Jen Haberkorn had a good story today about President Obama’s promises of transparency during the campaign and how he has delivered on that regarding the health care bill. Jen’s story points out that despite Obama’s promise to film the process on C-SPAN, the bill is now being crafted entirely behind closed doors by a few politicians and aides.
I asked White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about this on Air Force One as we flew from Washington to Jacksonville today. Here’s the transcript of the exchange:
Q On health care, there’s a lot of people — or Senator McCain was one of some who are talking about the issue of the C-SPAN line that the President used during the campaign. Do you feel like that comment, talking about having the health care committee hearings and sort of the whole process of making the health care bill, do you feel like that comment about having those on C-SPAN has been overblown? Because you’re getting a lot of heat about not having the process be as open as people interpreted it.
MR. GIBBS: If there’s been a process that’s been more asked about in my nine months in the administration, I’d be happy to know what it is. I get asked every day about health care. I get asked about — you guys seem to have fairly intimate knowledge about what happens at all these proceedings. And I don’t — I’m hard-pressed to see how the American people haven’t seen a lot of this process.
Q The hearings — or the meetings where they’re making — where they’re crafting the bill, have not been on C-SPAN really at all. I mean, what do you make —
MR. GIBBS: I think I addressed this last week. The administration is comfortable with the process. The very first meeting that we had was — to get everybody’s advice on this was broadcast on C-SPAN. This has been an open process. I wish all of those that wondered aloud why the process isn’t — why they don’t like the process would come in and be part of the process. This is — that’s what being a member of the Senate or the House is. You get to be part of the process. Unfortunately some people declared three months ago they didn’t want to be part of the process, and now they’re complaining about the process.
Q Care to name names?
MR. GIBBS: Many of those individuals know exactly who they are.
— Jon Ward, White House reporter, The Washington Times