This news yesterday in CNN's politicalticker:
Washington (CNN) - President Obama's bipartisan meeting on health care reform planned for February 25 will be broadcast live, a senior administration official said Monday.
Coverage details were not complete, but the official said the White House expected "the whole thing to be live."Most of the comments I read that people had posted to this announcement appeared political and vituperative in nature.
Then this was posted today on NPR.org's front page:
President Obama's plan to hold a televised health overhaul summit with Republicans and Democrats is still more than two weeks away, but reviews of the get-together are already in. And they're not optimistic.Critics are characterizing the plan as a purely political gambit designed to give the appearance of momentum for the president's health care bill, now stalled on Capitol Hill.
Supporters of the president — and the legislation — say the bipartisan give-and-take will provide Obama the opportunity to publicly portray the opposition as bereft of solutions.The comments made on the NPR site were pretty close in flavor to those attached to CNN's announcement that the meeting would be televised. Although there was a spate of comments made supporting the idea of the summit.
Then came the news today in the Washington Post's Michael Shear's 44 Politics and Policy blog/column that the House Republicans might not even show up for the conference.
Leading House Republicans raised the prospect Monday night that they might refuse to participate in President Obama's proposed health care summit if the White House chooses not to scrap the existing reform bills and start over.
Top House Republicans throw cold water on health-care summit
In a letter to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) expressed frustration at reports that Obama intends to put the Democratic bills on the table for discussion at the Feb. 25 summit.I am soooooooo confused. I thought Republicans wanted to sit down with the President and discuss their ideas on healthcare. Is it the fact that the discussion is going to be on television causing them problems? What about all the claims by politicians that "the American people want this" and "the American people want that?" Are they shy about telling us what we want while we're off from work and actually able to watch and listen to them?
"If the starting point for this meeting is the job-killing bills the American people have already soundly rejected, Republicans would rightly be reluctant to participate," Boehner and Cantor wrote.
I, for one, am delighted by the prospect of having an opportunity to see politicians discussing healthcare with the oft-quoted American people watching. Let's start a WMRA-roots campaign to have more Americans listen to/watch the Health Care Summit on February 25th than watched the Super Bowl.