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Obama agenda: A new health message

"With imminent House and Senate approval of health care reform legislation proving elusive, Obama again is taking his pitch right to the people. This time, the president is traveling to two politically important states that he won last fall after decades of Republican dominance, North Carolina and Virginia."

The Washington Post: "President Obama on Wednesday will unveil a new message highlighting eight ways that health care consumers would be treated better by insurance companies if his reform efforts pass, a White House aide said."

In an interview with Time magazine, Obama talks about the public option vs. co-op. Obama on the public option: "I would say … actually we defined it fairly clearly in terms of what we thought would work best. What I said was, is that it shouldn't be something that's simply a taxpayer-subsidized system that wasn't accountable, but rather had to be self-sustaining through premiums and that had to compete with private insurers."

On whether a co-op would fit that definition: "Well, I think in theory you can imagine a co-operative meeting that definition. Obviously sort of the legal structure of it is less important than practically how can it operate. There are concerns that in the past, attempts at setting up co-ops have not been successful because they just haven't been able to get off the ground; sort of the start-up energy involved may not exist if you're doing a state-by-state co-op effort as opposed to a broad national plan."

"The Obama administration is threatening to veto the House's defense spending bill over $485 million in funds for several new helicopters to fly the president on short trips from the White House," The Hill reports, adding, "The threat comes after President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates canceled the program earlier this year amid much fanfare as a symbol of responsible defense spending under the new administration."

Who knew? Obama appears in a pre-taped clip for George Lopez's new TBS late-night show premiering in November. "George, you need to change late night. That's the kind of change I can believe in."

Video: Tom Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, tells CNBC President Obama is on the right track for trade with China, but his approach to health care is "a big mistake."

Turning to foreign policy… "The United States and China ended two days of high-level talks with few concrete results, although both sides are hopeful that connections forged among senior officials will help them work together better to fix the world's toughest problems."

And the New York Daily News reports that Hillary Clinton's

"failed presidential bid is now $1 million in the black, and her old Senate campaign committee has $2.1 million in the bank, much of it transferred in from the presidential account. The former First Lady paid eight staffers nearly $100,000 in the second quarter of the year to tend to the remains of her political empire. She officially pulled out of the political arena in January when she became secretary of state. But Clinton's campaign Web site continues to accept contributions. Democratic operatives were surprised at the size of the operation. 'She's got eight?' said one Democrat. 'Can I get a job there?' By comparison, Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is up for reelection next year, had just three people on staff last quarter."