Good morning from the White House press room...
"People with low or moderate incomes do not get the same medical attention as those with high incomes," the President said. "The poor have more sickness, but they get less medical care. People who live in rural areas do not get the same amount or quality of medical attention as those who live in our cities."
It was true when these words were spoken - by President Harry Truman on Nov. 19, 1945 - and they are true this morning. But this is about to change. At 11:15, President Obama will sign the Health Insurance Reform bill, perhaps the most significant piece of domestic legislation in half a century. It is certainly the biggest transformation of the American health care system in decades.
Such a momentous piece of legislation can only be signed in one place: the grand confines of the majestic East Room, site of some of the most momentous events in American history. After the 11:15 signing, the President heads to the Dept. of the Interior, where he'll thank members of Congress and other guests who helped get the bill passed.
At 3:00, Obama will meet Senators Lugar and Kerry in the Oval Office. The subject: ongoing START talks (strategic nuclear arms reduction talks) with Russia. A prior agreement expired in December, and Washington and Moscow are said to be nearing agreement on a new pact to reduce the number of nuclear warheads.
Obama's last appointment of the day will be at 5:30: a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. It may be contentious. The U.S. is unhappy with ongoing Israeli plans to expand housing in disputed areas of Jerusalem, so there will not be the usual "pool spray" by the White House press. Another topic is also on the table: Iran.
9:30AM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
10:00AM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT receive the Economic Daily Briefing
10:30AM THE PRESIDENT meets with senior advisors
11:15AM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks and signs the health insurance reform bill
12:05PM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks on the health insurance reform bill
Department of Interior
3:00PM THE PRESIDENT meets with Senator Kerry and Senator Lugar
5:30PM THE PRESIDENT meets with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel
"What kind of nation we will be, what kind of world we will live in, whether we shape the future in the image of our hopes, is ours to determine by our actions and our choices." - Richard Nixon