January 29th, 2010
04:27 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama takes tough questions from House GOP


President Obama addressed House GOP leaders at a retreat in Baltimore Friday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Baltimore, Maryland (CNN) - President Obama and House GOP leaders promised greater efforts to step back from the partisan brink Friday, acknowledging that Washington's toxic political climate has made it increasingly tough to tackle major problems.

The pledge was immediately called into question, however, as the two parties repeatedly expressed sharply differing viewpoints during a rare meeting at a House Republican retreat in Baltimore.

Obama accepted an invitation from House GOP leaders to address their caucus. His speech Friday was followed by an often testy question-and-answer session.

"House Republican leaders are grateful for [Obama's] willingness to come ... and have a frank and honest conversation," said Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana. "We welcome the dialogue with the president."

The president accused Republicans of frequently mischaracterizing his policy proposals, particularly in the health care debate.

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Filed under: GOP • House • Mike Pence • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. 60's survivor

    only because they want to say no no no to his. face.

    January 29, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. beautiful barack

    AND...he did FANTASTIC! This should have been required viewing for every single American to finally hear the truth and forget about the lies that the repubs continue to spew – good going, Mr. President – you were a champion today!

    January 29, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. Willy Brown

    Barry it will be better when we vote out the democrats in November.

    January 29, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. The Inside Scoop Is . . .

    The Republics are piss.ed off that the cameras were rolling. Made them look like strident fools. Obama is looking more Presidential every day.

    And hey, Obama's Stimulis worked: Gross National Produce up a whooping 5.7 % – biggest since 2003.

    January 29, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. jp,michigan

    The Republicans are not the problem on the hill. The democrats have the majority and have had it for some time. Any proposals given by the repub. is shot down by the democrats. They fight amongst themselves. Got a complaint Mr. President, talk to the democrats. The American people are tired of the one party government on the hill, with the lack of good health debate.

    January 29, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  6. LG


    Now what will the Republicans offer back as their first steps in crossing the partisan divide?

    January 29, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  7. annie against biased news

    We will see as the demon-crats go behind closed doors. No one wants this government rationed health care plan or the crap and tax. Only ones wanting these are the crazy socialist like oblahblah who are trying to destroy our country.

    January 29, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  8. Alan

    Don't fall for it Republicans. This is all part of the strategy to stave off some losses in Nov.

    Do you think this meeting would have taken place if Scott Brown had not won last week. I DON"T THINK SO!!

    January 29, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  9. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    The republicans looked like little children who got caught misbehaving.

    January 29, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  10. J.C. - Independent 4 Public Option

    Mr. President:

    Please do the debate once a month to start the new American tradition.
    It is also a great public education for lots of adults and children.
    But it would be nice if Independents can also be invited to the debate.

    January 29, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  11. Stop the Nonsense

    Clearing the air is a great start. Now forget about party affiliation and VOTE AMERICA! It's time both sides start to listen.

    January 29, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  12. dale

    This is exactly what needs to be done. Never would you have seen Bush with enough confidence to do this. I liked how "some" of the Repbulicans stepped up to the plate on this. They too should be commended, but those that again tried to use it to gain political points should be ostracized by both parties.

    January 29, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  13. Scott, Tucson

    Well obama and his Democrats can stop holding close door meetings and shutting out the Republicans, can stop buying off votes to get obamacare passed. By the way what killed obamacare was the American people having a chance to read what was in the bill and telling their suppose political representatives hell no to the bill.

    January 29, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  14. Preston kk

    Pkm mr obama do not take any crap from from the gop they will not do you any favors

    January 29, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  15. C Spurgeon

    I think it was great and really hope for the ske of the nation they can get this thing going on both sides. Both sides have real room for improvement and need to start earning their money instead of worrying about their job. Voters need to keep track and vote anyone not trying out and bring new blood in no matter which party.

    January 29, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  16. JonDie

    Obama kicked the GOP's buttocks as was expected.

