Republicans declare Healthcare Summit victory
A day after President Barack Obama’s nationally televised healthcare summit, Republicans are out declaring victory.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn said the summit was good for the American public. Good, that is, for the public to hear the Republican argument and see Obama lose his usual cool, particularly during the highly publicized exchange with his former presidential election adversary, Sen. John McCain.
“It was good for the American people see him kind of become a bit agitated,” the Tennessee Republican told MSNBC. “There were a couple of times that maybe he did get a little bit frustrated, and that’s good for the American people to see.”
The public also got to see how Democrats dominated two-thirds of the air time. And that bit of drama when Obama told McCain that the 2008 election was over? “Really inappropriate,” Blackburn said.
Not that McCain himself minded. He’d welcome another summit.
“It was good to have that conversation. I think it was good for the American people, people all over the world that watched,” the Arizona Republican told ABC’s Good Morning America. “I think it helps the American people make a judgment. I’d be glad to go over again.”
Pundits give Obama high marks for holding the rare bipartisan face-to-face encounter and say the president showed himself fully in command of the facts and details. But the summit showed no sign of budging either Republicans or Democrats toward a deal on healthcare reform.
McCain and Blackburn both warned Democrats not to do what they now seem likely to do — move forward with a reconciliation bill that could pass the House and Senate without Republican input. Because such a measure would reconcile two bills already passed by both chambers, it would require only a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate instead of the 60 votes that new legislation would need to avoid a Republican filibuster.
“To go to the 51 votes instead of this traditional 60 in the United States Senate will have cataclysmic effects,” McCain said.
He didn’t specify. Blackburn held out hope that Republicans could stop any move toward reconciliation. But she said the issue would become a banner slogan for the 2010 congressional elections if Democrats succeed.
“If they move forward on reconciliation on this one, the American people are going to say, well, 2010 is all about repeal the bill. We’re still in the mode of kill the bill and I think that we will,” she said.
For more Reuters political coverage, click here
Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama at healthcare summit)