Tags: rove | obama | healthcare

Rove: Obama's TV Healthcare Push Big Mistake

Monday, 28 Sep 2009 12:50 PM

By Dan Weil

Karl Rove criticizes President Obama for adopting the same sort of strategy he recommended for President Bush – constant public appearances.

The former White House senior advisor to Bush says Obama overdid it by appearing on five talk shows the same day this month to revive his embattled healthcare reform plan.

“It sounded to White House advisers like a good idea. Put President Barack Obama on five Sunday morning talk shows. This would focus attention on health care, re-establish momentum, and show off Mr. Obama's passion, intelligence, and persuasive abilities. It didn't work,” Rove wrote in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

“Mr. Obama made a classic mistake of politicians on a downward-bending arc. He jumps out in front of the cameras without having something fresh to offer.”

The result, Rove says, is that Obama “was on the defensive and failed to win over the slice of America that opposes his plans. His refusal to sit down with Fox News's Chris Wallace made him look petulant if not fearful, and his answers weakened his credibility.”

Rove particularly took Obama to task for his stance on taxes.

“Take, for example, his dustup on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" over whether requiring Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine was a tax,” Rove wrote.

“Legislation in the House and Senate defines it as a tax, and Mr. Stephanopoulos said it fit Merriam-Webster's definition of a tax. But the president insisted it was not a tax.”

The reason, Rove insists: “That's because by favoring the mandate Mr. Obama is breaking his pledge not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year. He already signed a cigarette tax increase in February, but this tax could be as much as $3,800 a year for a family and is therefore a more material breach of his promise.”

For Rove, this does seem to be a case of “Do what I say, not what I do.”

Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer wrote in his memoir that “Rove was of the belief that the president needed to be out speaking every day no matter what the subject.”

In “Speech-Less: Tales of a White House Survivor,” Latimer continues. “Sometimes Bush would be at the podium four separate times in twenty-four hours, talking about the war in Iraq, the Olympics, the economy, or the birth of Thomas Jefferson.

“And the next day there might be another speech on Iraq, one more on the economy and maybe a salute to Irish Americans. This obviously made it hard to broadcast a coherent message.”

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