Tales from the Trail

Latest Washington technique? Bipartisanship by sniping?

April 14, 2010

If bipartisanship is what they’re after … they’ve got a funny way of showing it.

Financial regulation reform is the latest struggle on Capitol Hill between the forces of Democrats and Republicans. And while everyone seems to be calling for bipartisanship, the words they’re using are quite simply snippy.

President Barack Obama had congressional leaders from both parties over to the White House today to chat about his goal of  financial regulatory reform to prevent another markets meltdown. USA/

“I am actually confident that we can work out an effective bipartisan package that assures that we never have ‘too big to fail’ again,” Obama said at the start of the meeting.

Later on, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that Obama during the meeting had pointed out that Democrat Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd had spent weeks working with Republican Senator Richard Shelby, and when he stopped participating, spent weeks working with Republican Senator Bob Corker.

“A lot of Republicans get to church, very few of them have made it to the altar,” Gibbs said.

(Not exactly words to win over Republicans).

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, standing on the White House driveway after the meeting with Obama, told reporters: “My message to the president quite simply is let’s get back to the table and see if we can’t get this job done. A lot of people have been working on this in good faith.”

USA/Then later, back on the Hill, McConnell expounded some more:  “Unfortunately, the administration is evidently more interested in using this debate as a political issue than actually addressing on a bipartisan basis the many weaknesses that are currently built into our economy.”

(Not exactly words of endearment for Democrats).

And then there was the House leadership. Asked what she thought about McConnell’s argument that the financial regulatory legislation was a bailout bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “It’s such a diversion from the facts that it’s almost laughable.”

Bipartisanship may be the buzz word, but the rhetoric is more like a buzz saw….

Who do you think has got it right on financial regulatory reform, Democrats or Republicans?

For more Reuters political news, click here

Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama at meeting to discuss financial reform, House Republican leader John Boehner (left) and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (right) leave White House after financial reform meeting).

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