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March 8, 2009

The Gap

health-care-forum.jpg

Gridlock over the spending bill. More economic erosion. Rushmania.

In light of all that noise last week, here’s the image WAPO picked to represent the White House healthcare forum on Thursday. Reinforcing Obama’s push for bipartisanship, these Dem and GOP House leaders are front row and making eye contact. At the same time, however, the photo emphasizes the gap between them, not to mention Hoyer’s weary expression and Cantor’s strained neck. (And then, adding pathos to the scene is Congressman Dingell looking askance and a bit freaked out.

Even the White House slide show on the health care forum seemed a little distant, by the way, playing with backgrounds and spending two pics on the presence of Teddy Kennedy. Given the White House emphasis on bipartisanship, dialogue and interactivity in these forums, it’s also curious the person shown reporting to Obama in the feedback session after the break-out meetings is represented as a shadow.

With the country in a bad way, a sense of momentum, cooperation and confidence from Washington (even short of the real thing) is vital. Lose that and those crutches become the most salient element in the political picture.

WAPO Day in Pictures (March 6, 2009)

(image: Chip Somodevilla-Getty Images. March 6: House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, left, talks to House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor before the closing session of the White House’s forum on health care reform in the East Room of the White House)

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