February 25th, 2010
05:20 PM ET
5 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. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I find it refreshing to have a President who knows exactly what he's talking about in all areas of health care and that can't be denied. It is clear he is well read on health care and does no cherry picking on the subject. I don't think the Republicans really have the ability to understand health care well enough to interpret what they have read and some, like John McCain really don't understand and that was obvious which makes his party look real bad. Republicans would better serve themselves if they shut down John McCain, he's an embarrassment to them.

    February 25, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. Jack

    Now we have Mary Madeline on CNN TV preaching about preserving the filibuster in the Senate after the show the republicans put on during the Bush years where they rammed every piece of legislation down the Democrats throat using reconciliation whenever they pleased.

    In fact, Senator Mitch McConnell the republican senate leader of the Bush years, use to sign the "up or down" song every time he got before the TV cameras. Senator McConnell even threatened to do away with the filibuster if he couldn't get his way!

    February 25, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. Tim

    Mr President, thank you for trying to bring them on board, but the Republicans had no intention of joining the team. Now’s the time to move forward with reconciliation!!!!

    February 25, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. Andy

    Dumocraps please use reconciliation and implode.The American people do not want reconciliation,please try it,MAKE MY DAY MORONS

    February 25, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  5. Proud to be a Republican

    Obama is in way over his head...He should have stayed in Illinois as a flunky....

    February 25, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. Mike in MN

    I don't know what the time break down was between Democrats and Republicans talking. But with Obama being both a Democrat and the moderator, being able to respond to what every Republican said not to mention setting himself up for both the opening and closing remarks, I'm sure the amount of time Democrats were talking was a lot more than the Republicans. Totaly rigged in Obama's favor.
    But at least the Democrat lie that Republicans had no ideas or no plan was exposed.
    Democrats can disagree with the Republicans ideas and plan, but they can't say they dont have any.

    February 25, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. clememe

    do analysts get paid to perdict dome and gloom of American, many jobs have todays technology, many people have todays technology, any one who was interested could have seen it and instead of just showing clips, just reair the whole thing. surely this is more important than who tiger sleeps with:::::::::::::::::::::::::

    February 25, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. Kitty

    I'm neither infirm, nor unemployed–in fact, I work in a VA hospital. The US health care system is expensive, inefficient, unjust and undemocratic. It has to be fixed if our country wants to do anything other than pay medical bills.

    February 25, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  9. Barbara Hoffmann

    What kind of answer is "we aren't campaigning any more"? Obama did not address the issue of favoritism for special interests and basically buying the votes of certain Senators. 98 % of Americans are satisfied with their health coverage. There are some issues to be addressed such as taking your coverage with when you leave a job, pre-existing conditions, selling health ins across state lines. These should be addressed and these only. The liberal Democratic contingent – Nancy Pelosi, Obama – are trying to create a socialistic health plan similar to Canada and various EU nations. Funny, when Canadians need care and have to wait sometime years, they come here to the US. Why would that be???

    February 25, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  10. Red by Choice

    All the polls, even those sponsored by very liberal groups, indicate that the majority of Americans think the Democrats' Health Care Bill is junk. The process needs to start over, in the open, without carve outs for certain states. It needs to be fiscally responsible and not dictatorial. The bill is a fiscally irresponsible suppository and the vast majority want the Dems to quit trying to shove it up our .... budgets.

    February 25, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  11. Jeannie

    This country's government has truly derailed. It is incredulous that grown adults who are professionals and supposedly serving in the best interests of their constituency are acting like 5-year olds in playground battles. It is a scary thought when you realize none of them – Democrats or Republicans – care about what happens to people in this country. It is all about re-election and ideology rammed down your throat.

    I used to think there was hope – the last few months have erased all that completely. Congress is literally going to bring this country to its knees all so each side can then so "I told you so". Truly pathetic.

    February 25, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. Billy

    At least there were no health insurance company commercials...