    January 29, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  17. Roger

    Obama has to first establish some semblance of credibllity before he can even begin to be recognize as the leader of our Nation. He makes accusations of partisan politics and yet he was part, and perhaps instrumental, of the most abuse of power in recent history. The backroom deals made with Democrats to back his Health Reform program, such as the Louisiana purchase, the Nebraska exception, sweatheart deal with labor unions, etc., was a form of bribery that can never be tolerated. Negotiating within his party only is certainly not a form of representative government. Obama you can't ignore and shutout the other party and then point to them as playing partisan politics. It is you who is the one who has divided and polarized our Nation in such a way that is an insult to the American people. In your State of the Union message you disgraacefully and with no respect, chastised members of the Supreme Court - who like you were guests of Congress. And the Democrats, immediately behind the the Justices, appallingly stood up and cheered. And you and your party want respect. Representative Wilson offerred an apology but where was yours and considering that you were reading from a script your response was not spontaneous it was premediated. But even more important your remarks were simplly untrue. I hardly can believe that you were, as you claim, a constitutlional professor and which I know is not true, could misinterpret this decision. It idd not overturn 100 years of precedent as it did not even address that issue that outlawed businesses the practice of contributing to government representative. It only addressed two recent court decisions that denied businesses their right of free speech. But even more alarming, you tried to agitate your fellow Democratic representatives to reverse this decision by legislation. This decision was based on the Constitution and Congress has no legislative authority to impose its will in this instance - the Constituion leaves that to the States. A layman as I am knows this and I am sure that your Harvard training address this topic. If you didn't know that then you are attempting to deceive the American people or you are simply lying to us or extremely incompetent. Perhaps Rep. Wilson comment is deserving of some merit. To see our Nation being ripped apart by you and your henchmen is just sickening and I hope you come to your senses.

    January 29, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  18. Mike in MN

    If Brown did not win in Mass this meeting would have never happened.
    Obama and the Democrats are in big trouble and they know it. A majority of voters are opposed to Obama's agenda as evidenced by poll after poll and the elections in Mass., N.J. and Virginia.
    Health care reform, cap and trade and most of the major bills passed have been passed with just partisian Democrat votes. These bills belong 100% to the Democrats and all are opposed by a majority of voters. Obama and the Democrats are left naked before an angry public.
    If Obama and the Democrats move far enough to the center where common ground can be found that a majority of voters will support, the Republicans would be wise to work with the Dems on a bipartisian basis. But if Obama and the Dems continue to push their same liberal progressive agenda Republicans would be wise to continue to oppose them and continue to let Democrats be the 100% owners of unpopular legislation.
    And it should not be lost on Obama that there is in fact bipartisian opposition to his agenda in congress. Many Democrats have voted against health care reform and cap and trade along with the Republicans. So Republicans have actually been working in a bipartisian way with Democrats they do find common ground with and polls show the majority of voters agree with them.

    January 29, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  19. David

    Kudos to Obama for being so open, transparent and knowledgable, imagine if Bush was asked questions from his opposition in full view of media, scary!

    The tide is already starting to turn for this fall, remember that the republicans have been campaiging since the election, Obama has just started.

    January 29, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  20. j

    I wonder if the Conservative obstructionism is a result of Obama's so-called liberalism or rather a form of racism because he's biracial and associated with African-Americans.

    January 29, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  21. Dave

    I think there is something that the Republicans continue to forget: THEY LOST. Why should the democrats continue to pander to these whiners?

    January 29, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  22. Jack in Florida

    The Republicans are a party of NO................it was a waste of time and gas for the President to shlep to the retreat! He is definitely the "bigger" man here for going!

    January 29, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  23. Ed FL

    Bohener should change his name to Bonehead Why would the supposed leader of the opposition provide and give to the President a list of the things they considered the Dems would not let them admit for GOP ideas. He then gave the list to the shrewdest and most eloquent President the country has ever had.The president made the GOP politicos come off as the dumbest group ever to try and prove points that they were bypassed on legislation. Most of the list were not true and it showed what a group of NO'S really know. The constituancy of that group got a real glimpse of the representativss they have in Washington DC headed for the pepcid ac by the gallons.I do not believe they will make an offer like this again.Now if the CNN GOP censors will allow this comment i will believe some changes are made.

    January 29, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  24. FactCheck

    I watched the entire thing and saw what was, in essence, a heated but civil debate. The media is making it all out to be a beat-down of the GOP by Obama but it was far from it. Of course, far be it for CNN to actually report the news.

    January 29, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  25. Mike in MN

    The game is on. Obama knows he has lost the independents. He knows polls show the oppose much of his agenda. He knows that independents support for Brown in Mass is why he won and the Brown ran as the 41st vote to kill Obamacare.
    So he now wants to look like he wants to really work with Republicans because he knows that is what independents want to happen. He is hopeing to regain support of the independents and turn them against the Republicans. What he does not get is that a large majority of independents are center right and will not support a leftist liberal progressive agenda. What he does not get is not that independents have suddenly decided they like Republicans. They have decided they do not like what Obama is doing.
    A feint to pretend like he is trying to work with Republicans is not what will get the independents back for Obama. What will get them back is for Obama to follow through on his centerist campaign and move his agenda to the center. But Obama will not do that, he is in reallity a liberal progressive and won't move to the right. He will instead continue a campaign to discredit Republicans and independents in the end will continue to oppose his liberal progressive agenda

    January 29, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
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