Based on the 53 minutes and answers to 15 question, here's where President Obama's mind seems to be at:
1. Obviously, he wanted to send a direct message to Iranian people without intervening. (Non-intervening interventionalism.) He is still not willing to say that the election was illegitimate. He is still willing to talk to this regime, but he didn't say who that regime included. (Strategic ambiguity.) I think the key to understanding where he's at on Iran now: ""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." The soundbite will be the response to the Neda murder video. That's what the world -- and the Iranian protesters -- will hear.
2. He said the top priority for health care reform is cutting costs. During the campaign, it was about universal coverage, which is now his number two priority. The change reflects current political realities, as well as Obama's evolving understanding of what real reform would mean. The personal stories he hears still touch him, as he made clear. He refuses to say (at least at this point) that he would veto a health care plan without a "public plan" option. He did, however, give his strongest defense of that concept to date. Seems to me that he supports a public plan option but will not insist on one. And his message to Congress about costs couldn't be more clear: the CBO had better score your final proposals as deficit-neutral.
3. On the economy, Obama acknowledged that predicting the future was difficult, and that his administration's projections haven't come to fruition. He acknowledged that at least one of his proposals involving mortgage assistance wasn't working as well as he had hoped. But he's not ready to say that the country needs a second stimulus package yet. He seems confident that, even as the unemployment rate exceeds 10% this fall, other metrics will improve.
4. His contempt for the meta-narratives of the 24-hour news cycle... He made these little digs at the press's habits, quirks and questioning style at least five times, occasionally with an edge in his voice.
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is a senior fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.