Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Prophet Of Cool

I enjoy listening to President Obama -- the care he takes about everything he says, the way he hesitates while grasping for just the right word and then almost always comes up with it, his avoidance (most of the time) of cheap shots and demagoguery, his droll, situational wit, his preternatural cool, and his apparent lack of ideological blinders. His answers are at once artful, thoughtful, and direct. For instance, on abortion:
I think abortion is a moral issue and an ethical issue. I think that those who are pro-choice make a mistake when they, if they, suggest -- and I don't want to create straw men here -- but I think there are some who suggest that this is simply an issue about women's freedom and that there's no other considerations.

I think -- look, this is an issue that people have to wrestle with and families and individual women have to wrestle with. The reason I'm pro-choice is because I don't think women take that -- that position casually. I think that they struggle with these decisions each and every day. And I think they are in a better position to make these decisions ultimately than members of Congress or a President of the United States, in consultation with their families, with their doctors, with their doctors, with their clergy.

So -- so that has been my consistent position. The other thing that I said consistently during the campaign is I would like to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies that result in women feeling compelled to get an abortion, or at least considering getting an abortion, particularly if we can reduce the number of teen pregnancies, which has started to spike up again.

And so I've got a task force within the Domestic Policy Council in the West Wing of the White House that is working with groups both in the pro-choice camp and in the pro-life camp, to see if we can arrive at some consensus on that.

Now, the Freedom of Choice Act is not my highest legislative priority. I believe that women should have the right to choose. But I think that the most important thing we can do to tamp down some of the anger surrounding this issue is to focus on those areas that we can agree on. And that's -- that's where I'm going to focus.

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