Franken Hits Obama Over CSPAN Promise

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I think Al Franken is right about this:

Franken wouldn’t relent.

“The president of the United States comes up here, you come here, and none of you are telling us what we’re going to do about health care,” he continued. “He should apologize to everyone here for his stupid idea during the campaign to put this all on C-SPAN.”

More generally, I wish we could influence the norms of campaign coverage so as to discourage presidents from making promises that are outside the scope of their authority. The President of the United States has a powerful role to play in the legislative process, but it’s also a bounded one. For a candidate to be making promises about the nature of congressional procedure seems generally unwise, over and above the fact that this specific promise was a silly one. I’d be fascinated to hear David Plouffe or David Axelrod explain to me how many votes they think they swung with this idea. I’d be shocked if as many as two people found this a compelling reason to vote for Obama, and yet it wound up dominating a couple of news cycles.