Okay, it’s a strategy. Will it work? It has definite possibilities in terms of putting Republicans on the defensive over health care reform, and in providing a rationale for the “radical” idea of passing the legislation through reconciliation.
But I’d prefer something gutsy:
President Barack Obama is planning to host a televised meeting with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders on health care reform. The Feb. 25 meeting is an attempt to reach across the aisle but not a signal that the president plans to start over, as Republicans have demanded, a White House official said. ‘I want to come back [after the Presidents Day congressional recess] and have a large meeting — Republicans and Democrats — to go through, systematically, all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward,’ Obama said in an interview with Katie Couric during CBS’s Super Bowl pre-game show Sunday. Obama said he wants to ‘look at the Republican ideas that are out there. If we can go, step by step, through a series of these issues and arrive at some agreements, then, procedurally, there’s no reason why we can’t do it a lot faster the process took last year,’ he said. In a statement, the official said, ‘What the president will not do is let this moment slip away. He hopes to have Republican support in doing so — but he is going to move forward on health reform.’
Obama first suggested reopening talks with Republicans during his State of the Union address last month, and reiterated the call at a Democratic fundraiser Thursday, but the White House had kept details of his plan under wraps until Sunday. The idea has been met previously with skepticism by the congressional leaders of both parties.
Republicans say they see little room for compromise because the bill should be scrapped, while Democrats argue they have already tried a bipartisan approach, but failed.
… The half-day meeting will take place at Blair House, and be broadcast live, presumably by C-SPAN, making it the first televised White House meeting on health care reform since a forum last March.