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Obama's health care speech

September 8, 2009 1:01:07 PM PDT
Not sure how many "speeches of his lifetime" Barack Obama can handle. But if you believe the pundits, tomorrow night's address to Congress about the President's proposed health care reform is yet another one of them.

Add it to the already long list - including his campaign speech on race, his acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention a year ago, his election night victory speech, his inauguration speech, his (fill in the blank) speech.

Will his attempt to fix the inarguably broken health care system be determined by his speech tomorrow night? Perhaps it will. Tonight we preview the speech, and look at the key questions he has to answer.

ABC News will carry the speech at 8 p.m., right after our Democratic Primary debate in the New York City Mayoral race, which airs at 7 p.m. on Ch. 7. I'll be moderating it. You can also watch both on 7online.com.

As for the President's speech, the "question of the day" on our website: "Are you confident in Washington's ability to reform health care?" We'd love to hear your thoughts by CLICKING HERE.

Speaking of hearing your thoughts, I've published some of your comments below on the question we posed Friday, about the Associated Press publishing pictures of a mortally wounded 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard of New Portland, Maine. He was killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 14, and his fatal injuries were recorded by an embedded Associated Press photographer.

The photos are dramatic - not so much gruesome as they are emotional. Bernard, hurt and frantically getting help from his comrades. He later died from his wounds.

His family, and the Pentagon, asked that the pictures not be published. But isn't showing the realities of war part of covering war? Isn't that what makes us a free society - the flow of information that reflects reality?

Clearly, many of you felt strongly, and I thank you for your comments. Again, they're below.

I hope you can join us tonight at 11. In addition to any breaking news of the night, Lee Goldberg will have his AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark will have the night's sports, including any news about Derek Jeter's attempts to tie and break Lou Gehrig's most-hits-as-a-Yankee record.

I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

And here are your comments:

The first comes from Genia Meyer, of Canyon, Texas. Her son is serving in Iraq:
"The AP makes me sick. This marine's family asked the AP not to show any pictures of their son injured and they chose to disregard a grieving family. Lance Cpl. Bernard is their flesh and blood. They love him. He died fighting for this country. How dare the AP disrespect his family!

"This is exactly why for years there was a ban on the media in regard to photos of a soldier's coffin returning home. This is exactly why there should still be a ban. (Ritter's note: that ban has been lifted by the Pentagon under the current Administration.)

"The family can ask but the heartless, sick, disrespectful media does what they want anyway! Lance Cpl. Bernard is not a number, he is their child. He died from the 'wounds' the AP wants to use to get ratings or make a political statement. Can the AP not respect his family at least while they grieve? As a Gold Star Mother I was informed that a group wanted to protest at my son's funeral. Some people and the media are so desperate to have their opinion heard they must use dead and dieing men to get anyone to listen. Does this family who just lost their precious son now have to fight to be respected by the media?

"Now they get to see a photo of the blood of their child being poured out on foreign soil so the AP can share the 'realities' of war. Why aren't the great achievements of our military ever reported on? Contact me I will give you a tally of the incredible accomplishments of the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. They served in Mosul, Iraq for 14 months and did an incredible job. They are amazing men and women, as is our entire volunteer military. What did the AP achieve by publishing a dieing man's photo? Do they think the enemy will apologize? The enemy will probably use the photo as some sort of badge of honor. Is that what this photo is for the AP? It is just aiding the enemy and devastating beyond their grief the family and friends of Lance Cpl. Bernard. "This brave man stood and fought for America. I pray that America will protect his family from any further heartache inflected by the media."

And from Martin W. Schwartz of Nanuet:
"I saw the pictures. The AP was totally insensitive in publishing them and AP President Thomas Curley has lost his decency compass to the lure of the big buck from the big scoop. The Pentagon should de-embed every AP reporter and photographer stationed with our troops in Afghanistan, to affirm that this kind of sleazy journalism has no place covering a war zone where American armed forces are in harms way."

Wim Leyder of Bakersfield, California writes:
"Especially after the request from his family not to ? (publishing) is a violation of a trust. Why not publish the names of rape victims, after all it is the public's right to know (as you say). Doing the right and moral thing is much more important than pushing what is legally right. Shame on the AP for releasing the photos in the first place my friends and I will do our best to boycott the AP. Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard gave his life so that media in the USA has the right to publish the photograph, and in this case have again proven that some are too stupid to do the right thing. Shame shame."

And retired Marine Corps Cpl. Michael Owen of Las Vegas, Nevada, writes:
"The photographer had a right to take the pictures and AP had a right to publish it - but the decision to do it shows the disconnect between being a business entity and being human. At best this is gratuitous. At worst it is ignorant of honorably treating a US Marine and his family at their worst hour."


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