Obama to appear on Fox News, with healthcare reform down to the wire

Obama will sit for an interview with Fox News anchor Bret Baier, to be broadcast Wednesday at 6 p.m., Eastern time.

Mark Duncan/AP
President Barack Obama shakes hands with audience members after a speech on healthcare reform, Monday, in Strongsville, Ohio. Obama is appearing on Fox News on Wednesday evening.

Stop the presses: President Obama is appearing on Fox News on Wednesday evening.

Not that he’s sitting down for a chat with Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck. Apparently, there are still limits to how far Mr. Obama is willing to go, five months after the administration’s famous boycott of the rightward-leaning network. Instead, Obama will sit for an interview with anchor Bret Baier, to be broadcast at 6 p.m., Eastern time.

Can Obama really sway any congressional votes by reaching into the heart of Conservative World?

“Obviously they have a pretty big audience share, and I think it’s safe to say that a lot of members that are undecided are going to be: They watch and their constituents watch this news,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday. “So we’re happy to continue the argument on why healthcare reform is important to pass this year on Fox.”

In the 2008 election, notes political communications expert Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Obama won some conservatives and a majority of independents.

“To the extent that some of these individuals are Fox viewers, he is moving into a forum in which he can speak to them,” says Ms. Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “Reaching out in unexpected venues also suggests that he [is going] to every length possible to make the case for his views.”

Democratic strategists suggest that Obama has nothing to lose by trolling for support in unlikely places, as the Democratic leadership in Congress seeks to round up votes for the moment of truth later this week.

“My attitude is, you reach out, and then you do what you gotta do,” says Democratic consultant Peter Fenn.

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