Obama, Republicans Face Off On Health Care And Other Issues
Politico: "President Barack Obama told House Republicans Friday that Washington can't break through partisan gridlock 'if we can't move past the politics of no' - then engaged with them in an extraordinary back-and-forth straight out of the House of Commons." During the exchange, which occurred during Obama's visit to the Republican's annual policy retreat, he "took Republicans to task for portraying health care reform as a 'Bolshevik plot' - even though, he said, many parts of the bill were consistent with Republican principles." He told them they left themselves very little room to negotiate, saying "The fact of the matter is, many of you, if you voted with the administration on something, are politically vulnerable with your own base because what you've been telling your constituents is, 'This guy's doing all kinds of crazy stuff that's going to destroy America.'"
At the beginning of the session, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) introduced Obama and handed him "a stack of Republican alternatives to his policies." Obama told the group "he expects them to challenge his ideas - and that he understands that there are sometimes fundamental policy differences between the parties," but he also criticized them for "reflexively opposing his policies" even if they may be consistent with some GOP principles (O'Connor, 1/29).
The Wall Street Journal: "A sometimes-combative Mr. Obama took Republicans' questions. He was pressed on his changes of positions, including why the negotiations on overhauling health care haven't been publicly broadcast as promised." He also acknowledged "overwhelming Republican opposition" to Democrats' health care plans. "Mr. Obama said he would gladly look at better ideas, but he urged Republicans to acknowledge the difficulties that many Americans face in obtaining good health care" (Hitt, 1/29).
The New York Times Caucus Blog reports that Obama "said he has adopted some Republican ideas in the health care legislation and would listen to others. 'I want us to have a constructive debate,' Mr. Obama said. 'The only thing I don't want and here I am listening to the American people and I don't think they want it either is for Washington to keep being so Washington-like.' ... Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader, ... handed Mr. Obama a booklet collating a variety of Republican ideas on various issues that he said the president had ignored or resisted over the last year. 'I'm pleased today to present you with a copy of our better solutions,' Mr. Boehner said. ... The Republicans were itching to quiz the president and present their policy ideas rather than listen to another lofty presidential address" (Baker and Hulse, 1/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.