The Drudge Report, via CNSNews, is reporting that he did talked about current politics to a group of 40 students in Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va, during a face-to-face discussion before the speech. The nuts and bolts are worth posting:
Asked by a student how he stays motivated to do his job, Obama replied that his staff gives him 10 letters every day from “ordinary folks.” “Some of the stories are really depressing,” Obama told the 40 freshman, who were chosen to meet with the president during freshman orientation, according to school officials.
“You hear about people who are sick but don't have health care, and suddenly they get a bill for $100,000, and there's no way they can pay for it, and they're about to lose their house. And you’re just reminded that the country is full of really good people who sometimes are going through a hard time,” Obama said.
“They just need a break. They need a little bit of help. Maybe the way things are set up right now isn't always fair for people, and that motivates you, because you say, well, I can't make everything perfect, I can't prevent somebody from getting sick, but maybe I can make sure that they've got insurance so that when they do get sick, they're going to get some help.”
Another student asked the president about health care in Iraq and Afghanistan: “And my question is, currently 36 countries have universal health coverage, including Iraq and Afghanistan, which have it paid for by the United States. Why can't the United States have universal health coverage?”
“Well, I think that’s the question I’ve been asking Congress, because I think we need it,” Obama said. “I think we can do it. And I'm going to be making a speech tomorrow night, talking about my plan to make sure that everybody has access to affordable health care.”
Obama told the students that in the 1940s and 50s, “most of the wealthy countries around the world decided to set up health care systems that covered everybody. The United States -- for a number of different reasons -- organized their health care around employer-based health insurance.” Obama noted that most Americans received health insurance through their jobs.
“And you can see some problems with that,” Obama continued: “Number one is, if you lose your job, then you don’t have health insurance. The other thing is some employers may not want to do right by their employees by giving them health insurance, and then they're kind of out of luck.” Obama noted that the majority of Americans still have health insurance through their jobs: “Most of them are happy with it, but a lot of people fall through the cracks,” Obama said.
“If you’re self-employed, if you start your own business, if you are working in a job that doesn't offer health insurance, then you’re -- you have real problems. “So what we’re trying to do is set up a system where people who have health insurance on the job, they can keep it, but if you don't have health insurance for the job, if you’re self-employed, if you’re unemployed, that you're able to get health insurance through another way,” Obama said. “And we can afford to do it and it will actually, I think, over time save us money if we set that up."
I say as my mother would say: Al perro huevero, aunque le quemen el hocico... (I wish I could find the equivalent idiom in English)