From TV to Twitter, Obama Pushes Health Reform

5013473President Obama is harnessing just about every communications medium available to hone his message on health care.

Mr. Obama will be all over the airwaves this week to convey to the general public a sense of urgency for reform.

"I want this done now," Mr. Obama told Jim Lehrer on the NewsHour on Monday. "Now, if there are no deadlines, nothing gets done in this town."

The president defended his August deadline in an interview that aired this morning on NBC's "Today" show, and tonight he sits down with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric.

He will also deliver health care remarks today, sure to be televised on cable news, as he did Monday.

On Thursday, Mr. Obama will hold a town hall-style event in Cleveland on health care, and tomorrow he holds a prime time news conference. However, reports that television networks were slow to agree to air the president's news conference may indicate that the cachet of providing access to the president may be wearing thin -- especially when it affects a network's financial bottom line.

While Mr. Obama appeals to mass audiences on television, he is targeting more passionate and wonky voters online. In a conference call with bloggers yesterday, the president gave what could be described as his most revealing statements to date on how he intends to steer health care reforms through the complicated legislative process. He told the bloggers he is focused on getting bills passed in the House and the Senate and moving on to the real work of reconciling the two different versions, according to the Washington Post.

"Eighty percent of those two bills will overlap. There's going to be 20 percent that will be different in terms of how it will be funded, its approach to the public plan, its pay-or-play provisions," the president reportedly said. "Conference is where these differences will get ironed out."

The president has pushed his message on his weekly Web address and will use other online media, the White House suggests.

"I don't know whether he will Twitter or tweet. But he's going to be very, very visible," senior adviser David Axelrod recently said with respect to health care.