100 Days Presser: The FOCA Fade

posted at 11:36 am on April 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Can’t say that this expiration date bothers me as much as I assume it bothers Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and other pro-abortion forces.  Last night at his 100 Days presser, CNN’s Ed Henry asked Barack Obama when he would fulfill his campaign promise to the abortion industry and make signing the Freedom of Choice Act a priority.  Obama stammered out a retreat, clearly uncomfortable in front of an audience not entirely comprised of abortion activists:

Q: Thank you, Mr. President. In a couple of weeks, you’re going to be giving the commencement at Notre Dame. And, as you know, this has caused a lot of controversy among Catholics who are opposed to your position on abortion.

As a candidate, you vowed that one of the very things you wanted to do was sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which, as you know, would eliminate federal, state and local restrictions on abortion. And at one point in the campaign when asked about abortion and life, you said that it was above — quote, above my pay grade. Now that you’ve been president for 100 days, obviously, your pay grade is a little higher than when you were a senator.

Do you still hope that Congress quickly sends you the Freedom of Choice Act so you can sign it?

OBAMA: You know, the — my view on — on abortion, I think, has been very consistent. I think abortion is a moral issue and an ethical issue.

I think that those who are pro-choice make a mistake when they — if they suggest — and I don’t want to create straw men here, but I think there are some who suggest that this is simply an issue about women’s freedom and that there’s no other considerations. I think, look, this is an issue that people have to wrestle with and families and individual women have to wrestle with.

The reason I’m pro-choice is because I don’t think women take that — that position casually. I think that they struggle with these decisions each and every day. And I think they are in a better position to make these decisions ultimately than members of Congress or a president of the United States, in consultation with their families, with their doctors, with their clergy.

So — so that has been my consistent position. The other thing that I said consistently during the campaign is I would like to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies that result in women feeling compelled to get an abortion, or at least considering getting an abortion, particularly if we can reduce the number of teen pregnancies, which has started to spike up again.

And so I’ve got a task force within the Domestic Policy Council in the West Wing of the White House that is working with groups both in the pro-choice camp and in the pro-life camp, to see if we can arrive at some consensus on that.

Now, the Freedom of Choice Act is not the highest legislative priority. I believe that women should have the right to choose. But I think that the most important thing we can do to tamp down some of the anger surrounding this issue is to focus on those areas that we can agree on. And that’s — that’s where I’m going to focus.

First, kudos to Ed Henry for asking an actual policy question, and not a “how great is it to be you” softball like the Jeff Zeleny question that followed this.  Henry has done a good job for CNN in acting like an actual White House correspondent instead of a bowing acolyte.  And this one clearly pushed Obama out of his comfort zone.

When Obama ran as a candidate and wanted cash from Planned Parenthood and its abortion-industry allies, he sounded a lot different than last night:

In 2008, FOCA was his “top priority”. Now it’s not even one of his priorities.  Unfortunately, I doubt that this new position will last for long, especially after the Democrats get 60 seats in the Senate.  Still, it’s interesting to see Obama flat-out renege on a core commitment to the Left.  I wonder just how many of these Mulligans he has remaining.


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FOCA will never get passed. Why? If it does, they lose the issue to drive people to the polls. They need the fear to get people to come; so they can’t remove that fear.

lorien1973 on April 30, 2009 at 11:39 AM

First, kudos to Ed Henry for asking an actual policy question,

Guess who won’t be getting an invite to the Christmas party?

eforhan on April 30, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Remember, even Obama’s expiration dates have expiration dates.

Religious_Zealot on April 30, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Seems like the more uncomfortable he gets, the more words he uses.

Dee2008 on April 30, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Where is the outrage on the left?
Or isn’t there any because they know he’ll get it through eventually?

ORconservative on April 30, 2009 at 11:41 AM

It’s moral & ethical alright…and morals & ethics are two things you don’t have Obama…I’d say he’ll feel heat from the pro-death crowd over this…

DCJeff on April 30, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Have to imagine how the “FOCA” bill is understood in Peru.

Maybe the Peruvians got it right?

coldwarrior on April 30, 2009 at 11:44 AM

We neeed a little Few Good Men action at these pressers. Answer the question! Answer the question!

WashJeff on April 30, 2009 at 11:44 AM

FOCA will never get passed. Why? If it does, they lose the issue to drive people to the polls. They need the fear to get people to come; so they can’t remove that fear.

lorien1973 on April 30, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Good point but how long can he continue to string along groups like Planned Parenthood. His campaign position has certainly been modified but I dont’ think they will settle for “maybe next term” talk.

sherry on April 30, 2009 at 11:45 AM

He can’t string them along for very much longer. He also is all about the unlimited unrestricted access to abortion. This is another meaningless non answer.

