Politics Digest

Politics Digest: Obama, ABC to Hold Town Hall on Health Care

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


On ABC, an Obama Health-Care Forum

President Obama will continue his push for health-care reform Wednesday when he takes part in a White House town hall meeting that will be televised in prime time on ABC.

"Questions for the President: Prescription for America" will be moderated by ABC News's Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson. The session is scheduled to be taped in the White House East Room before being broadcast at 10 p.m. During the meeting, Obama will answer questions from audience members selected by ABC News.

The hour-long broadcast will be followed by an edition of "Nightline," in which more of the meeting will be aired.

The broadcasts will cap a day of special coverage of the president and his key initiatives on ABC, from "Good Morning America" to "World News."

The wall-to-wall coverage of the Obamas and the president's signature domestic policy issue has left Republicans irritated. Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Ken McKay wrote a letter to ABC, complaining that "this event will become a glorified infomercial to promote the Democrat agenda."

ABC News Senior Vice President Kerry Smith responded in a letter, saying the network intends to offer a balanced series of broadcasts that will be beyond White House control.

-- Michael A. Fletcher

Obama '95 Percent' Tobacco-Free: President Obama revealed Tuesday during his nationally televised news conference that he has fallen off the wagon but is "95 percent cured" of his tobacco addiction. Obama said in response to a question that "as a former smoker, I constantly struggle with it. . . . Have I fallen off the wagon? Yes." But he said he doesn't smoke on a daily basis or in front of his children, Malia and Sasha. "I would say I am 95 percent cured," the president said. "But there are times where I mess up."

-- Mary Ann Akers

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