WASHINGTON — Pressed by industry lobbyists, White House officials on Wednesday assured drug makers that the administration stood by a behind-the-scenes deal to block any Congressional effort to extract cost savings from them beyond an agreed-upon $80 billion.
[T]he [pharmaceutical] industry successfully demanded that the White House explicitly acknowledge for the first time that it had committed to protect drug makers from bearing further costs in the overhaul. The Obama administration had never spelled out the details of the agreement.
“We were assured: ‘We need somebody to come in first. If you come in first, you will have a rock-solid deal,’ ” Billy Tauzin, the former Republican House member from Louisiana who now leads the pharmaceutical trade group, said Wednesday. “Who is ever going to go into a deal with the White House again if they don’t keep their word? You are just going to duke it out instead.”
A deputy White House chief of staff, Jim Messina, confirmed Mr. Tauzin’s account of the deal in an e-mail message on Wednesday night.
So Obama won’t go into detail about which parts of the various healthcare proposals he supports, but he can publicly confirm support for Pharma? Wow dude, way to build enthusiasm in your base. Industry doesn’t need to go out and cut ads against healthcare reform if they can get you to do it for them as condition of ‘pledging support.’ Christ, what a rookie move.
edit: Rookie assuming it was done strategically and he isn’t simply whoring for Pharma that is.