ORconservative on April 30, 2009 at 11:48 AM

The abortion president, both home and abroad!! Disgusting filthy POS

Ris4victory on April 30, 2009 at 11:48 AM

I wonder just how many of these Mulligans he has remaining.

I think he is in for a suprise when he runs for reelection. The wave of enthusiasm will be no more. The special interest groups that can’t get their way even with full house of Democrats will be just a little jaded come 2012…

Theworldisnotenough on April 30, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Here’s to hoping he doesn’t keep this campaign promise but I’ve been a cynic lately. Surprsie me Obama!

youngO on April 30, 2009 at 11:54 AM

The reason I’m pro-choice is because I don’t think women take that — that position casually. I think that they struggle with these decisions each and every day. And I think they are in a better position to make these decisions ultimately than members of Congress or a president of the United States, in consultation with their families, with their doctors, with their clergy.

Great. Can I shoot up a bank and rob it blind if I agonize about the decision beforehand?

Darth Executor on April 30, 2009 at 11:57 AM

Well at least it’s not water boarding……..

Seven Percent Solution on April 30, 2009 at 11:58 AM

FOCA will never get passed. Why? If it does, they lose the issue to drive people to the polls. They need the fear to get people to come; so they can’t remove that fear.

lorien1973 on April 30, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Nah, they could build up the fear that republicans will overturn their decision.

Darth Executor on April 30, 2009 at 11:58 AM

bambi doesn’t want this issue to come up right now because the anti-abortion crowd is one of the most active political groups out there–probably even more so that NRA or any veterans groups or black groups or NEA. they may not have the lobbying arm, but they’ve got the boots on the ground.

and those anti-abortion people might get mad about some other issues too & raising a hue & cry about everything.

bambi doesn’t want to blow that powderkeg.

kelley in virginia on April 30, 2009 at 11:58 AM

I wonder just how many of these Mulligans he has remaining.

I think he’s got plenty of them left, based on the CNN story I say this morning. They were asking people to grade Obama’s first 100 days – didn’t see a score below a ‘C’. But even better were the ones who disagreed with EVERY decision he made, and still gave him a grade of ‘B’.

?!?!?!WTF – OVER!?!?!?!?!?

People like him because he’s decisive, even though they don’t like his decisions; they support him because he’s the first “nonwhite male ever elected” for President; he’s got their support because he has a good image, never mind his policy decisions they disagree with.

I’m sorry, but I’m really starting to question the intellligence of the vast majority of Americans. Some people might just be to stupid to live.

todler on April 30, 2009 at 11:58 AM

He’ll wait until after at least his speech at Notre Dame before returning to this issue and, in so doing, make the powers that be at Notre Dame look like the fools that they are.

BuckeyeSam on April 30, 2009 at 11:59 AM

you know what makes me mad about him or any politician that is asked this question: they all hedge.

either be for it or agin it.

kelley in virginia on April 30, 2009 at 11:59 AM

Never trust a person that tries to remind you about how consistent he is in his views. I lost count of how many times he felt compelled to add that in.

He really is a person that is uncomfortable in his own skin. It’s embarrassing to watch.

ManInBlack on April 30, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Some people might just be to stupid to live.

todler on April 30, 2009 at 11:58 AM

Do we have the Freedom Of Choice to Act on that?

coldwarrior on April 30, 2009 at 12:01 PM

Where is the outrage on the left?
Or isn’t there any because they know he’ll get it through eventually?

ORconservative on April 30, 2009 at 11:41 AM

“The angry left” is in denial. You’ll read excuses that Obama will get it done once the economy is better, etc, etc.. Denial it’s not just a river in Egypt.

Theworldisnotenough on April 30, 2009 at 12:01 PM

todler: bambi is not decisive. what did he do about Nkorea? the Maersk Alabama/capt. phillips piracy? the airbase in _____stan? (sorry, can’t remember which one).

he just stalls hoping the problem will go away. look what he is doing in Pakistan now. if he wants to prevent the taliban from getting the nukes, he better commit to the problem NOW.

kelley in virginia on April 30, 2009 at 12:02 PM

As if we didn’t see enough of him last night, he’s getting ready step in front of the cameras again to talk about GM.

Can we have a least one day without having to look at his mug on TV?

Geez.

Knucklehead on April 30, 2009 at 12:02 PM

FOCA will never get passed. Why? If it does, they lose the issue to drive people to the polls. They need the fear to get people to come; so they can’t remove that fear.

lorien1973 on April 30, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Excellent point.

zeebeach on April 30, 2009 at 12:03 PM

Henry has done a good job for CNN in acting like an actual White House correspondent instead of a bowing acolyte. And this one clearly pushed Obama out of his comfort zone.

