By TEDDY DAVIS Don’t blow this chance. That’s the message that Bill Clinton delivered Thursday night to Netroots Nation, a conference of liberal bloggers and activists meeting in Pittsburgh. Clinton, who lost control of Congress after health-care reform died in 1994, said it is “politically imperative for the Democrats to pass a health care bill now.” “One thing we know and that I’ve lived through — if you get out there and you don’t prevail — the victors get to rewrite history,” said Clinton. The former president said he favors the creation of a government insurance option. He cautioned his audience, however, not to lose sight of the opportunity they have now with a Democratic Congress and urged them not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Clinton offered his advice as health-care reform was causing the House web site to strain from public overload and as President Obama was preparing to head west to sell his health-care plan. The president is holding a town-hall meeting today in Montana and has another one planned for Saturday in Colorado. As reported yesterday, a coalition of groups led by the pharmaceutical industry has launched a pro-Obama $12 million TV ad campaign, pushing health insurance reform in states where Democratic members of Congress are under pressure on the issue. While the $12 million ad buy from Americans for Stable Quality Care will provide significant air cover for Democrats, the second-day coverage of the ad notes that the pharmaceutical industry’s participation in the coalition comes with a political downside. “The groups in the coalition were brought together by the White House in its continuing effort to broker deals,” writes Kit Seelye of the New York Times. “Some of those deals, especially with the drug companies, have angered the political left, where critics say that for the sake of harmony, the administration has compromised too much and reneged on a campaign promise to rein in drug prices.” Per the Washington Post’s Anne Kornblut: “The pharmaceutical industry has pledged to provide $80 billion over the next decade to help cover the costs of the overhaul, reportedly in return for an administration promise that Medicare would not be allowed to negotiate drug prices with the industry.” In his Friday column, the New York Times’ Paul Krugman pats himself on the back for foreseeing the troubles that Obama would have in creating a “different kind of politics.” “The question now,” writes Krugman, “is how Mr. Obama will deal with the death of his post-partisan dream.”
Netroots Nation: The premiere 2010 Senate Democratic primary will be on display at 11:00 am on Friday when Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter (D) and Rep. Joe Sestak (D) “debate key issues” at the Netroots Nation conference in Pittsburgh. Other Netroots Nation highlights include: former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean holding a 9:00 am ET health-care town-hall meeting with bloggers on Friday and White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett holding a 9:00 am ET conversation with bloggers on Saturday.
Gone Fishin’ Adam Nagourney of the New York Times reports that Obama’s trip out West is going to include a few hours of trout fishing in Montana. Jim Messina, the president’s deputy chief of staff, who grew up in Montana and Idaho and is a wildlife enthusiast, will be taking him. Messina disclosed the president’s plan while talking at the Project New West conference in Denver. “I’m going to take the leader of the free world fishing. And I plan to talk a little bit about public access,” said Messina. While recently discussing his “take-no-prisoners” reputation with National Journal magazine for his “Decision Makers” profile, Messina said, “I didn’t get this job because I’m cute.”
New Job for Hagel? Fmr. Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) is “in line” to co-chair the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (formerly known as the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board), reports the Washington Post’s Al Kamen.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver Vice President Biden will attend funeral services today for Eunice Kennedy Shriver. The funeral mass is being held at St. Francis Xavier Church in Hyannis, Mass.
McKinnon: ‘Santorum Is Dangerous’ Mark McKinnon, a former top adviser to President Bush and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has penned a column for the Daily Beast in which he excoriates Rick Santorum as the former Pennsylvania senator begins exploring a 2012 presidential run. “Santorum represents, in my view, much of what is wrong the in the Republican Party,” writes McKinnon.
McKinnon, a former Democrat who did not want to work against Obama in last year’s general election, focuses his critique on Santorum’s eagerness to win at all costs. With Santorum slated to travel to Iowa on Oct. 1, it’s a clip ‘n save.
Sunday Preview: This Week Be sure to tune into ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday morning for a full discussion of health-care reform. The guests will be HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter (D), and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R). The roundtable will include former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, Atlantic Media political director Ron Brownstein, and Anne Kornblut of the Washington Post. This Week will be anchored by ABC Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper. (ABC’s George Stephanopoulos is off this week).
The Kicker: “One good day in New Hampshire does not a campaign make.” –Fmr. President Bill Clinton in a Thursday night speech to Netroots Nation. “In terms of the liberals backing off, I don’t think they’re backing off a bit. I think they’re getting more and more aggressive. There are many progressives who believe that without a public option, it’s not health-care reform at all. There are many Democrats who believe that with a public option it is going to be very difficult to get health-care reform passed. At some point, the Obama administration – the President himself – is going to have to weigh in on that question because he’s ‘the decider,’ if you will. I mean, I hate-” –Democratic strategist Steve McMahon while appearing Thursday on ABC’s “Top Line” For up-to-the-minute political updates check out The Note’s blog . . . all day every day: