09/07/09 — Fast talker: Wednesday's speech better have more than 'smooth'

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Fast talker: Wednesday's speech better have more than 'smooth'

It is going to take more than fancy words and a winning smile to get over the hurdle that has become popular opposition to the proposed health care reform plan.

So Wednesday, President Barack Obama had better do a whole lot more than just skirt the issue. If he wants to change minds, he is going to have to come up with a whole lot of specifics.

And that means a whole new style of speech for the embattled first-termer.

The health care reform debate has taken many politicians by surprise. They did not think that any proposal involving health care would be received with anything but open arms by the American people.

And they certainly did not expect the loud and vocal opposition that has greeted many members of Congress when they decided to take the proposal to the people.

Even the orchestrated response team was unable to overcome the direct challenges made by many Americans who simply do not want to entrust the future of their health care to a government with a track record of mishandling a variety of public programs.

So what should the president do Wednesday if he wants people to stop fighting about health care reform and to start talking seriously about it?

He better be clear, first, about what he is really planning.

Americans want specifics about who would be in charge, what choices they would have and what the changes would do to their access to care.

No fancy speeches. No broad statements.

Americans have already indicated that they aren't going to settle for flashy anymore.

We will see if the president got the message Wednesday.

Published in Editorials on September 7, 2009 10:15 AM