Wow, that was impressive. Obama should have his feet put to the coals on a multitude of issues. This was a great start, one can only hope others will follow suit. CNN really does have some good correspondents that shine through now and then. It’s the ones who marvel at Michelle’s arms and coo over the president in a bathing suit who need to get a different career. They’re out of their league.

scalleywag on April 30, 2009 at 12:03 PM

to avoid watching bambi every 10 seconds on TV, i am watching alot of John Wayne videos. yall should try it–America, patriotism, honor, duty, country, men are men, women are women, children are cute, etc. alot of guns.

kelley in virginia on April 30, 2009 at 12:04 PM

I swear he is on TV more than anything else. Well, TV and buzzing NYC.

ORconservative on April 30, 2009 at 12:05 PM

lorien1973 on April 30, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Yep they want the issue, not the reality

LincolntheHun on April 30, 2009 at 12:05 PM

Do we have the Freedom Of Choice to Act on that?

coldwarrior on April 30, 2009 at 12:01 PM

I’ll let natural selection and the darwin awards have dibs. :D

todler: bambi is not decisive. what did he do about Nkorea? the Maersk Alabama/capt. phillips piracy? the airbase in _____stan? (sorry, can’t remember which one).

he just stalls hoping the problem will go away. look what he is doing in Pakistan now. if he wants to prevent the taliban from getting the nukes, he better commit to the problem NOW.

kelley in virginia on April 30, 2009 at 12:02 PM

Oh, I know, but that was an actual quote for the CNN webpage. It is mind bogglingly stupid, really.

and sadly, I think pakistan is just a matter of time.

todler on April 30, 2009 at 12:06 PM

First, kudos to Ed Henry for asking an actual policy question, and not a “how great is it to be you” softball like the Jeff Zeleny question that followed this….”

That one of the WH press crew actually asked a legitimate question is really the only noteworthy part of this story.

An expiration date on one of Barry’s positions, despite earlier unequivocal promises, is just not news anymore.

cruadin on April 30, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Everything depends on the economy. Obama has goodwill but not enough to tackle social issues. He risks an invigorated opposition should he do so, and he has the Notre Dame speech coming up… no way he touches FOCA. That being said should he win a second term he will attempt to remake the country socially in the same way he is socializing the economy. That is scary.

Theworldisnotenough on April 30, 2009 at 12:07 PM

he just stalls hoping the problem will go away. look what he is doing in Pakistan Pockeestan now
kelley in virginia on April 30, 2009 at 12:02 PM

FIFY
Now get with the program Comrade!

Knucklehead on April 30, 2009 at 12:09 PM

this snake will say not say anything damaging to him in front of the american people. he will go behind the scenes as usual and do his dirty work. TRUST!

Ghoul aid on April 30, 2009 at 12:09 PM

Do you still hope that Congress quickly sends you the Freedom of Choice Act so you can sign it?

All those words and none that answered the question. It sounds like the words ‘Notre Dame’ make him a little skidish. Or would that be ’cause him to leave skid marks’.

PappaMac on April 30, 2009 at 12:09 PM

During a Lie To Me commercial break, Obama said more in his address about abortion being the rational choice women make than the above single answer quote includes.

maverick muse on April 30, 2009 at 12:10 PM

People like him because he’s decisive,
todler on April 30, 2009 at 11:58 AM

Barry’s decisive? On what???

The only thing he shown himself adept at is dodging the tough questions for the last 100 days.

MarkTheGreat on April 30, 2009 at 12:11 PM

with their clergy.

Can you imagine a poor, scared young woman asking Obama’s “clergy” for advice on this?

Just proves again, he really did value Wright’s advice, IMHO.

Good point but how long can he continue to string along groups like Planned Parenthood. His campaign position has certainly been modified but I dont’ think they will settle for “maybe next term” talk.

sherry on April 30, 2009 at 11:45 AM

They won’t like it, and they’ll push him to pass it, but where else are they going to go? He can string them along as long as he wants.

bcm4134 on April 30, 2009 at 12:13 PM

Not to go off topic here, but isn’t the fighting in Pakistan a “Civil War”. I mean, those freedom fighters are just trying to rid themselves of an over reaching Pakistan government.

