The Obama Health Care Summit, or as Congressman Pete Sessions called it yesterday, “The Blair House Project” has just begun.
Chris Dodd set the tone for the meeting, yesterday, making this charming quote at a rally: “Tomorrow we’ll have that meeting …. But far more important after that meeting, you can either join us or get out of the way”
…Obama starts off by magnanimously ceding that Republicans care about health care, too. Big of him. Wants to focus, today on areas where both sides agree. Sounds nice, but my greatest fear is that he throws the Republicans a bone here and there, making small but negligible changes in the plan that do not in any serious way improve the plan, but the Republicans are tricked into going along.
…”We all know that this is urgent,” he said. Of course.
…Lamar Alexander went overtime in his comments- clearly the Repubs are not taking the advice Dennis Miller offered, yesterday during his Miller Time segment on The O’Reilly Factor. He suggested that the Repubs keep it short and sweet. Let the Dems be the long winded ones.
…San Fran Nan doesn’t disappoint with sob story after sob story. Is this what the summit was supposed to be about? Invokes Ted Kennedy’s “Health care is a right, not a privilege” quote. Of course. We’ll probably hear that one again. Claims: “This bill creates 4 million jobs.” Please!
…Dingy starts right in with the sob stories. Dude.
…Ugh!!! Reid utilizes the Dems’ favorite overused tropes: “You’re entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts”…and “Facts are stubbern things..”
…”If you have a better plan for fixing health care ,let’s hear it”. Dude!
…Matthew Continetti at The Weekly Standard also found Reid’s hyper-partisan approach to be a bit much, and corrects him on his “stubbern facts”: HCR Summit: When Harry Reid Attacks I can’t believe this man is the leader of the Senate.
…Dem theme of the day seems to be: we’re not that far apart…we already have the things the Repubs want in our bill…
11:47am Eastern. McConnell notes that Dems have had 52 minutes. GOP has had 24. Obama snips: “There was an imbalance in the opening statements because I am the president.” In other words: I WON.
Obama remedies the partisan time imbalance by…launching into another long-winded insurance anecdote. HE WON.
I’ve also noticed that he likes to cut the Republicans off when they start making too many good points: “We’ve addressed that….”, or we’re going to address deficits later...”
…Fireworks while I was in the shower between Obama and McCain:
12:32pm Eastern. McCain talks about backroom deals. Irritable Obama snaps: “We’re not campaigning anymore.” (McCain: “I’m reminded of that every day.”) O flips papers. Jeers at GOP “talking points.” Gives the ball to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Will have a video up, soon.
The morning session minute counts:
Obama 58 minutes
Republicans: 56 minutes
Obama says he doesn’t count ’cause he’s the Prez.
…Yuval Levin at The Corner thinks the Repubs are skunking the Dems:
…an important part of the Democrats’ problem is that Obama himself is their only star, and this format is not working for him. He certainly seems engaged and well informed (even given a few misstatements of fact, at least one of which John Kyl made very clear.) But he doesn’t seem like the President of the United States—more like a slightly cranky committee chairman or a patronizing professor who thinks that saying something is “a legitimate argument” is a way to avoid having an argument. He is diminished by the circumstances, he’s cranky and prickly when challenged, and he’s got no one to help him. The other Democrats around the table have been worse than unimpressive. The Republicans seem genuinely well-prepared, seem to have thought through the question of who should speak about what rather carefully, and several of them have done quite a good job making their case against the Democrats’ approach. If we were to judge by debating points, Republicans certainly won the morning handily.
…ABC News factchecks the exchange between Obama and Alexander about insurance premiums: Health Care Summit Fact Check: Will Premiums Go Up?
Guess which one was not telling the truth.
A live blog of the proceedings, featuring Newt Gingrich, here.
You can also follow this Twitter feed:#thfsummit
Also live blogging: Michelle Malkin: Blowhard-a-thon at Blair House: Health care summit open thread
House Leader Boehner has a good op-ed today: Who’s Listening to the American People?
Politico: W.H. punts on key cost-saving move
The Chicago Trib: Price controls? Obama is offering Republicans something they don’t want.
The Detroit News: Editorial: Obama’s compromise health care proposal looks too much like the old plan
The Hill: Poll: Most Americans think Congress should start over on healthcare
The Delaware News Journal: Biden signals willingness to compromise on health
“This could end up not being good,” Biden said in an exclusive interview with The News Journal.
The Heritage Foundation: Fix health care policy
Philip Klein, The American Spectator: At Summit, Sen. Alexander Calls on Obama, Dems to Renounce Reconciliation