybody here is on a 24 hour news cycle. I'm not."
Q7: Was O influenced by McCain/Graham pressure on Iran? O: What do you think? (i.e., he says no.) "Only I'm the President of the United States. I'm President of the United States, and I'll carry out my duties as I think is appropriate."
Obama ignores a shouted Q about whether a public plan is "non-negotiable."
Q6 A: O says public plan is "important tool" to "discipline" insurance companies. Mocks objections that insurance industry would fare.
Q6 Q & A: Q6: Obama asked public plan. A: Primary goal for O is to cut and control costs. THEN - only then - universal cov. l
Q5 Q&A: "What took you so long?" Major Garrett asking about Iran and Obama's statement of reproach. Obama: "I don't think that's accurate."
Q4 A: How Obama rates Fed's crisis handling? Bernanke "has done a fine job." Regulators missed boat early, working well now. Touts consumer protection agency, notes that it was taken away from Fed.
Q4 Q: How Obama rates Fed's crisis handling?
Q3 A: Obama: "We didn't have polling monitors on the ground." Can't say for sure. Significant Qs. Reminds Iran of int'l norms and principles.
Q3 Q: Nico Pitney channels Iranian question (WH prepped this): Under what condition would Obama accept elex of Ahmadinejad? A betrayal?
Editor's note: How is channeling a question from Iran not intervening? Obama seems to be moving closer to the intervention precipice, peering down over the cliff, dipping his foot down... hoping he doesn't fall. His answers are as interventionist as a non-interventionist policy can produce.
Q2: consequences? Intl comm. is bearing witness. Iranian gov't. shld be aware of how they handle indigenous dissent will affect future.
Q1: O engage Iran? Redline for hardline? US waiting to see what happens. Core nat sec priority = no nuke weapons. Path avail to Iran...
AmbinderSum: strong statement on Iran, still neutral on election; props to Waxman on energy; on h/c, mentions choice of docs and costs.
Obama reiterates pledge that h/c reform must be deficit neutral =10 years. Also: costs, costs, costs, costs. And costs. Finally, costs.
Obama: Ams "appalled" by sit. in Iran; US respects svrgnty of Iran; calls Iranian gov't. "blame West" strategy a tool of distraction.
Obama: "In 2009, no iron fist is strong enough to shut off the world from bearing witness to the peaceful pursuit of justice."
"Those who stand up for justice are on the right side of history."
Obama reiterates pledge that h/c reform must be deficit neutral over 10 years.
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Marc Ambinder is a former contributing editor at The Atlantic.