PappaMac on April 30, 2009 at 12:14 PM

PappaMac on April 30, 2009 at 12:14 PM

jesus….it’s pronouned PAHK-E-STAHN

Ghoul aid on April 30, 2009 at 12:17 PM

The most important thing about that exchange was that thousands of Catholics who voted for this guy probably learned for the first time that he is pro-abortion, and that he promised to make FOCA a priority, and that he is giving the commencement address at Notre Dame. This has been an issue largely confined to the Catholic and conservative blogospheres until now. Kudos to Ed Henry for bringing it up last night, and perfectly stating the question. Kathleen Parker’s column today should add to the discomfort of Catholcis who supported him.

rockmom on April 30, 2009 at 12:18 PM

And of course, what Obama didn’t say is that Rahm does not want all those Blue Dogs to have to vote on FOCA before the elections next year. It won’t see the light od day until after the next election. Then Obama will spout some bullshit about how it “really was a priority all along” but “fixing the economy and getting health care reform done” were more important in 2009 and 2010.

rockmom on April 30, 2009 at 12:21 PM

I’m hoping the criminal issue with Planned Parenthood, has him feeling a lil skiddish on this.

Sure they gave a lot of support, and money to his campaign, in exhange for favors, and funding, but perhaps this criminal activity PP is involved in, has some on the left feeling a lil squeamish about rushing thru a bill, that only adds to the total picture?

It just doesn’t look good from my view, and I’m sure there are millions of others, who see it the same way?

capejasmine on April 30, 2009 at 12:35 PM

People have to be flat-out stupid to beleieve anything Obama says.

chalons on April 30, 2009 at 12:39 PM

I bet that the tires under Obama’s bus are getting squishy by now.

Johan Klaus on April 30, 2009 at 12:44 PM

People have to be flat-out stupid to beleieve anything Obama says.

chalons on April 30, 2009 at 12:39 PM

I agree. Especially when he said he didn’t want big government. I just sat there wondering….does anyone see thru this besides conservatives? LOL

I don’t believe him, but I do hope that the criminal aspects of PP has some worried about passing anything, that PP wants. They don’t need more go aheads, to do what they want, when what they’re doing right now, is criminal. They need to be brought up on charges, not recieve any tax payer dollars.

I don’t like being complicit in the murders of millions of babies. It makes me angry that I’m forced to have that blood on my hands, and then know PP is nothing but a criminal outfit, hell bent on getting women, and girls to abort their babies.

capejasmine on April 30, 2009 at 12:45 PM

to avoid watching bambi every 10 seconds on TV, i am watching alot of John Wayne videos. yall should try it–America, patriotism, honor, duty, country, men are men, women are women, children are cute, etc. alot of guns.

kelley in virginia on April 30, 2009 at 12:04 PM

Same here. That, and old Dr Who episodes, of course.

Vashta.Nerada on April 30, 2009 at 12:47 PM

I don’t know much about the health care industry but a few questions I have are:

-Once universal health care is a fact will abortion providers be included in the services that universal care covers?

-If so, and once rationing becomes necessary, what priority will abortions have in the ration process?

Would they give abortions a higher priority than say a 75 year old women looking to extend her life another 5 years? Like I say, I know little about how the health care industry works now or how it might under a single payer system (outside of badly).

picklecock on April 30, 2009 at 12:52 PM

So, push his Abortion Button and you get a 500 word torrent, 5% of which answers your question.

Akzed on April 30, 2009 at 12:52 PM

to avoid watching bambi every 10 seconds on TV, i am watching alot of John Wayne videos. yall should try it–America, patriotism, honor, duty, country, men are men, women are women, children are cute, etc. alot of guns.

kelley in virginia on April 30, 2009 at 12:04 PM

Funny, during last nights Presser I was watching Fort Apache…

Romeo13 on April 30, 2009 at 12:56 PM

I watched North to Alaska last night!!!

Akzed on April 30, 2009 at 12:57 PM

Obama is attacking the church. He is trying to substitute “mandatory volunteering” for what churches do. He is trying to eliminate deductions for charitable contributions. He wants to remove freedom of conscience. he is relentless in trying to suppress free speech from the pulpits except for Pastor Wright and muslims. The abortion mess is the bomb that will make a lot angry. He is facing much more heat than tea parties on the abortion issues.

seven on April 30, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Create a commission….always the Democratic solution. :)

AnninCA on April 30, 2009 at 1:19 PM

Given the mission Planned Parenthood was created to carry out, I find Obama’s support of this organization to be unconscionable in the extreme.

-Dave

Dave R. on April 30, 2009 at 1:58 PM

how funny is it that he actually said “I dont want to create strawmen here” when that is all he usually does!!

i’d like to know just which “pro-life” groups are part of his task force.

chasdal on April 30, 2009 at 2:02 PM

The reason I’m pro-choice is because I don’t think women take that — that position casually. I think that they struggle with these decisions each and every day.

