EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


September 8, 2013

Column: It's time for Obama to explain himself

How ironic: President Barack Obama, lauded as a great speechmaker, increasingly turns to others to “explain stuff,” as he put it.

The Bushes — former President George W. Bush; his brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Jeb’s two sons — are rallying forth on the need for immigration reform, one of Obama’s chief objectives.

Former President Bill Clinton is front and center touting the merits of the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” the president’s signature first-term achievement.

Now comes Robert Gates, a Republican and former defense chief under George W. Bush and Obama, to explain why Obama must take military action to punish the Syrian government for using chemical weapons to kill hundreds of its own people.

Beleaguered by two wars, economic collapse and environmental and manmade disasters, Obama has had a full plate throughout his presidency. But he has dumbfounded us by not explaining his actions to the satisfaction of other politicians or to the American people.

With implementation of health-care overhaul days away, millions of Americans are still terrified of it, don’t know what it will cost and applaud the House for voting 40 times (all moot) to repeal it.

So the White House has sent Clinton to reassure millions that they will benefit from the new law, that it will not raise the cost of getting sick and that it isn’t a government takeover of health care. Obama joked that a suggestion he make Clinton secretary for “explaining stuff” sounded like a good idea. And Clinton is more coherent on the health-care plan than Obama has been.

As for immigration reform, Obama has talked himself hoarse about fixing the broken immigration laws to find a way forward for the 11 million people living and working in the United States without proper documentation.

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