I was just on a conference call with President Obama. I know, right?
Anyhow they're clearly ramping up their push for healthcare reform and see the progressive blogosphere as an important part of that. On the call the president made it clear (again) that he wants a bill sooner rather than later and that he sees those interested in delay as agents of the status quo. The President also noted Sen. Demint's recent "Waterloo" statements (although he referred to them as comments from "a senator" and didn't identify Demint by name) as playing politics with reform, and not what he's interested in (ie. actual change).
I didn't get to ask the president my question directly, but I did ask David Axelrod if they thought it was a mistake letting congress take the lead on this issue for so long. Axelrod answered that he thought we were "closer today than before" and within "70% agreement" because the Obama team didn't arrive in Washington with what they wanted written on "stone tablets", a clear allusion to what happened with President Clinton. He says that the President "allowed the process to work" and the push beginning last week and ongoing until the bill is on his desk is a clear sign that the process is "in another phase".
All in all, pretty good stuff from the White House, hopefully next time I press the buttons hard enough to get a question in (no, it won't be "President Obama: Great president, or greatest president"). I should note that the questions from my fellow bloggers (like Cheryl Contee of Jack and Jill Politics, Joe Sudbay of Americablog, and John Amato of Crooks and Liars, among others) were far more interesting and substantive than what passes for journalism from the mainstream press during the daily press conferences and the presidential ones.
More coverage of the President's blogger conference call:
>> Obama Still Open to Using Reconciliation Process
>> Obama Blogger Conference Call On Health Care
>> Obama Calls On Bloggers To Keep Health Care Pressure On Congress
>> Audio: President Obama's Conference Call with Liberal Bloggers: John Amato asks Congress to work through the August recess
>> Obama's conference call with bloggers on health care reform
>> Obama tells progressive bloggers that ‘a robust public option would be the best way to go.’
>> Obama: ‘I Continue To Believe That A Robust Public Option Would Be The Best Way To Go’
>> Blogger Call with President Obama