The president called randomly on three audience members. All turned out to be membersof groups with close ties to his administration: the Service Employees International Union, Health Care for America Now, and Organizing for America, which is a part of the Democratic National Committee. White House officials said that was a coincidence.
The most dramatic moment came from Debby Smith, 53, of Appalachia, Va., who was near tears as she described for Obama her fragile health, including a recently discovered tumor for which she cannot get treatment.
Obama waved her over and hugged her, saying, "I don't want you to feel like you're all alone." He promised to "find out what we can do within existing law" and called Smith the "perfect example" of the kind of person his health plan is intended to help.
“I’m not saying there has never been managed news before, but this is carried to fare-thee-well--for the town halls, for the press conferences,” she said. “It’s blatant. They don’t give a damn if you know it or not. They ought to be hanging their heads in shame.”
Thomas told CNSNews.com that not even Richard Nixon tried to control the press the way President Obama is trying to control the press.
“Nixon didn’t try to do that,” Thomas said. “They couldn’t control (the media). They didn’t try."