"Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag accused Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf of 'overstepping' in a Web post Saturday, escalating the battle between the Obama administration and Republicans over the White House's conduct toward the CBO. The charge was leveled after Elmendorf posted a blog entry Saturday that suggested a new Obama proposal to create an independent board to reduce Medicare payments would save $2 billion over 10 years, a small sum compared to the overall cost overruns of the program." Orszag, a former CBO director, accused Elmendorf of playing into a stereotype that the CBO often overestimates cost and underestimates savings.
On Wednesday, Obama will participate in a town hall meeting on health care in Bristol, VA, a town familiar to him as he kicked off his general election campaign there in 2008. Writing in June of that year, Jonathan Martin of Politico wrote that a Bristol appearance was "a pragmatically strategic move," as "Bristol is the sole media market in the vast southwest part of Virginia."
The Obama administration has gone out of its way to not repeat the mistakes the Clinton administration made. But Ezra Klein points out one thing that Clinton's effort got right: competition among health insurers. "A Washington Post-ABC News poll last month showed that 62 percent of Americans support the choice of a public insurance option. It's one of the most popular aspects of health-care reform. But if the public option would drive private insurers out of business and reduce consumer choice, the numbers flip, with 58 percent opposing it. What people support, in other words, is not public or private insurance, but choice in insurance. That, along with protection from escalating costs, is the inviolable principle of health-care reform."
Video: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discusses President Barack Obama's push for health care reform with NBC's David Gregory on "Meet the Press."
The AP: "Senate postponement of work on health care until September gives interest groups on both sides an entire month to whip up supporters, and pushes off crucial votes on the overhaul effort until fall -- when people are likely to refocus on the issue."
Turning to foreign affairs… "Israel dug in its heels Monday in a disagreement with the United States over a potential military strike to thwart Iran's progress toward a possible nuclear weapon, as the visiting American defense chief urged patience," the AP says. "'We clearly believe that no option should be removed from the table,' Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said pointedly, following discussions with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates." Though the U.S. also continues to state that no options are off the table. The Obama administration has, however, stressed an increased diplomatic push with Iran.
The Boston Globe: "The Obama administration is poised to dramatically increase funding aimed at helping Iranian activists circumvent government controls on the Internet, according to Congressional aides, marking a new wave of US support for Web-based dissent at a time when the Iranian regime has clamped down on street protests. The funding, which is set to double from $15 million in 2009 to $30 million next year for Iran and other countries that block free speech on the Internet, puts the US government in an unlikely alliance with counterculture computer activists."