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What happened to Obama’s ‘government transparency’ pledge?

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TV/CSPAN/AP

(Read caption) In an image made from a C-SPAN broadcast, Vice President Joe Biden announces the result of the final Senate vote on the healthcare bill on Christmas Eve.

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As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama promised “transparency” in government. The impression was left that we’d all be able to pull up a chair and watch administration officials and lawmakers hash out their philosophical and policy differences as they make laws that affect our lives.

Specifically, Obama said, “we’ll have [healthcare reform] negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so the people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents and who is making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.”

But now, the White House seems to be pulling back from that pledge, and that’s rankled some Democrats as well as Republicans, not to mention news analysts and opinion makers always eager for a squabble – especially if it hints at a broken promise.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, backed by the White House, has said the House and Senate – each of which have passed versions of healthcare reform – were putting the final bill together “behind closed doors according to an agreement by top Democrats.”

Not so fast, cry Republicans, who are feeling left out even though their general approach on the issue has been “just say no.”

“The negotiations are obviously being done in secret and the American people really just want to know what they are trying to hide,” said Rep. Tom Price, (R) of Georgia.

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