Mary Katharine notes below that President Obama tells ABC:
“Let's just clarify. I didn't make a bunch of deals [on health care]. ... There is a legislative process that is taking place in Congress and I am happy to own up to the fact that I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked.”
But the Washington Post reported on December 20 that Obama's top aides were involved in the negotiations with Nelson:
Schumer, who spent more than 13 hours in Reid's office Friday, said the Medicaid issue was settled around lunchtime, and the final eight hours of the talks focused on the abortion language. Boxer estimated she spent seven hours in Reid's offices -- without ever once sitting in the same room, even though they were all of 25 steps apart.
Reid and Schumer kept up the "shuttle negotiation" between the leader's conference room and his top aide's office, Boxer said. Keenly aware how tense the talks were, the White House dispatched two aides who together have decades of experience in the Senate -- Jim Messina and Peter Rouse -- to work with Nelson. They relayed their intelligence to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who monitored the talks from a dinner in Georgetown.
Perhaps Messina and Rouse just showed up to provide the "Christmas cookies" that Reid and Schumer chowed down to sustain themselves during the tense negotiations, but it's hard to believe that Obama's aides didn't sign off on both the abortion and Medicaid backroom deals.
Michelle Malkin sums it up:
The unmitigated chutzpah here is so blinding that I don’t just need sunglasses to protect my eyes. I need blackout curtains. Watch President Obama blame Congress for Demcare bribery and sabotage of transparency. As if Rahm and all the senior goons in the White House weren’t twisting arms and cracking heads to ensure that the deal met their boss’s timeline. As if the Cadillac tax break for unions hadn’t been hashed out at 1600 Pennsylvania.