Critical Condition

More Town Halls?

President Obama is going to do more town halls on health care, in Montana and Colorado. It’s not entirely clear why he is doing this, since the last one did not appear to do that much good for him, with his misstatement of AARP’s support for the bill and the questioning over whether the White House cherry-picked an audience for him. FoxNews’s Judson Berger has an interesting answer to the question, suggesting that the purpose of the town halls is more for the president to get things off his chest rather than to create a forum for hearing from concerned citizens. According to the piece, at the Portsmouth town hall, the president outspoke the audience by a ratio of almost 9:1, with Obama speaking 8,619 words and the entire audience only getting in 1,186 words. Apparently, White House officials have chalked up the disparity between the Obama town hall and the somewhat more fiery events happening elsewhere in the country to respect for the office of the president. Perhaps the Western individualist voters of Colorado and Montana will be a little less deferential.

Tevi Troy is a presidential historian and former White House aide. His latest book is Fight House: Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump.