February 25th, 2010
05:20 PM ET
4 years ago

Analysts: Health summit a 'stunt' and 'spectacle'

Washington (CNN) – Heated partisan exchanges and in-depth policy discussions at the bipartisan health care summit on Thursday are unlikely to sway both parties in finding common ground, analysts said as the summit was going on.

One said the summit makes an argument against televising hearings. Another said it will reinforce doubts about whether Washington can resolve the health care impasse.

"I think it's reasonable to expect that an exchange like this is not going to change the public's skepticism about the way Washington works," said Michael Murakami, a visiting professor of government at Georgetown University.

Murakami added that the summit is a "big PR stunt" where "nothing is going to be decided."

"This is just the two sides putting their view in front of the media so they can try and rally their support as the legislative battle begins."


Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said the summit "wasn't much more than a TV spectacle."

"Only the infirm or unemployed could have possibly sat home and watched it all," said Brinkley, a professor of history at Rice University. "Instead, what everybody will see tonight on news broadcasts are the sparks of tension between [President] Obama and [Sen. John] McCain. It's like the 2008 election never ended."

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Filed under: Health care
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. get real

    CNN – Never, ever put Ben Stein on tv again! He is insulting and more than partisan. Tricky Dick's attorney shouldn't be given any more free tv time!!!!!

    February 25, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. OBAMA - One Big Ass Mistake America!

    This was a waste of time. Obama was against anything the Republicans had to say. He bent and twisted statements which turned them into lies. The gap between Democrats and Republicans will not be closed. Obama's style became very defensive, rude, harsh, very typical for a person of his stature. He made an ass of himself. This was clearly a meeting to attack the Republicans.

    That's all it was! A waste of time and tax payer's money.

    February 25, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. diridi

    I do not know who is this idiotic analyst. It is not a spectacle, it is a needed legislation. I know, Gloria Borger is so stupid. Pres. obama did exceptionally well on this debate. I watched entirely. Nation needs to pass this health care before it goes bankrupt. John Bohner is a total idiot. With no brain. ok.

    February 25, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. Mark L.

    How do You Spell 'Successful Passage & Signing Into Law of REAL Universal HealthCare Reform Legislation' – R E C O N C I L I A T I O N P R O C E S S ! ! ! ! !

    February 25, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. Jane/Seattle

    Could be true, but then again, it plainly shows who is doing all the obstructing – Republicans and the DINO's!

    February 25, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. Dana H. from Bay Area

    Brinkley is probably not aware of that new technology called a DVR that a lot of people like my self that work have. I will watch the summit when I get home.

    February 25, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. No More Incumbents

    This entire Presidency has been stunts and photo ops.

    February 25, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  8. LetsBeCivil

    It proved that partisan politics and ideology are far more important to these people than are the health and well being of the American people. Sad. It was obvious that many of them do not understand or care that the American people from all parts of our society are suffering.

    February 25, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. Jack

    The republicans need to accept the "FACT" that they lost the last election and the people have spoken and have given the Democrats and President Obama a mandate to "FIX" the Health Care Problem not, talk it to death.

    It's time to move on and pass a Health Care reform bill with or without the republicans within the next 6 weeks. If that means reconciliation then that's what needs to be done to overcome the "party of no" who seem to love the current status.

    February 25, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. southerncousin

    Murakam is absolutely right about the summit being a contrived face by a dishonest administration since there are stories all over the place on how the out of touch idealog president and his out of out of touch idealog staff plan to ram it through no matter what the people want. Is there any legal way to get this Hugo Chavez wannabe out of office before 2012.

    February 25, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  11. Dana H. from Bay Area

    This is probably public theater for the Republicans because they are a bunch of actors... and not very good ones at that. But to Obama this is serious.

    February 25, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  12. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    It was political posturing until McCain stepped up his personal attacks on "that one."

    February 25, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. Elle in WA

    I am neither infirm nor unemployed and I enjoyed watching (or simply listening) to the conference in its entirety, online, while working. Mr. Brinkley needs to stick his foot in his mouth.

    February 25, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  14. VeryGoodSummit

    These PR people are stupid. I love every minute of it... It showed just how informed our President is and how he care about the average american.

