Says in "60 Minutes" interview that spinal column may do more good as research tool.
N HIS interview Sunday evening with Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes, President Barack Obama announced that he had recently donated his spine to science "in the hopes that talented researchers may find a use for it, since I personally have found none since becoming President."
Mr. Obama's statement clarified matters for political observers who had come up blank for reasons to explain Obama's consistent conciliatory approach to Republicans, who, since the recent elections, have intensified their oppositional stance and threatened to block or destroy every Obama initiative, including health-care reform, infrastructure stimulus, and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
Said one observer, "Obama donating his spine explains the entire 60 Minutes interview, and everything leading up to it. Only someone who doesn't have a spine would keep compromising with people who clearly want to kick his ass from here to kingdom come."
Speaking like a president whose spine had not been in use for some time, Obama admitted that early on he had settled for a health-care reform bill that was "just like ones proposed by Republicans" in hopes that compromise would foster cooperation.
Although Republicans refused to compromise then, and Republican leaders John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have vowed since the mid-term elections to dismantle health-care reform, Obama has invited both men to the White House "to discuss how we can work together."
As the President told Steve Kroft, "These are reasonable, intelligent men. I'm sure we can come to some understanding that will meet their needs."
Mr. Obama further indicated that he was already leaning "as spineless folks do," toward giving in on the tax cut expiration issue.
At the close of the interview, Kroft asked the President what his plans were for the rest of his first term, "since it will be completed without an actual spine in your back."
"Well, Steve," replied Mr. Obama, "I'm hoping I can continue on my current course. I don't think you'll see any appreciable change, except that now I'll be completely spineless."
© 11.09.10 Kate Heidel