Obama, Repubs Lock Horns at the Health Care Summit
Posted on Feb 25, 2010
President Obama suggested that the theme for Thursday’s health care reform summit should be one of bipartisan cooperation. Good luck with that one! So far, the discourse has appeared to be cordial on the whole, with the exception of a couple verbal clashes with prominent GOP types, including a growly John McCain and a bill-waving Rep. Eric Cantor. —KA
Update: House Minority Leader John Boehner joined in the afternoon discussion, thanking President Obama for calling the meeting before calling the proposed health care bill a “dangerous experiment” that should be scrapped altogether. He also brought up the issue of taxpayer-funded abortion and suggested that they start over with drafting new legislation. To these ideas, Obama replied: “There are so many things that you just said that people on this side would profoundly disagree with ... [which] based on my analysis, just aren’t true.”
“The Oval” in USA Today:
12:26 p.m.—John McCain—the Arizona Republican who lost to Obama in the 2008 election—makes his first statement, complaining about the pre-summit health care debate because it included too many meetings of Democrats behind closed doors. Also protested the impact of lobbyists.
When Obama sought to interject, McCain said sharply: “Let me finish.”
12:30 p.m.—Obama gets in a word with McCain, and debate ensues:
Obama: “We’re not campaigning.”
McCain: “You remind me of that every day.”
In this still from the White House’s streaming coverage of Thursday’s health care reform summit, Ohio Sen. Chuck Grassley holds forth as President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and others listen.