    He did a complete smack down of the orange man, with the same ole talking points as usual. Priceless!

    Hey I must say, the Prez is a very intelligent man... Didn't have one teleprompter ...no palm notes either.. Just his intelligence!

    Independent Voter – Love it!

    February 25, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. rdepontb

    Both sides seemed to score their points wel. Obama wasn't shy about pointing to his side of the table when he seemed to agree with a strong Republican point. There were fewer than expected "gotcha" types of outbreaks or grandstanding, at least for a group of this type. Boehner played to type, rattling on about things both sides had either agreed to pursue or to drop. Biden took care of that for the others. Fair enough.

    As a layman, I thouroughly appreciated, even enjoyed, the work of both sides. Both the expected-of-them politicking and the finer discussions of both fine and broad points of interest to the American public. I can't agree less with your "analysts" who see this only as theater-they need to get real, because these are real problems being handled by real elected officials put there by and for real Americans. Nonse theater? Really? ?

    February 25, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Waist of Time

    I don't understand the Democrats at this point. They should know by now that ain't no Republicans going to vote Yes on healthcare reform. The Dems either need to file for reconciliation in the Senate where only 51 votes are needed, or just drop the whole thing and move on to something else.

    February 25, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  17. Dan

    Hey Roland Ur Cool Dude.. Look I Hope CNN doesn't focus on a score card who scored more points. But focus on what are the common points. Show where they differ. Also show where the President reached across to the otherside. Then ask Repubicans can they work with Dem over the next Month give & take to get this problem solved. Seems to Me Dem are saying let's work toward the center where we disagree. Major USA retired

    February 25, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  18. Liberalism is a Mental Disorder

    Of course it is a big circus and BHO is the ring leader....and the funniest part of it all is that at the end of this supposed bipartisan session to get ideas that he was going to ram it down the countries throat anyway....WHAT A CLOWN BHO IS!

    February 25, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. NObama & the Dumocraps

    Just another attemp to cram their socialist agenda down everyone's throat as usual,on a bill America can not afford.American people do not want this as written.NObama wants to grandstand,he so wants to be the mezziah,he is a phony in a slick suit.

    February 25, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  20. Mike

    Once again John McCain has demonstrated in no uncertain terms what a flaming and totally irrelevant idiot he is. Not only do I support Obama in his efforts to accomplish something desperately needed by this nation I wish he would take John out back and beat the holy crap out of him for being the obstructionist he is. I also believe that the Democrat majority needs to shove the bill through whether there are Republicans in the way or not, and upon finally doing the right thing I advocate they take all the Republicans out back and beat the holy crap out of them as well. If any of this seems uncivilized to our Democratic legislatures I would be happy to perform the above service for them! Geez, man up and grow a pair!

    February 25, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. Mike

    Please let President Obama get on with the job at hand and get something done for the American people

    February 25, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  22. Mike in MN

    What is perfectly clear is that the summit will not lead to a compromise that Republcians will vote for. Nor will Obama and the Democrats start over.
    Going into today at least a dozen current polls all show a significant majority of voters are opposed to the current bills. And polls also show a majority of voters want to kill the bills and start over and do not support reconcilliation to pass the current bills.
    Will the summit change enough voters minds to flip all those polls? Time will tell but I don't believe so.
    If the polls don't flip, will there be enough Democrat votes to pass Obamacare without voter support and Republican votes?
    Again time will tell, but I don't think so.
    If the polls don't flip, Obama and the Democrats are playing with political sucide going into the November elections.

    February 25, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. Steve in Gig Harbor

    Obama and the Democrats are going to pay a big price for their misstep in assessing the current pain being felt by the American people. Bush, Sr. made the same mistake......it's very simple, everyone follow along...."It's the economy stupid, it's not healthcare reform stupid".

    February 25, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  24. John Brock

    Why not just put such an important topic for the American people up to vote by the American people, or would that just be to darn simple?

    Stop trying to tell us what is good for us, and let us decide for ourselves.

    Knuckleheads

    February 25, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  25. How To Bankrupt America-Put A Dem On It

    Forget cost,forget what America needs & wants-just cram it down the peoples throat.Blame your failure on the GOP,another day for the dems and another lie/spin/smoke.

    February 25, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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