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ABC Endorses ObamaCare Premise: 'The Need is Obvious'

Hours before ABC's Wednesday prime time special with President Obama from the White House, Questions for the President: Prescription for America, a World News piece conveyed the public's doubts that Obama will achieve his goals, but also endorsed Obama's premise that something must be done as reporter David Wright focused on concern over rising costs and a family without insurance before concluding: "Expectations are low, but the need is obvious."

From Lynchburg, Virginia, Wright reported how "some folks here clearly have their doubts President Obama is going to be able to fix the health care system" as "some worry about big government programs, others that they'll pay higher taxes in the end." But, he stressed, "Democrats and Republicans alike here told us they hope he can fix it because something needs to be done. Kimberly Gambiladi (sp?) is a stay at home mom. Her husband got laid off two months ago. Now the whole family has no insurance."

Wright moved on to "a civil engineering firm with 85 employees" where "business has dropped off during the recession. But health premiums haven't." After the stay at home mom with no insurance admitted "I don't have the answer. Hopefully, somebody will," Wright delivered his closing line: "Expectations are low, but the need is obvious."

Anchor Charles Gibson, from the Blue Room at the White House, set up the piece by highlighting how people are happy with their health care, but: "Our new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows 83 percent of Americans are very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of health care. They pretty much like things the way they are. All the same, 85 percent are worried about future costs."

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the story on the Wednesday, June 24 World News:

CHARLES GIBSON: As we noted earlier in the broadcast, we have come to the White House to talk with the President tonight about health care reform. We are also hearing from people across the country about what's working and what's not. Our new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows 83 percent of Americans are very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of health care. They pretty much like things the way they are. All the same, 85 percent are worried about future costs. David Wright traveled to one city that has seen its share of recent changes, and takes our "Closer Look." DAVID WRIGHT: Lynchburg, Virginia, population 72,000. A town with battle scars. The local Civil War monument honors Confederate troops.

BARACK OBAMA: It is good to be in Virginia.

WRIGHT: Barack Obama campaigned in Lynchburg, but he lost this part of Virginia to John McCain. Now, as he launches his health care reform initiative, nobody we spoke with here predicts smooth sailing.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: He might try, but I don't think he'll be successful. Nobody else has been yet.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: At least he's getting it started.

WRIGHT: Some folks here clearly have their doubts President Obama is going to be able to fix the health care system. Some worry about big government programs, others that they'll pay higher taxes in the end. But Democrats and Republicans alike here told us they hope he can fix it because something needs to be done. Kimberly Gambiladi (sp?) is a stay at home mom. Her husband got laid off two months ago. Now the whole family has no insurance.

KIMBERLY GAMBILADI (SP?): The biggest fear is if anything happened with my daughter and not having the coverage-

WRIGHT: Many seem to be happy with their own doctors, but don't trust that their insurance is an adequate safety net. And do they trust Obama?

DR. THOMAS EPPES, FAMILY PRACTITIONER: I think it's government in general that they don't trust to do a good job.

WRIGHT: Tough time with the bad economy.

WILEY JOHNSON, HURT AND PROFFITT INC: It has been.

WRIGHT: At Hurt and Proffit, a civil engineering firm with 85 employees, business has dropped off during the recession. But health premiums haven't.

JOHNSON: We have seen double digit increases for the past four years.

WRIGHT: Workers are paying more for less coverage. But that's better than no coverage at all.

GAMBILADI: I don't have the answer. Hopefully, somebody will.

WRIGHT: Expectations are low, but the need is obvious. David Wright, ABC, News, Lynchburg, Virginia.

- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center