It was one of those questions which demanded a straight yes or no answer: “Will the president support Brian Lamb’s request that C-Span be allowed to broadcast final negotiations between the House and Senate on health care reform?”
And it shouldn’t have been a difficult question to answer, since at least six times during his presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama promised just such transparency: “We’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who’s making arguments on behalf of their constituents or the drug companies or insurance companies.”
But, sadly, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs would not answer that question yesterday.
Instead, he insisted the American people already knew what was in the House bill and what was in the Senate bill – and would soon know what was in the final product the two Houses agreed upon. Therefore, there was no need for C-SPAN.
But knowing what’s in the final bill and watching the negotiations take place are two different things.
In effect, Gibbs was saying legislators have the right to make their deals behind closed doors.
Even worse, he was saying: President Obama just reneged on his first campaign promise.
That’s my parting shot for today.