Barack Obama, the master tactician! Last night, before Super Bowl XXVVVV, he told Katie Couric and (to a lesser extent) America that he would hold a Bipartisan Health Care Summit, live on the teevee, on February 25, and the Republicans would have to show up or… or… or else they’d miss it! This opportunity to change public policy! Mitch McConnell and John Boehner responded, “let us literally dictate a new bill word-for-word, or die,” the most Serious response. Why do Democrats have to play politics like this when Republicans just want to help the country?
It has all the beginnings of a productive summit, for the teevee:
GOP leaders on Sunday said they welcomed the outreach but called it evidence that Obama knows he must start over if he wants to earn their support going forward.
In a statement, House Republican leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) said that he looks forward to the discussion, and that he is “pleased that the White House finally seems interested in a real, bipartisan conversation on health care. . . . The best way to start on real, bipartisan reform would be to scrap those bills and focus on the kind of step-by-step improvements that will lower health care costs and expand access.”
White House aides quickly rejected the idea that Obama wants to start over after nearly a year of contentious legislative haggling among members of his party. Officials said the president will come to the health-care summit armed with a merged version of the two bills that Democrats strong-armed through the two chambers with almost no GOP backing.
Well hopefully this works. He can offer Republicans their precious tort reform in the bill, and then ask in return that some of them vote for it, and when they say “no,” the American people will realize that… the Democrats can’t get anything done. Meghan McCain/Crib-Notes ’12!
Obama invites Republicans to summit on health care [Washington Post]