    February 25, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  13. AnProf

    The Democrats did not seem familiar with the details of their bill or ready to discuss it. They just showed up with a series of rambling sad stories while the GOP repeatedly tried to discuss policy and costs despite being allowed only half of the speaking time today.
    "Let's supply dentures for all" seemed to be the emotion-based cry of the left.
    Cantor said respectfully, "Sir, we cannot afford this" bill.
    Repeatedly the President indicated that "we're not going to talk about that" number or did not respond to questions or points brought up.
    Too bad no one brought up the lousy health care in England and Canada, which is where the Left wants to take us all.
    There was no skillful consensus building at all or any real attempt to incorporate free-market principles and competition across state lines to drive down costs.
    Fine, let the left try to ram this through Congress.

    February 25, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  14. Jake in SC

    The dumocraps way or NO way.1st send Pelosi/Reid home.Then listen to the GOP or be dumb and use reconciliation which will send all dems home.

    February 25, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. ran

    No it was neither a stunt or a spectacle.It was as they say "a picture is worth a 1000 words" a video tells it all.

    Now no one can with any integrity can denied the fact that the Republicans have no intention of working with this President or Democrat to get any health care reform done.

    So the Democrats need to just use reconciliation, put the public option that is in the house bill back in and give us a health care bill.

    Then on to jobs,energy,immigration reform with or without Republican,blue dogs, Lieberman support.

    February 25, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  16. Mark

    The Republicans could only play the blame game. Nothing but hot air. The Democrats have a plan and ideas, the Republicans don't and that showed VERY WELL in this meeting. Republicants can't do anything without considering their sideways polls or their re-election campaigns. The Democrats should use whatever leverage they have to pass reform without the Republicans. It's pointless to even try to reason with them.

    February 25, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  17. building7

    Douglas Brinkley must not have heard of the internet.

    February 25, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. KamaraSune

    I was greatly surprised by President Obama's off hand comment. Though I voted for Obama, and I am not a great fan of McCain, I have to say that what McCain voiced is also a known concern across the state of Kentucky which I presently reside in as well as the state I'm originally from (Oklahoma).

    February 25, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  19. Warren W Wagner

    Democrats and Republicans both claim they know what the American people want when it comes to health care. The only fair thing to do is let each side come up with a health care plan. Than let the American people vote on the one they feel is right. This should be done with all issues that can't be settled in a reasonable amount of time.

    February 25, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  20. Dan

    Wolf don't include the Presidents Hours in the Dem Speaking hours Say..Rep... Dem....President. The Present spent a lot of time explaining.

    February 25, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  21. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Take away the cameras, reporters, and microphones and we might get something done. All these people cater to the camera. The public doesn't need to see their representatives in action – just give us some meaningful legislation that will make things better for the least of us.

    February 25, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  22. Dan

    Let stop says The Rep where fresh & game ready to play! That is irrelivent. Let's say they stated well there point. Yet doesn't seem those points get at the problem or bridged the gap. The President should get good points for knowing the ssues & moving toward including Rep points.

    February 25, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  23. New Father

    I don't know what anybody else thinks but I think almost everyone in that room shouldn't be re-elected besides Tom Coburn who seemed to be the only one with a clue. I believe he isn't running because of a self impossed term limits, figures. The rest just read from the pre-scripted garbage. Dems 'no pass this' Reps 'No that stinks' How sad when the agree on atleast half and that bill could be passed into law this week. What a joke.

    February 25, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  24. Mike in MN

    There are at least a dozen polls that show a majority of voters are opposed to Obamacare. There are also polls that show a majority of voters that what the bills killed and to start over and that oppose the use of reconcilliation to pass the current bills.
    So if a majority of voters are opposed to Obamacare becasue of the trillion dollar cost, too much government, too many mandates, too much regulation, too deep of cuts to Medicare, and too many new taxes, than that will probably not be changed by today's summit.
    It is clear Obama is not going to budge. Adding tort reform or purchasing insurance across state lines won't fix any of the above negatives.
    So unless Obama was able to convince 10 to 15% of voters who are currently opposed to Obamacare to now support it, nothing was changed today.

    February 25, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  25. Janet G

    I watched the summit and have changed my mind about Health care, I though it was a waste of time, but now I do believe those guys that if nothing is done I could eventually lose my good health care.

    To bad it wasn't the Republicans pushing for Health Care, it would have been done long ago with or without the Democrats.

    February 25, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
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