President Obama has invited the GOP to a half-day televised conference on health care later this month.
The president announced his offer in an interview with CBS news anchor Katie Couric prior to the Superbowl. He "challenged Republicans to come to the discussion armed with their best ideas for how to cover more Americans and fix the health insurance system."
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I want to consult closely with our Republican colleagues," Obama told Couric. "What I want to do is to ask them to put their ideas on the table... I want to come back and have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats to go through, systematically, all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward."
Three factors may be behind the call for such a conference. The first is the pounding he has taken from Democrats over the year-long effort to to revamp the health care system and for not conducting the debate in the open. Secondly, the election to the Senate of Republican Scott Brown, who campaigned against the government takeover of health care, cost the Democrats their 60-seat, filibuster-proof majority in the House. Thirdly, the recognition that he must have at least some support from Republicans to get the bill passed.
House Republican leader John Boehner said he's looking forward to the meeting. He's "pleased that the White House finally (emphasis mine) seems interested in a real, bipartisan conversation on health care."
"Finally?" Let's examine, if you will, the history of the Republicans over this past year. No, No, No, No, No.