Obama Uses Campaign Skills to Pitch HC Plan

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WASHINGTON -- The White House continues to push for public support of the health care bill.

President Barack Obama is heading west for town hall meetings in Montana and Colorado -- and he has his work cut out for him.

The western United States is known for being very skeptical of big government.

It's a pivotal time for the president.

Click play for an update on President Obama's push for healthcare reform with CBN News White House Correspondent David Brody.

After investing so much political capital in health care reform, he's taking a hit in the polls.

The latest Rasmussen daily tracking poll shows Mr. Obama's approval rating at an all time low -- 47 percent of voters at least somewhat approve of his performance, 52 percent disapprove.

"My trust and faith in the United States government and its leadership has been destroyed," a concerned American said.

The president will likely hear more critical comments out west.

After enjoying mostly friendly crowds on the east coast, tickets for the town hall meeting in Montana will be handed out to the first people in line.

Members of Congress are still hearing from angry constituents at their town hall meetings.

"I've never seen anything like this ... or anything near this," Sen Arlen Spector, D-Penn., said of the town hall he hosted in his home state.

And the Senate Finance Committee appears to be listening.

Many seniors and lawmakers were very concerned about a section of the bill that provides Medicare reimbursements for doctors who discuss end-of-life planning with their patients, including information about hospice care.

"We should not have a government programs that determines you're going to pull the plug on Grandma," Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said.

Grassley says the Senate has pulled the plug on that portion of the bill for fear it could be "misinterpreted."

The Obama administration says end-of-life counseling could save the government millions.

"We hope to quell the misconceptions held by even perhaps members of the Senate of what the bill is and what the bill isn't," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

To spread its message, the White House sent a multi-page, mass e-mail Thursday, but it is citizen e-mails that had the greatest impact.

Americans flooded congressmen with so many messages, they overloaded the House of Representatives' primary Web site.

Many Americans are telling their representatives to tighten the federal purse strings.
"They're spending money that doesn't even exist. You know if we do that, we go to jail. I think somebody in Congress needs to go to jail. A whole bunch of them," retired Oklahoma teacher Kathy Malcom said.

"What concerns me overall is getting a bill and getting that bill on the floor and getting something passed so we have people who are covered," teacher Rubie Peters said.

Political participation tends to drop off during the hottest vacation month, but this August, public involvement appears on health care continues to heat up.

*Originally aired August 14, 2009

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CBN News
Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.