"In pursuing his proposed overhaul of the health care system, President Obama has consistently presented himself as aloof from the legislative fray, merely offering broad principles. Prominent among them is the creation of a strong, government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers and press for lower costs," the New York Times writes. "Behind the scenes, however, Mr. Obama and his advisers have been quite active, sometimes negotiating deals with a degree of cold-eyed political realism potentially at odds with the president's rhetoric."
The AP looks at who the health-care protesters are: "Many of those raising their voices and fists at the town halls have never been politically active. Their frustration was born earlier this year with government bailouts and big spending bills, then found an outlet in the anti-tax Tea Parties in April and has simmered in the punishing recession. In some cases, it's been nurtured by talk radio and Glenn Beck's 9-12 Project, which seeks to unify Americans around nine values such as honesty, hope and sincerity and 12 principles… There is an element of organized opposition, just as on the other side unions and Obama's political organization are trying to turn out supporters to town halls and other events. The insurance industry lobby, America's Health Insurance Plans, is encouraging workers to attend town hall events to make their views known. So is the group Conservatives for Patients' Rights."
Politico's Roger Simon: "The White House also needs the opponents of health care reform to look as nutty and extreme as possible. Most Americans are repelled by extremism. Obama's opponents want to call his reforms 'Hitler-like'? Fine. That helps Obama."
Roll Call: "The White House acknowledged Wednesday that President Barack Obama misspoke Tuesday when he said AARP had endorsed health care reform legislation. Obama, who made the comment at a town-hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., meant to say that AARP was generally supportive of 'comprehensive reform' and backs a deal between drugmakers and the Senate Finance Committee for the industry to provide $80 billion to fund legislation and drug purchases under Medicare, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs."
The Hill: "A former health insurance executive says the disruptions taking place at lawmakers' town halls around the country are the result of stealth efforts by health insurance companies. Wendell Potter, a former CIGNA vice president, detailed what he said were past covert efforts by the industry. Though he said he does not have specifics for what is occurring now, because he's been out of the business for a year, it follows the same pattern." He said at a Capitol Hill news conference, "The industry is up to the same dirty tricks this year. When you hear someone complaining about traveling down a 'slippery slope to socialism,' some insurance flack, like I used to be, wrote that."
"Federal counterterror agents are probing the threat posed by resurgent domestic militia groups focusing their anti-government rage at President Obama, U.S. officials told the Daily News Wednesday. Word of the feds' new push to get a grip on fringe extremists - who faded into the background after the 9/11 attacks - came as a new watchdog report warned militias are making a racist 'comeback' thanks to Obama's election... Some hate groups also are opposing Obama's health care reform efforts as a form of Socialism, a top federal agent said."
Time magazine profiles Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
The AP says, "Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the nation's top car salesman in recent weeks, has cited the Obama administration's best-seller list of mostly smaller, fuel-saving cars like the Ford Focus to describe the success of the Cash for Clunkers rebate program. But what LaHood and other administration officials usually don't mention is that some trucks and sport-utility vehicles that get less than 20 miles per gallon, like the Ford F-150 truck and one version of the Cadillac SRX Crossover, also are being purchased with the new government subsidies. Both are bulky vehicles weighing more than 6,000 pounds when loaded that boast at least 248 horsepower."