Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Tuesday Afternoon

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* Things I didn’t know were in the health care bill: menu labeling. Great policy.

* I want to be held accountable for getting it done. I will judge my first term as president based on the fact on whether we have delivered the kind of health care that every American deserves and that our system can afford. Barack Obama at a CAP/SEIU health care forum in 2007, up against Hillary Clinton and history’s greatest monster.

The health care forum in 2007 served as a kind of epiphany for Obama. Time’s Karen Tumulty, who moderated the forum, wrote that Obama “was noticeably uncomfortable when pressed for details” about his health care plan. As Ezra Klein wrote at the time, “Compared to John Edwards, who had a detailed plan, and Hillary Clinton, whose fluency with the subject is unmatched among the contenders, he seemed uncertain and adrift.” Obama himself acknowledged that the health care forum revealed, “I am not a great candidate now, but I am going to figure out how to be a great candidate.” Now, by delivering on the basic health care principles he pronounced three years ago, Obama is already earning praise as “one of America’s finest presidents.”

* Winning has its advantages. Mike Allen:

Rather than dragging down Dems, President Obama’s health plan could turn out to be a net positive for the midterms by goosing his base, re-engaging new Obama voters, giving his party something clear to promote, and providing a blunt instrument for whacking [Republicans]. Obama’s triumph has put Republicans back on the defensive, and even some of them are wondering if they peaked eight months too soon.

* Frum: “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox.”

* Related: No one cares what Republicans think about health care anymore.

* Finding common ground: I’m no Sarah Palin fan, but I fully endorse her call for Tea Party supporters to make third-party runs for office.

* Climate next? Let’s hope so.

* Project Kaisei is seeking to turn the Great Pacific Garbage Patch into fuel.

* Related: Werner Herzog narrates the emotional life of a plastic bag blowing across the American countryside in search of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

* The University of Michigan has become the 17th institution of higher learning to be implicated in the checks-for-degrees scandal rocking American campuses, representatives from the Department of Justice reported Tuesday.

* Coming to Comedy Central this fall: That’s My Biden.

* Airplanes do not “fly.” They are held aloft through the divine intervention of heavenly angels.

* Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.

* And the Big Picture has your record setters. Below: the world’s largest “Thriller” dance.

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