Yeah right, all 50 million of them!
But many do struggle AFTER their abortions.
One couple has taken an unusual step to stem the wife’s grief. The story seemed pretty questionable at first, but by the time I got to the end I was really touched. Bet many couples who have erred by abortion (the husband in this case wasn’t involved), would benefit from this.

Christian Conservative on April 30, 2009 at 2:09 PM

I wonder just how many of these Mulligans he has remaining.

Infinite mulligans, the left is deaf, dumb and blindly following The One to the end of the earth. Ignorance and racism lead to this man being POTUS.

kirkill on April 30, 2009 at 2:11 PM

FOCA will never get passed. Why? If it does, they lose the issue to drive people to the polls. They need the fear to get people to come; so they can’t remove that fear.

lorien1973 on April 30, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Whatever keeps it from passing, I don’t care at this point, just whatever keeps it from passing.

citrus on April 30, 2009 at 2:47 PM

FOCA is not a legislative priority, until some late Friday afternoon when suddenly it is imperative that Congress vote on it before reading the bill.

evergreen on April 30, 2009 at 3:09 PM

But after Specter the Defector, we’ll need some Democrats to vote against it to uphold a filibuster. Ouch!

Steve Z on April 30, 2009 at 3:16 PM

I support the expiration date on this campaign promise.

However, I figure he will eventually go back on it or nominiate actual abortion doctors for the Supreme Court.

myrenovations on April 30, 2009 at 3:29 PM

Check this out. Alleged medicaid fraud by Planned Parenthood in the State of Washington. They’re billing Medicaid $18 for birth control that they get from the government at $2.

http://abortionstate.blogspot.com/

Apparently this is happening in many states. Planned Parenthood is getting birth control through the Veterans Affairs administration for $2. When they dispense the drug they bill Medicaid at $18. State governments are permitting this activity as a “storage and inventory fee” despite the fact that the law explicitly denies them this option.

gabriel sutherland on April 30, 2009 at 4:22 PM

As if we didn’t see enough of him last night, he’s getting ready step in front of the cameras again to talk about GM.

Can we have a least one day without having to look at his mug on TV?

Geez.

Knucklehead on April 30, 2009 at 12:02 PM

I knew I wasn’t the only one who feels this way. Should petition all the networks to stop polluting our airways with not only the visual but the moronic statements this “A” makes.

hillbilly on April 30, 2009 at 4:25 PM

We (and I’m sure many others) pray for his conversion every morning at daily Mass. I would love to believe it is working. What a miracle that would be.

Unfortunately, I am not going to get my hopes up that this is an indication of it.

But I will still keep praying for him and that this evil act is never passed.

pannw on April 30, 2009 at 5:18 PM

The reason I’m pro-choice is because I don’t think women take that — that position casually. I think that they struggle with these decisions each and every day. And I think they are in a better position to make these decisions ultimately than members of Congress or a president of the United States, in consultation with their families, with their doctors, with their clergy.

1. Obama supports choice for women to consult with their doctors.. But for the rest of us… Universal Health Care.

2. Obama calls abortion a moral issue (like torture??)

I agree, who are the pro life groups on this so called commission??

kringeesmom on April 30, 2009 at 5:57 PM

Obama is obviously addicted to these love fest pressers. Jeebers, three in as many months… Remember back in the campaign when he avoided them like the plague?

Bambi’s allergic to serious questions, so he pads the soft balls with 5 minute answers to decrease the chance somebody might get the time to ask him something serious. It’s boring..they keep serving up soft balls, he just lobs it out of the park. For Obama, what’s not to love about that?

Seems to me the networks could save a lot of lost ad revenue money just by making their people ask Obama something substantive.

No wonder no-soft-balls-for-Bush hated this format.

marybel on April 30, 2009 at 6:17 PM

Obama has wisely decided not to call the bishops’ bluff, because they are absolutely not bluffing when they say they’ll close the catholic hospitals. He knows he would eventually have to backpedal and be embarrassed on this one.
As someone mentioned before in the thread, Tea Parties are nothing compared to what FOCA would bring out.

neuquenguy on April 30, 2009 at 8:12 PM

BTW, since we are talking about FOCA, “Foca” is a Peruvian slang term for “Shut up!” Wish the pro-FOCA crowd would do just that.

coldwarrior on May 1, 2009 at 2:45 AM

Ha, Obama is the anti John Wayne, all sensitive, manbaggy, spindly, fragile, manicured nails, worried about everyone feelings.

Alden Pyle on May 1, 2009 at 8:25 AM