At least based on the behavior of White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs (a person who seems so shockingly bad at his job I often wonder if he has any authorization whatsoever for his assertions), the White House refuses to discuss in any way the president’s broken promise to ensure open, C-Span televised healthcare negotiations.
On Wednesday, Gibbs was asked again about the C-Span commitment. The story had gotten pretty big in the intervening time, and presumably Gibbs had had a chance to familiarize himself with it. So reporters tried for a second day to get him to comment on the president’s commitment to holding televised health-care talks. Gibbs’ answer? “We covered this yesterday.” Gibbs referred reporters to the transcript of Tuesday’s briefing and said, “The answer I would give today is similar.”
But of course, he hadn’t answered the question at all. Here is the transcript from the Tuesday briefing:
QUESTION: C-Span television is requesting leaders in Congress to open up the debate to their cameras, and I know this is something that the President talked about on the campaign trail. Is this something that he supports, will be pushing for?
GIBBS: I have not seen that letter. I know the President is going to begin some discussions later today on health care in order to try to iron out the differences that remain between the House and the Senate bill and try to get something hopefully to his desk quite quickly….
The article goes on to offer four separate questions about this topic, on separate occasions when he would have had more than enough time to come up with a response to this issue, but they are promptly evaded by Mr. Gibbs.
My understanding was that one of Obama’s biggest selling points was his thoughtful and deliberative nature. He was supposed to discuss things and examine them. I thought that he was to usher in a new kind of politics.
But here, he can’t even pretend to give the slightest consideration to upholding his own campaign promise. It’s like he’s not even trying.
Update: John Stewart: “Oh, yeah! We’re gonna do it on mother-**** C-Span!” , also “They can promise emphatically, they just can’t promise specifically.”