Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Can he make a deal?

President Barack Obama hits the road again today to stump for healthcare reform.

In a throwback to the presidential campaign, he will hold town-hall style meetings at a high school in Raleigh, North Carolina and at a supermarket in Bristol, Virginia.USA/

Obama will try to explain and drum up support for his top legislative priority — an overhaul of the healthcare system. He wants to end discrimination and close coverage gaps that currently exist in the current health insurance system.

The president had originally wanted to see a deal before lawmakers left for their month-long August recess but that is appearing unlikely. Members of the Senate Finance Committee, who are working on the financial details of a proposed deal, have made some progress and are hopeful of reaching agreement soon.

On the business front one of the biggest stories out today is that Microsoft and Yahoo reached a deal on a Web search partnership that aims to compete with market leader Google. Yahoo dropped in pre-market trading but what will happen to Microsoft and Google shares?

And for your morning laugh — check out the perils of relying on GPS when you misspell the name of the town you’re aiming for.

The First Draft: Deja vu – it’s China and healthcare again

Presidents are never afraid of beating the same drum twice.

Today, President Barack Obama continues his quest to boost support for healthcare reform with a “tele-town hall” at AARP. Then he talks about relations with China, just like on Monday.

With Obama’s drive for healthcare reform stalled in the Senate and the House — even though both chambers are controlled by his fellow Democrats — the president is looking to ordinary Americans to push harder for an overhaul of the system.

Democrats have backed away from a vow to take a vote on the legislation before the month-long August recess but lawmakers in both chambers are still working on the bill. This afternoon, Obama heads to AARP headquarters to take questions from senior citizens about health insurance and his proposed reforms.

The First Draft: China and healthcare

Topics of the day today: more healthcare and U.S.-Chinese relations

President Barack Obama speaks at the beginning of a two-day U.S.-Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington, then top Chinese and U.S. officials will work on developing a new framework for U.S.-Chinese relations.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner are among the high-level officials taking part in the meeting. The duo wrote an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal talking about the need for working with China.

HEALTHCARE/GRASSROOTSCongress is still working on healthcare reform, although Obama has eased up on his August deadline for working out a deal. Democratic lawmakers will be working on ironing out differences within their own party. Obama has learned that although both the House and the Senate have big Democratic majorities, that’s not always enough to get legislation passed.

The miracle of Obamacare

President Barack Obama is pretty smart, but can he really achieve the impossible?

Extend healthcare coverage to 47 million uninsured people without rationing coverage to the rest of the country, while at the same time actually reducing healthcare inflation.

Finance the whole thing without hurting the middle class or pushing up the budget deficit. Achieve one of the biggest reforms in American history, something that so famously eluded his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton — and get it all done without any pain.

The First Draft: attention deficit

The suspense has been suspended.

The Senate has ruled out voting on healthcare before the August recess, which puts the brakes on the momentum that President Barack Obama has tried to build.

White House enforcer Rahm Emanuel tells NPR he thinks there will be healthcare legislation by the end of the year for Obama to sign into law.


Wishing rarely makes it so in Washington, and all the pre-recess White House arm-twisting did not produce legislation before the break.