“Since launching his campaign for health care reform with a White House forum on March 5th of last year, Mr. Obama has delivered 54 speeches and statements on the issue.

“He has done health care events in 12 states, some of them more than once. He’s done 9 Town Hall Meetings on health care and made it the focus of 13 of his Saturday radio and Internet addresses…

“Our CBS News tally shows Mr. Obama has made 471 speeches, remarks and comments on every issue under the sun since taking office 423 days ago. His 54 statements on health care reform mean that better than 1 in 10 was on health care. Since the first of this year, it’s been nearly 2 in 10.”

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“I spent nearly two years on the road with Obama (and the rest of the 2008 candidates) and today’s rally at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia made me feel as if I’d jumped in the Hot Tub Time Machine. I was practically waiting for Obama to offer his most prized stump line from fall 2008, which went something like this in Jacksonville, or Las Vegas, or Evansville, Indiana: ‘We are less than two days away from bringing about change in America.’…

“But what’s key about today is that it’s an indicator of how Obama will campaign on health care once it’s law. He’s been telling Democrats recently that the success of his presidency rests on the measure passing, and you can expect a lot more events like this in the fall. It also sends a signal to wavering Democrats in swing states that the president can still bring in nearly 10,000 people on a weekday with little notice.”

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“It’s always seemed obvious to me that a lot of Obama’s supporters, including many of the so-called ‘ObamaCons,’ were simply charmed by the guy. Their pro-Obama arguments were often little more than rationalizations for personal feelings. Even now, it seems that a lot of the ‘Obama is a centrist’ argument is based not on his actual policies or principles (or history) but simply on the fact that, gosh, he sounds so reasonable! (And certainly some of the overwhelming support Obama enjoys from the black community isn’t purely grounded in policy substance).

“This is why Obama has so much to lose if he persists in making such a boor of himself. His personal approval ratings have been trending higher than his policies throughout his presidency. As he becomes less likable, there’s not a lot for the Democrats to fall back on. The White House communication shop’s ‘cowbell’ strategy shows that they don’t know how to sell anything on the merits. They’re selling Obama selling the merits. It’s the celebrity endorsement style of political argumentation, and it’s getting stale.”

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